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Chilnualna Falls Trail

MODERATE 314 reviews
#20 of 243 trails in

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

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.

hiking
rocky
6 hours 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
4 days 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
6 days ago

beautiful views and not a lot of other hikers at 0900

hiking
24 days ago

Sighted rattlesnakes & a bobcat pup

hiking
25 days ago

Incredible views of the falls!

hiking
bugs
30 days 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
1 month ago

so peaceful

hiking
1 month 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
1 month ago

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

hiking
2 months ago

Awesome hike - challenging but so worth it!!!

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

I backpacked on this trail with a group last week. I’d rate it as moderately hard due the elevation gain on the way up. Especially with the gear. But I saw many day hikers and children on the trail that seemed to be doing just fine. Scenic water falls and wonderful views and is a lesser traveled trail.

hiking
2 months ago

Amazing views and high altitudes. I would rate it moderate not hard.

hiking
2 months ago

Pretty heavily trafficked in my opinion but a great hike just inside the park. It is all uphill to the top and then right back down. Next time I’ll probably do the loop as well.

hiking
muddy
no shade
rocky
2 months ago

Gorgeous views, moderately hard hike, definitely not for older folk or people with any knee history. Plan on doing again next year

hiking
2 months ago

Took a bunch of kids on the hike today. They did great, it is a challenging hike but rewarded with excellent views. Trail was hot and dusty but enjoyable and beautiful.

hiking
2 months ago

This Trail has some really nice views at the top. Lots of water along the trail. Spectacular water falls.

3 months ago

Amazing views! A mix of shaded and non-shadded areas. Bring s lot of water, it is a hot trail, however has multiple creek spots with water to use to cool down. Moderate Hike (mostly uphill-in and out-downhill rocky challange), youngest in our group was 6 and eldest was 70 (great shape).

hiking
muddy
snow
3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

VERY foggy, couldn’t see the falls :(

hiking
4 months ago

Great trail! The hike up is difficult but lots of nice places to stop and take photos and rest as the trail follows the river most of the way.

4 months ago

Amazing waterfalls from the start. A few steep climbs especially at beginning and at the top, but for the most part a manageable upward climb. At the top is a great spot to a picnic. Absolutely no crowds.

hiking
4 months ago

Challenging uphill trail but beautiful views of the waterfall all along the way. Once your at the top it’s hard to see the waterfall up close but the views are still amazing! Gets really hot so going the morning and bring lots of water ! Very steep down hill on the way back can be har on the knee. I jogged down bc it seem to feel better . All and all great day hike

hiking
4 months ago

Fun hike! About 4 miles straight uphill to the top of the falls. The water is rushing fast right now, so be careful near the water. Took me about 3.5 hours to complete round trip. Get there early to avoid the crowds. But much less crowded than the valley.

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

Great trail!!! Yes you do get to see the falls up close but is about 4.7 miles and totally worth sticking it out. Lots of sun and at about 75 degrees it was pretty hot. Several people saw rattle snakes and they were not small, a guy caught two on video, I did not realize they were that big around. I only heard one once. The falls were amazing so glad I did it and yes totally safe solo female.

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