Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne is a 45.2 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near White Wolf, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is best used from May until October.

DISTANCE
45.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
9,878 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

backpacking

camping

hiking

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wildlife

bugs

no dogs

This is a rugged overnight backpack into the North country of Yosemite dropping in from Tuolumne Meadows into the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne. Done at the beginning of Spring is best due to the high volume of water but be ready for some river fording through some very icy temperatures. It begins at an elevation just under 9,000' and drops to a low elevation of 4,500' almost 19 miles later at Pate Valley. Coming up out of Pate Valley heading towards Harden Lake is an elevation gain of almost 4,550' in just under 8 or so miles, be prepared for some thigh quivering demands. During the hike you'll pass a series of waterfalls starting with White Cascade Falls followed by Tuolumne Falls, California Falls, Le Conte Falls and finally the geological wonder, Waterwhell Falls, where the water flows down over a series of grooves in the rocks that can propel the water close to 20' into the air in a counter clock wise wheel, really spectacular.

24 days ago

The views are excellent. We arrived before 5 pm on a Friday and hiked down from White Wolf TH for over 5 miles before resting for the night. The next day we hiked all the way past the Waterwheel Falls before looking for campsites. Along the route, there are some really nice places to stay for the night. On Sunday we hiked to Tuolumne Meadows and got a ride from a nice father and son team to the junction with White Wolf. The only regret is that AllTrails could not record most of the route. Once we descended into the forest, it lost GPS signal. So it only recorded the beginning and ending part of the whole trip!

backpacking
1 month ago

We started from White Wolf and finished at Tuolumne Meadows. Initially, we planned it as 3 day backpacking but thought better of it and changed to 4 days. I was glad we did. We had much more time to enjoy all the beautiful views, side tripped to every falls to take lots of pictures and took time to soak my feet in the river. We saw a bear coming down a tree on the first night at the camp site in Pate Valley. I was bit surprised and scared but it did not mind us at all and just walked away as if we were not there. The bridge at Pate Valley was not fixed on 9/1/2018. There were still three beams left and we walked on the middle beam to cross the river. More and better camp sites on north side of the river in Pate Valley. Bugs were bad whole time 6000ft or under - I wish I had a net to cover my face - they swarmed around and crawled on my exposed skin everywhere - repellent did not work. The views were better last half of the trail. Lots of water falls. When we were climbing up to Waterwheel Falls, those bugs were finally gone. We stopped at the top of Waterwheel Falls to eat lunch - the view of the canyon was spectacular. 4th and the last day was pretty easy hike to Tuolumne Meadows store. We saw many day hikers at this point but we were surprised we did not see many backpackers during this 3 day weekend. We arrived at the store around noon and pick up some lunch waited the hiker's shuttle to go back to White Wolf. The weather was very nice and the sky was blue whole time. While we were waiting for the bus the dark cloud developed and it started raining. We were glad we did not encounter the rain on the trail. It was tough terrain but we took time to enjoy them all. It was a great trip.

backpacking
4 months ago

Something for everyone in this hike. The valleys are amazing and scenic. Watch out for rattle snakes.

hiking
Saturday, October 17, 2015

Hiked from Tuolumne Meadows, from the Glen Aulin trailhead to White Wolf campground over the course of three days at the end of September. Slept at the backpacker's camp in the meadows the night before our hike. With the dry conditions in California, the waterfalls were not the majestic beasts they could be. But with the low water levels it was cool to see the way the rock has been artistically shaped by the erosion caused by the water. Also gave us some great natural pools to take a dip in, which were great mid-day and end of day refreshers. This is a great trail if you're looking to take in the views in a more lightly trodden area of the park. Mind you it was late in the season, but we must've only ran into 10-15 people while we were on the trail.
It's amazing how much the landscape can change from a granite rock trail, to a forest of sequoias or grove of aspens, to a desert dry trail in a matter of miles. The last day's climb up from Pate Valley to White Wolf was definitely hard work for day 3, but was enjoyable nonetheless.
Wouldn't have minded making this a 4 day trek and take our time, but we spent day 4 car-touring around Yosemite Valley and Glacier Point.

Camp spots on the trail: Water Wheel Falls (Day 1); Pate Valley (Day 2)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I initially underestimated the difficulty of this trek. There is some serious elevation gain and loss on this trek - and also limited camping spots in the canyon. I highly recommend leaving from White Wolf, as if you're heading from Glen Aulin the climb at the end would be brutal and hot (and the sun hits it hard first thing in the morning). Check the water levels before you head out. I lucked out with this low snow year and hit the water crossings just after their prime, and they were not difficult at all - yet the water in the Tuolumne was still flowing strong enough to make for impressive waterfalls. Trail was extremely overgrown in some areas, and I lost the trail a few times, but I'm sure by later in the season this won't be an issue. Absolutely amazing scenery and wildflowers - but I recommend 4 days to really enjoy it, I rushed through in 2 days and it simply was no where near enough time!

Monday, April 07, 2014

hard hike. lots of switchbacks

hiking
Sunday, February 20, 2011

This is a rugged overnight backpack into the North country of Yosemite dropping in from Tuolumne Meadows into the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne. Done at the beginning of Spring is best due to the high volume of water but be ready for some river fording through some very icy temperatures. It begins at an elevation just under 9,000' and drops to a low elevation of 4,500' almost 19 miles later at Pate Valley. Coming up out of Pate Valley heading towards Harden Lake is an elevation gain of almost 4,550' in just under 8 or so miles, be prepared for some thigh quivering demands. During the hike you'll pass a series of waterfalls starting with White Cascade Falls followed by Tuolumne Falls, California Falls, Le Conte Falls and finally the geological wonder, Waterwhell Falls, where the water flows down over a series of grooves in the rocks that can propel the water close to 20' into the air in a counter clock wise wheel, really spectacular.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Friday, July 21, 2017