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Columbia Rock Trail [CLOSED] is a 1.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Yosemite Valley, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round.

Length 1.3 mi Elevation gain 948 ft Route type Out & Back
Hiking Nature trips Walking Bird watching Forest Views Wild flowers Wildlife Closed No dogs
Description
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Getting There

Note: as of September 2020, trails in this area are closed due to wildfire. See park page for more information. 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.

You can find parking on the road, or in nearby parking lots served by the Shuttle service. Bathrooms located at the foot of the hike.

Weather
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Reviews (950)
Photos (953)
Recordings (866)
Completed (3235)
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Nate Spencer
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Hiking
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Sean Lynch
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Hiking

Waterfall wasn’t running in September

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Jorge Martinez
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Million bugs even with spray. Also so much smoke from the fires there was zero view. This year is probably not the best to visit most California parks between the fires, half of everything closed due to COVID,trail improvements,construction on roads, etc.

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Jeff Kempski
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HikingBugsGreat!Rocky

Plenty of switchbacks on this trail! Killer view at the end.

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Raquel Smith
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Hiking

My first real hike and I’m a little afraid of heights, I had to take a few breaks from being out of breath. A couple passed us on our way down, they were rushing down the trail and told us a bear approached their backpack that they left on the ground and was right by them- they had no escape they said and were hiding behind a rock for 40 min, dude said the bear was huge like 400 pounds. Said it happened 1 hour past Columbia rock because it’s on the falls trail, so just be aware. Don’t know how accurate the weight is but they were totally shocked and the backpack he was wearing was a little shredded from the bear. When we got to the parking lot the ranger said don’t put your backpacks down, keep them on you. The Bears don’t want to approach you but they will go for a backpack if it’s on the ground.

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Kristina Boksa
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Hiking

Quite a hard climb, in hot weather especially. The falls was dry this time of year but the views are still epic and worth it. Encountered a black bear on the way down! Be careful out there! We stayed away and stayed calm and he went about his business.

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Brandon Chu
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Hiking

Total banger

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Jason Rows
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Hiking

Yosemite fall drained. Widefilre smokes the view at Columbia rock. Does not worth the effort.

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William Cutler
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HikingGreat!

Very steep trail. Seems to go on and on. The views from the top are amazing. Bring a lot more water than you think you need.

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Nick DeVirgiliis
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Hiking

Really cool trail and well worth it. I got up to the top in about 2 hours and had the top to myself for a good hour or so. Ate lunch up there and even was able to watch some basketball highlights with full service . Took another hour and a half to come back down. The only negatives were the crazy amount of bugs swarming around my face for the first 1.5 miles. Consider bug spray. Also since it’s mid august the water was basically dried up and there was just a small trickle. Would be cool to see the full waterfall earlier in the year.

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Daniel Shaw
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Hiking

Tougher at the end, don’t put the kid on your back. This is without the walk from the campsite to the trailhead.

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Monica Telhado
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Hiking

Amazing hike! Intense climb, but really worth the view. The falls have ran dry by now, but near Yosemite Point there are still a few pools of water.

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Mesut Cingillioglu
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Hiking

Took 7 hours, including 1.5hr at the top. More than 3 hours to climb, last half mile with no shade. 4L tank is empty.

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Stephanie Colon
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Hiking

Very steep incline for most of the hike. We gained 1100 ft on 1 hour. Very beautiful sights at Columbia rock-didn’t go all the way to Yosemite Falls because the waterfall is dry .

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Brandon West
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Hiking

Switchbacks are for suffering, to with a group. Ran into a bear but she was mostly eating berries right off the trail.

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Anthony Sparrow
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Hiking

Very nice hike. Well maintained path with lots of stairs and switchbacks. The hike is a little longer than listed. It was 2.6 miles out and back but it was not too difficult. Took a 9 year old up with little issue. Did see a juvenile bear walking the path behind us.

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Tony Colon
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HikingGreat!Rocky
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Tanner Phillips
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Hiking

Trail is all up hill. Saw a bear cub on the way down so be near aware on this hike.

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Kristy Playlist
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Hiking
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Jason Fisher
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Hiking

hard hike start early and bring alot of water, gorgeous

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Kelly Martin
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Hiking

Steep and rocky. Nice view at the top.

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Lauren Lozano
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Hiking

Great view, BUT don’t be fooled! The Columbia Rock lookout point is not a 1.3 mile hike. Our GPS logged a 2.2 round trip. Not a bad thing, except the whole hike is literally stairs. No breaks just great views. (P.S. would not call this moderate)

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Katrina Fruhmann
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HikingRockyScramble
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Brooke Denney
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Hiking

I arrived at Yosemite on a solo, single day trip. I parked my car at the front entrance gate then paid $10 to ride the Yarts buss to the Visitor Center. Then once at the center, I hiked around for 5 miles before catching the bus back to my car. Best decision for my day trip because you get to sit back and enjoy the views!!

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Kylin Zhuo
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Hiking

So much elevation gain, I was almost dead lol. There are bugs when it is getting close to dusk.

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April Nordby
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Hiking

Y’all, this trail is HARD. Some reviews said that average hikers could complete this in about 6-8 hours. I want to let you know that eight hours later we were still coming down from the top and our knees were killing us on the descent. I don’t recommend this for anyone who is not an AVID hiker. It took us 11 hours from the parking lot round trip. The total mileage as recorded by the All Trails app recording that we started at the truck shows a total of 16 miles. We did spend about 2 hours at the top, eating, resting and swimming in pool. It’s HARD.

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