Columbia Rock Trail is a 1.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Yosemite National Park, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round.
Short steep hike to Columbia Rock with sweeping views of Yosemite Valley along the Yosemite Upper Falls Trail. Columbia Rock (same TH as Upper Yosemite Falls) trailhead is located in the Sunnyside campground (Camp 4). Get off the shuttle at the #7 stop, cross the road, and take short quarter mile walk to the trailhead. This part of the Upper Yosemite Falls trail is full of switchbacks (and can be tough on the knees coming back down). The trail is well shaded. It takes about an hour to hike to Columbia Rock. If you have no issues with getting to this point and you have the time and energy, go the rest of the way to Upper Yosemite Falls, another 2.6 miles to the top for a total 2,700 feet/823 m elevation gain. You can hike as far as you want past Columbia Rock if you don't want to go all the way to the top, with views of the upper falls, Half Dome, Glacier Point and the Awahnee Valley.
Did this hike in 2011 as our warm up hike for a backpacking trip. It warmed us up. Steep as can be right off the bat, with 60 or so switchbacks to get to Columbia Rock. We walked about another 3/4 of a mile passed Columbia, to a point where we were misted by upper Yosemite Falls. The sound was unreal. Lots of people, typical of the valley though. Not an easy trail , this is steep!!
Further and rockier than expected. No way is moderate, unless comparing to mountain climbing. Just hiked it in 95 degree sunny weather. Yosemite map says it is STRENUOUS. I agree!
Take lots of water and at least 2 hours time. Better be fit and use a walking stick as is sandy and very rocky. Easy to slip, so well treaded shoes are recommended.
Most people coming down the trail had no idea what Columbia Rock is.
Awesome. Wanted to go up to see falls but storm rolled in. Safety first in Yosemite!
Great half day hike!! Did this hike with 8 adults and 5 kids (8-14) and the kids practically ran up the trail leaving all the adults, except one (watching the kids) in the dust!! Keep going another mile and a half to the top of upper yosemite falls or turn around here...
Great hike with lots of switchbacks to see sweeping view of Yosemite Valley ... takes a couple of hours and can be hard on the knees coming down. We did this on the way to Upper Yosemite Falls, which is even more spectacular, but more strenuous... still there are plenty of spots to stop and rest, take in the sights and chill. The trail is very shaded in the summer, but you'll need water for the elevation gain. Watch out for mosquitoes in early morning and near sunset, they are ravenous.