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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 is primarily used for hiking and is best used from June until October.

Length 7.9 mi Elevation gain 2,188 ft Route type Out & Back
Hiking Forest River Views Waterfall Wild flowers Wildlife No dogs
Description
Waypoints (4)
Contact
Tips
Getting There

Yosemite National Park is open to those with reservations begining on Thursday, June 11. See the park website for more info: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/covid19.htm 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.

California Travel and Tourism Commision, P.O. Box 1499 , Sacramento, CA, 95812-1499, Phone: 800-862-2543

The initial climb is steep - make sure to bring plenty of water and start early in the day.

Directions from South Entrance: Travel north on Highway 41 to Wawona. Turn right on Chilnualna Falls Road and travel 2 miles eastward. Before the road turns to dirt there is a signed parking area on the right hand side. Park here and begin your hike following the stream

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Reviews (419)
Photos (681)
Recordings (296)
Completed (797)
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André Sanchez
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HikingBlowdownBugs

This is a fairly warm area. While the scenery was still fairly beautiful, I unfortunately hiked the day after the Creek Fire started. The waterfalls were fairly low, but overall still a pretty site.

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PaoLa Andia
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 5, 2020
HikingBugs

This is one of my favorite trails. Done it plenty of times. There was bugs but as you get higher they go away. The water sound makes it so calm and peaceful.

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Leigh Costain
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Hiking
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Austin Mallick
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HikingBugs

Limited parking. Steep sandy trail, and definitely hot out around 10:30am. Some spots at the base of the waterfalls even had ropes to help you get down and up. A bit buggy but very cool for a quick jaunt.

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Emily Nicholl
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Started at 7 am to beat the heat. Ran into maybe 20 people on the way up and had the entire top of the falls to myself for about an hour. Super-buggy on the way up, the only reason I gave this 4 instead of 5 stars. Beautiful hike, and had a nice dunk at the end after walking down in the heat. Definitely go early this time of year, and bring lots of bug spray. (The bugs disappeared at the top and the heat must have kept them away on the way down.)

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Domenico Matteo
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Hiking
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Vanessa Veiock
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Hiking

Steep at the beginning and a trek up, but worth it for all the beautiful spots to dip in your toes and take a break in the shade. It gets really hot, so go early! Expansive views and beautiful little swimming holes, too, especially once you get all the way to the top. We did not find a marker besides the trail signs for continuing onward to other destinations, but knew we’d made it by doing the math!

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Amanda Medellin
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This trail was hard with my 5 year old. I think had we been just my husband and I, we would have explored a bit more. We ended up stopping at the very bottom of the fall near the bridge and playing in the water. It is very beautiful would go again.

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Urzulka User
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 26, 2020
HikingNo shade

Hiked this trail 2 days ago. Was very tired from doing a ridge trail hike 18 miles the day before. The hike was very chill. A good, even elevation, but glad I went early in the morning. The hike down was very hot; about 75% of the trail has little shade coverage. The views going up are great; pretty, expansive views of the endless trees in the area. You come across the waterfalls multiple times on the hike and theyre so so pretty. The end of the shorter hike, at the top of the falls, is a really mellow rock slab area with lots of shade for you to lay out and relax before hiking down again. Beautiful hike, was about 9.5 miles total i think. A little longer than this listing states.

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Visenta Vasilescu
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 19, 2020
Hiking

Hiked this trail with hubby & daughter. Hubby trying to get back into hiking so took plenty of breaks, it was a nice moderate climb, the pools were awesome, took a nice dip. Our time at the top was limited as we started pretty late at 1430. Great views from the rocky top area. The trail is well marked and was not crowded- yay!

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Dawn & Wesley Vigario
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HikingBugs
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Simin Esmaeili
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BackpackingBugsGreat!

I would say carrying a 30 lb pack hiking, it was a hard hike but it was so worth it. This was by far the most beautiful trails for all the gorgeous trees, flowers, creeks and falls. considering that i visited this trail in August... we found a beautiful camp spot with a perfect fire ring by a creek surrounded by flowers at the higher end of the fall. It is an amazing trail if it's not crowded.

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Cris Hazzard
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Hiking

Great hike away from crowds, and not as hard as other Yosemite waterfall hikes. I have a hike video and turn by turn directions on HikingGuy com for ya

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An Pham
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 29, 2020
Hiking

There is a cute little waterfall 5 minutes in that is super nice. But otherwise the trail isn't my favorite. There wasn't much shade and we grew overheated. It was a pure climb the whole way in and the end destination was not impressive. Since it was just the upper falls it was just a tiny waterfall and some shallow rocky pools.

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Aaron Meyers
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Hiking

We did this hike last year and loved it so much we had to come back. We got day passes for Yosemite and decided to make a day trio of it. Left the Bay Area early, started the hike around 10:30, and was back by 2:30. Another beautiful hike, especially at the top when we hiked a bit past the first waterfall and ate lunch along the river with a view of another waterfall. Less water than last year but a wonderful hike. Mix of sun and shade

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Gina Leigh
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 15, 2020
Hiking

Gorgeous mostly shaded trail with beautiful falls all along the way and plenty of swimming holes. Elevation gain is gradual making the hike so enjoyable.

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Margaret Wall
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Hiking

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.

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Patricia Castro
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Hiking

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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Abel Valdovinos
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Hiking

....

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Cheyenne Rousseau
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Hiking

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!

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Bowman Domingue
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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.

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Vanessa Esterwold
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Hiking

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

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Stephanie Herevia
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Hiking

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.

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Kyle Windsor
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 5, 2019
Hiking

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.

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Adrian Rivera
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Hiking

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

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Micheál R. Gray
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 11, 2019
Hiking

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

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Brian Bill
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Hiking

Great day hiking with outstanding sights!

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Ben Cummins
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Hiking

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.

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