Chilnualna Falls Trail

MODERATE 98 reviews
#1 of 9 trails in

Chilnualna Falls Trail is a 7.2 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Mariposa, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, birding, horses, and backpacking and is best used from March until October. Horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
7.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2303 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

birding

hiking

walking

horseback riding

forest

river

views

waterfall

wildlife

no dogs

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.

4 days ago

Did the hike a few months ago. Really enjoyed the solitude as I saw no one on the way up. An extremely underrated hike in my opinion.

hiking
6 days ago

Scary fire right now but a nice hike. One thing...it's more than 7.2 miles, it's more like 9ish.

hiking
7 days ago

hiking
11 days ago

walking
14 days ago

Very nice trail that leads to an amazing view

backpacking
21 days ago

Great day hike most times of the year. I went in August 2016 and the falls were pretty dry. Would love to come back when the falls are roaring! Beautiful scenery up top of the trail too

21 days ago

love this trail. the falls are awesome and if you backpack you will visit up to 3 lakes. also this trail is not over crowded.

hiking
27 days ago

hiking
27 days ago

hiking
29 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome falls, amazing pictures, and a great little workout.

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

Excellent hike, less busy than most other trails in Yosemite. Pretty steep initial climb but it becomes more a moderate climb the rest of the way. Definitely longer than 7.2 though. We thought closer to 10.

hiking
1 month ago

Wonderful hike! Be sure you bring plenty water and a water purifier just in case.

hiking
1 month ago

backpacking
1 month ago

The milage is 5.6 miles to the trail junction, which is at the upper falls. So in/out 11.2 miles. We just got off the trail, backpacking a loop from the trailhead. From the falls trl head it is a non-stop incline. There are 4 small creeks that cross the trail, so a filter is helpful. Use deet!

1 month ago

This is one my my families favorite hikes. We do it yearly. There is little traffic. If you are lucky, the marmots will join you at the falls.

1 month ago

1 month ago

I love this hike but just so you know it's not 7.2 miles it's at 9.6 miles round-trip