Chilnualna Falls Trail [CLOSED]

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Yosemite National Park

Chilnualna Falls Trail is a 7.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Yosemite Valley, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 7.9 miles Elevation Gain: 2,188 feet Route Type: Out & Back

backpacking

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

bird watching

forest

river

views

waterfall

wildlife

bugs

closed

no dogs

It has been reported this trail has a temporary closure due to COVID-19. Please see the park's website for up to date information. Hike this lesser-known trail to discover Chilnualna Falls with a wading pool and cascades waiting at the top. Chilnuala Falls is a well-kept secret in Yosemite, simply because the majority of visitors to Yosemite National Park don't venture out of the Valley. If you are staying in Wawona, or have entered Yosemite through the South Entrance, then Chilnualna Falls is on your way down to the valley. Like most waterfall hikes in Yosemite (Lower Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil Fall excluded) you start below the waterfall and must hike up it, which means significant elevation gain. The trail starts around 4,000ft and you will hike up 2,200 feet to 6,200ft by the time you reach the top of the falls. The Falls are separated into 2 distinct sections: the shorter section is on top, and consists of several smaller waterfalls, leading into a pool before falling another 240ft final drop, a total of about 690ft. Unfortunately, you never get a clear view of the entire falls, and it is hard to even see the longer fall in its entirety except from the top (and you won't want to get too close to the edge). Luckily the pool and falls at the top are more than worth the steep 4-mile climb up.

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail- been up it multiple times, the views are just incredibly breathtaking! Go in the summer and you can swim in the upper pools.

hiking
2 months ago

Loved it! Was there on Saturday 2/29. Saw about 20 other hikers, no wildlife. Temperature was 51 for the high, we were mostly ok with long sleeve shirts. A little chilly once we got to the top where there was a little snow. We started the hike around 8:30 and were back by 1:40, stopped to take lots of photos & rested at the top for lunch. Highly recommend!

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Gorgeous hike! Started around 9am and got back to my car around 2:30pm but I stopped multiple times for photo ops and I spent an hour on top of the falls eating lunch and enjoying the scenery. I didnt run into any wildlife today and also didnt see one person on the trail the entire time. This hike is super serene and a hidden gem. Sitting on top of the falls and looking out into the valley was so worth the elevation climb!

3 months ago

Amazing views. Several levels of the falls. I went January of 2019, so the snow prevented me from going any higher without show shoes, but an excellent day hike.

hiking
4 months ago

This hike was outstanding. Challenging up hill to the top and quick pace back down. Truly beautiful waterfalls and lookouts. Magical !

hiking
4 months ago

A decent hike, not too challenging. And beautiful views throughout the hike. Definitely a good hike to do if you want to stay out of the valley.

hiking
6 months ago

Nice scenic Trail for this elevation. Signs of wild animals abound. Not much by way of water but the upper Falls still have some as well as the lower Falls. Good simple hike.

hiking
7 months ago

I've done this hike multiple times and it's still my favorite. Awesome fall colors at the top falls.

recorded Chilnualna Falls Trail

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful day! Very few people on trail!

hiking
7 months ago

A beautiful trail topped with some stunning views from the top. It was very quiet only met three couples up and back.

hiking
7 months ago

Great day hiking with outstanding sights!

hiking
7 months ago

Definitely a top hike in Yosemite for me. The balance of fantastic views, good terrain and consistent ascent make it really rewarding. Best started early, I would recommend setting off between 8-8:30am.

hiking
bugs
7 months ago

Beautiful trail, especially the top of the fall. We spent 30 minutes at the top of the fall.

hiking
8 months ago

I went on this hike for my birthday and it was really amazing. This hike isn't as crowded as vernal/Nevada falls which is a great thing. I would recommend this hike to people who enjoy nature, and just want to take their time. It wasn't too challenging.

hiking
8 months ago

Completed this 9/23 with our family youngest is 6 years old(lots of Swedish fish to keep her going!) it was a beautiful hike and not a lot of people there. We really enjoyed that. The falls are all still flowing and beautiful. There are a few places to stop early on in the hike that area really gorgeous if you want to cut this in half. It was a tough one and a long day but got our fill of hiking while in Yosemite! Just FYI for others, this is not stroller friendly! The incline was nice because it’s gradual majority of the way. The steep part is the beginning alone with stone steps. The rest is trails with beautiful peaks of The Valley all around.

hiking
rocky
8 months ago

Loved this trail! Barely saw anyone. Hiked down at sunset, but we wish we would’ve camped out up at the top (there were some great campsites at the falls we didn’t know about prior to the hike). Definitely recommend it- best bday ever!

completed on 9/21/19 - great hike that is mostly shady. Mostly uphill. There wasn't much water, but enough to dip your feet and possibly dunk :-) Great views, would definitely recommend!

hiking
8 months ago

One for my favorite hikes that is closest to the city I live in Fresno. The rock and stone path/trail is really cool! The waterfall at the first 1 mile point is really something special when the water is flowing and the view from the top where the waterfall jets off the mountain is picture perfect. I’ve done this hike 10 plus times as a day hike and a few times overnight.

hiking
8 months ago

beautiful views and not a lot of other hikers at 0900

hiking
8 months ago

did this hike last year. views along the trail were great. lots of photo spots. trailhead wasnt well marked had to look for it

hiking
9 months ago

Sighted rattlesnakes & a bobcat pup

hiking
9 months ago

Incredible views of the falls!

hiking
bugs
9 months ago

Love this place, The water hole with the Falls is the most perfect place on Earth

great hike hard at some points but worth it

hiking
9 months ago

so peaceful

hiking
9 months ago

Very maintained. Beautiful waterfalls and swimming holes most of the way up. Started at 8am and only saw a few people. By the time I returned around 12:30pm, lots of people at the very first falls and swimming holes.

hiking
9 months ago

Nice hike. The falls are beautiful and it’s great to soak your feet after the hike up.

hiking
10 months ago

Awesome hike - challenging but so worth it!!!

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