Summary: Yosemite Falls is the tallest waterfall in the U.S. at 2425' over the valley floor. With an elevation like that, getting to the top is a strenuous but rewarding effort. The trail is well marked but ocasionally you'll have to negotiate around fallen boulders...an ever-present danger especially in spring time. The summer months aren't a good time to see the falls as the water has dried up by July/August. There are several spots along the trail where you can stop and take in the views as you climb higher and higher. Once at the top be sure to walk down to the viewing platform for an up-close view of the falls!
For more details and photos visit my website The Backcountry: Yosemite Falls.
Trailhead: Depending on your location, enter Yosemite National Park via Highway 41, 120 or 140. Be prepared to pay $20 for the entrance fee. Once in the park head to Camp 4 (Sunnyside Walk-In) in Yosemite Valley. Park in the parking lot. Follow the signs to the Yosemite Falls Trail. (Lat:37.75719 Lon:-119.59784)
Trail Guides for Yosemite Falls Trail:
Yosemite National Park
by Jeffrey P. Schaffer (Wilderness Press)
by Tom Stienstra & Ann Marie Brown (Foghorn Press)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter,
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: Yosemite Wilderness Center (209) 372-0740
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Mike Matenkosky, who has posted 18 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 4 Submit your own review
Reviewed by GordonA on 4/24/2012
Did this hike on 4/21/12. Amazing but strenuous hike. I took my time, stopped a bunch and made it to the top in a few hours. I recommend either and early start or a late start as the trail is in sun through most of the midday. When I came down at 6 pm, it was blessedly shadowed. Lots of wonderful rivulets to splash water on myself and cool off. The falls are massive right now with spring runoff.
Reviewed by rick l on 2/29/2012
hiked 2/28/2012 it had snowed lightly the day before some snow remained at the top on the last part of trail. 40 to 50 temp was perfect for this strenuous hike. not many people on the trail, perfect. last time i hiked the falls was in 1978. remember some but it seemed much longer this time, recovering from bronchitis in January. we just took our time, some great views. must go on the look out platform next to the falls, I missed it the first time.
Reviewed by Steve on 7/22/2010
Personal favorite so far,but have yet to do Half Dome.....The views were breathtaking and the hike was too....lolDon't rush this hike.You'll miss the views and the steep switch backs are relentless.Brought what I thought was a ton of water on a somewhat cool(76)July day and ran out of water near the bottom.....An adventure well worth the pain.......
Reviewed by Greg on 6/29/2010
Did this hike on 6/27. Started at shuttle stop 6 and ended at 8, and included overlooks on top, and at midpoint (the latter was best view of falls in the park)... According to Delorme, it was 9 miles total with 8500 feet adding all the verticals. I'm in my 70s, and in good shape, but this may be my last time. But it was fantastic, with lots of water.
Reviewed by Cecille on 6/7/2010
My first hike in Yosemite, June 4, 2010. When they say the hike is strenuous, I mentally prepare myself for the challenge. Slow climbers (like myself) can reach the top in about 6 hrs (Don't rush up or you'll miss out on great views). First half is shady but make sure you bathe with repellant. The mosquitoes bite like they've just awakened from centuries of sleep. Second half will toast you. We were luckly that by the time we got to the top, there was overcast yet offered a clear view of the valley. Try to do this hike 1st to 2nd week of June for good water flow.
Reviewed by Al on 5/21/2010
Lovely views.. I hiked this yesterday 5/20/10... the trail is very well maintained but to many switch backs... steep ascend especially at the end but reaching the top is something else... the valley looks heavenly... I hiked this in 3 hours ( 2 going up and 1 coming back)... best to be done before June when the falls dry out.
Reviewed by Danny S on 11/2/2009
It's unfair to make this my favorite, as this is the first time hiking. It's extremely difficult for beginner, but well worth the 4 hour hell, to reach the heaven on top. Hiking shoes are definately suggested, as there are many uneven rocky surface. You will need at least 2 - 3 liter of water, or bring your filter. Wear cloth in layers. The fall point is little more than dangerous (at least that's what it seems), but the view will take your breath away. If you are fit, you can even reach the stream below and feel the super cold water. Once you are at Yosemite Fall, it's worth to hike another 0.8 mile to Yosemite Valey point (other side of the fall pass broken arrow). The sight of the entire valley and half dome is rewarding
Reviewed by WN on 9/22/2009
9/21/09 There were three of us who did the hike yesterday. We did Half Dome three years ago and thought this would be a "piece of cake" hike because it is less than half the distance R/T. Absolutely wrong. This hike is at least as hard as half dome. We each had 2L of water and ran out about twenty minutes from the bottom on the return. 3 hrs to the top and 1.5 return.
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