Preston Falls Trail is a 8.2 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Groveland, CA that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from May until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
From Yosemite/Hetch Hetchy, you take Cherry Lake Road all the way down to the trailhead at the bottom of the valley (20 min drive from the Mather Camp). The trailhead is actually called "Stanislaus National Forest Trailhead" and is not correct on Google if you search Preston Falls (but the directions are correct using the AllTrails app). When you are ready to head back, you go to the top of the road and turn right at the stop sign to get to Hwy 120.
The entrance to this hike is super tricky... No one in Yosemite knows about it. Make sure you take Cherry Lake Road. From Yosemite/Hetch Hetchy, you take that all the way down to the trailhead at the bottom of the valley (20 min drive from the Mather Camp). The trailhead is actually called "Stanislaus National Forest Trailhead" and is not correct on Google if you search Preston Falls (but the directions are correct using the AllTrails app/map). When you are ready to head back, you go to the top of the road and turn right at the stop sign to get to Hwy 120. Just print out the map using All Trails before you get there bc there's no reception out there. I've posted a picture of the Trailhead sign so you'll know when you've reached the right place.
Trail itself was great, runs along the river mostly, moderate is accurate. You will have some flies in your face for the first half hour or so which is annoying. We went early October and it was still quite warm but not busy at all. By that time, the falls are supposedly dried up but the trail itself is still beautiful to hike. 40 percent shade, 60 percent in the sun. The trail itself must be more than 8.5 miles out/back bc we reached 4.3 and were definitely not at the end. Maybe it's 9-10 miles total. I'll post a picture as well of the "mini falls". I would suggest stopping there and turning around because after that point we spent 45 minutes walking through low weeds and scratchy branches which scratched up our legs (had shorts on) and was irritating to walk through. After that point, it seemed that not many people continued since the way wasn't very clear (branches weren't cut back).
There are some places to get in the water as well as mini "beaches" with sand!!!
just did this hike today, beautiful!! so many places to pull off and fish, rest.. the waterfall was worth the hike!
This was a great hike with great views. The area was burnt in 2013 but is recovering great. Went on Memorial day and was not crowded at all.
Hiked this one several times. Nice parking area with restrooms. Heading east on Hwy 120 about 10 or 15 miles past Groveland, you will finally see a sign that says San Jose Camp, Cherry Lake Road. The road winds down to the river then go right where it "T"s off. You will see the living facilities of the Hetch Hetchy employees and then the parking area and trail head. The trail follows the Tuolumne River and is mostly flat and east to follow. BONUS INFORMATION: If you turn left at the "T" instead of right, you will head toward the power station. There is a bridge with room to park and another trail head that runs for miles in the opposite direction. Either way, it's a nice place to check out. The only problem is that it's way out there so you need to get an early start to get there in time to get your miles in. Also; wild Bay Leaves everywhere, so bring a baggie and fill it up.
Beautiful trail!! Deffinately check it out :)
Preston Falls is a smallish falls in the Tuolumne River just outside Hetch Hetchy. The hike is moderate with undulating hills and goes along the river, so there's always a water presence. There's a shady, level area perfect for a picnic when you reach the falls. Dangle your feet and cool off then head back. A very pleasant hike accessible between Groveland and the Highway 120 entrance to Yosemite National Park