Hetch Hetchy Trail to Rancherio Falls

HARD 15 reviews
#20 of 142 trails in

Hetch Hetchy Trail to Rancherio Falls is a 12.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Long Barn, CA that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until October.

12.4 miles 3079 feet Out & Back

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

2 months ago

3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

Just hiked to the bridges at the lower falls and it was well worth the effort. It was almost 100 degrees that day so the falls were much needed. We got soaked crossing the bridges. I could see how this would be dangerous and some times impossible when the volume coming over the falls is high. This hike is a nice alternative to the crazy crowded Yosemite Valley.

backpacking
5 months ago

Great trail, great views, and great spots to camp if you're backpacking, which you definitely should do

hiking
6 months ago

Great waterfalls and a different perspective of Yosemite. Despite being a holiday weekend, not too many on trail. Next time will get permit and stay overnight at Rancheria Falls.

hiking
6 months ago

Very nice beautiful trail. Made the mistake of coming here during a busy holiday weekend but the scenery was well worth the trip. The falls were such a relief after hiking for a bit. Got to cool off with some ice cold snow melt water. Definitely will be back to tackle it a little bit further.

hiking
1 year ago

Literally my FAVORITE hike ever! This hike has it all: a tunnel, breathtaking views, not very crowded, and waterfalls galore! It's Yosemite but without the crowds. The only downside is its history...but even that is a interesting story. You can go as far as you want to make it more challenging through many different types environments. I did happen to have a nasty fall, but I managed to complete the hike and not feel the pain till I got back to the car...Its just too beautiful to feel any pain and forget all your problems.

1 year ago

This is a beautiful man made lake developed for drinking water to San Francisco. Easy trail and well worth it if the water falls are full. Fed by runoff from the snow pack might be dried up by late May.

hiking
1 year ago

Beautiful place and not too many people..Easy hike to Wapama Falls should be a must for everyone getting out there..It is so quiet out there, ospreys flying around everywhere, big fish and a beautiful lake (cant swim in it though) people really miss out on this one..the drive is so worth it..

hiking
1 year ago

FYI this trail is no where near Long Barn. The closest town is Buck Meadows and you access it off Hwy 120.

nature trips
3 years ago

This is a beautiful hike it is nice and flat for the novice, but go past the dam and see the beautiful waterfalls the hydrate the bay area

hiking
5 years ago

The trail is easy and the views are gorgeous. Oh and the best part is that there are far less people that visit Hetch Hetchy than the Valley.

It is a great way to escape the crowds!

hiking
5 years ago

While most people go to Yosemite Valley they miss the real treat, that's Hetch Hetchy Valley or better known as a reservoir because it was the last fight of John Muir's to protect thie beautiful valley from being damed. John died soon after they built the dam, it's said he died of a broken heart. Even though the valley is a half filled lake it still is very beautiful and as a bonus there's no crowds here at all. The hike is easy and can be as long or short as you like so don't miss this jewel in Yosemite!

hiking
6 years ago

I explored Hetch Hetchy on an amazing day in early November 2010; mid week with nobody else around, clear skies, and temperatures nearing 80 degrees. I started early in the morning at Poopenaut Valley. The trailhead is right off the road and literally drops you down the valley, descending 1,230 ft in a 1.25 miles. From there you wind up in a beautiful meadow along the Tuolumne River. After a few hours by the river I hiked back up and the climb is quite strenuous. I would only recommend this short but intense hike to those in pretty good shape! Its both beautiful and a great workout! Thankfully the elevation is relatively low, about 4000ft, or the lungs would be burning!

After the morning hike I headed to O'Shaughnessy Dam and hiked the trail out towards Wapama Falls, intending to do the 13 miles to Rancheria Falls. The trail begins at the dam itself, through a tunnel and onto the north side of the reservoir. The trail does not have much elevation change and is a pretty easy stroll - but it is incredibly beautiful, mostly hugging the water's edge. Unfortunately some recent rains had washed out the bridge right at the falls and I couldn't go beyond Wapama Falls. Instead, I took out some snacks and enjoyed lunch under the beautiful 1300 ft cascade, basking in the great alpine sunshine and immersing in the solitude of the day.I considered heading towards Beehive Meadow and Laurel Lake but it was getting late and the gates close at 5PM this time of year.

Hetch Hetchy is really fantastic and an often overlooked region of Yosemite. While not as dramatic as Yosemite Valley, it has a lot to offer and is worth exploring. I cant wait to get back in spring to enjoy Rancheria Falls and Smith Peak!