Hetch Hetchy Trail to Rancheria Falls

HARD 57 reviews
#21 of 210 trails in

Hetch Hetchy Trail to Rancheria Falls is a 11.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Long Barn, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October.

DISTANCE
11.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2545 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

hiking
20 days ago

Did this as an out and back long day hike. Great falls and views along the way. On warm/hot days be prepared for many exposed areas and bring lots of water. Completely worth the effort.

hiking
24 days ago

First hike...amazing views ...well worth the trip

1 month ago

our very first hike in 2004 to mark 1 year breast cancer free took awhile but i finished great day

backpacking
1 month ago

Amazing first backpacking trip. From the backpackers parking lot to camp we logged about 7mi, so round trip including waterfall exploring was about 15mi. If the falls are raging, as they were on May 5th, you might lose some bug repellant crossing Wampama and mosquitos seemed to be the worst in the mile or two following. Despite other descriptions I've seen, there is no signage indicating the falls or camp is coming up. Rocks create a fork toward the sites after the first cascade you see. There were about 10-12 spots with fire pits. The highest site is closest to the first cascade and would be ideal to watch the sunset.

hiking
1 month ago

Great Hike. Completed this weekend. Amazing views of waterfalls and cascades. A few good spots to relax, grab a bite and enjoy the view.

1 month ago

5/5/18 Beautiful trail, nicely graded. Would be HOT later in the summer.

backpacking
1 month ago

Great hike for backpacking or just a day trek. We did a one night backpacking trip and were in awe the entire time. I would describe the trail as moderate with a pack and easy without one. There were quite a few felled trees which were difficult to navigate under with a full pack. Very moderate elevation gain and beautiful waterfalls almost every mile. Plenty of shade cover and well marked trail. The cascades at the top were well worth it!

hiking
2 months ago

Great Family Hike to waterfalls with 2 kids (10 and 7).
Easy to moderate hiking

hiking
3 months ago

stunning in the winter!

backpacking
4 months ago

Not an easy trail.
Even if your in the middle of the worst drought in twenty years bring your rain gear!
The camp site was great and there were lots of places to have a safe fire when I went.
The tail starts off easy, but got progressively more difficult the farther I continued. I was with a big group and there were plenty of areas for everyone to explore and have an amazing time.
The way out was a lot easier than the way in.
You can meet a lot of really fun and interesting people who love the outdoors as much as you do.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful easy hike.

5 months ago

did this early December, beautiful!

backpacking
11 months ago

A must for Yosemite. Your feet are going to get wet, deal with it.

backpacking
11 months ago

Did this hike 3 years ago and it was wonderful! Planned on hiking it again but found that the Wapama Falls bridge was said to be closed because of the increased amount of water flowing over it? Reading through the recent comments, seems like Rancheria Falls was hiked to and camped only a couple days ago and that people just had to get a little wet from the over-spill of water on the bridge. I don't mind that as long as the bridge is intact. Has anyone just recently crossed the bridge..Could someone please post an updated pic of the bridge - is it cross-able? TY :)

11 months ago

We backpacked and camped at Rancheria falls campground (permit required) and the entire experience was fabulous. We had the top of the falls all to ourselves watching the sunset. We left our tent and packs behind the next day and hiked to the Tilltill valley- over 50 different types of wildflowers and gorgeous scenery along the low traffic trail. The third day we headed back and saw a bear along the trail! Wampana falls was crashing over the first bridge making for some excitement. Crowds pick up between the Dam and wampana falls but still not as crowded as the valley. Overall a great experience

hiking
Saturday, June 17, 2017

The best part was running through the Wapama Falls.

hiking
Saturday, June 10, 2017

Not able to reach the second fall due to deep water on the trail but really beautiful with good views of the reservoir. Easy hike with lots of sun. Top hike at Hetch Hetchy even without second fall.

hiking
Saturday, June 10, 2017

Pleasant hike with beautiful views the entire time. Definitely worth the drive in to the Hetch Hetchy area.

hiking
Sunday, June 04, 2017

Great day hike in and back.

Crossing Wapama Falls was intense today. Yesterday the water was splashing onto the first bridge. Today it was flowing over the first bridge.

Rancheria Falls is definitely worth the extra work up and back. Lots and lots of wild flowers and butterflies as well along the entire length of the trail.

On the way in, at about 8am and not more than 200 meters from exiting the tunnel, my son spotted a bobcat watching us from a small rocky alcove a few meters above the trail.

hiking
Monday, April 03, 2017

the trail starts off easy and gets difficult after Wapama fall. the trail is a tough terrain of rocks that meander uphill . the road is narrow and at times slippery.
the view is very pretty and the rancheros fall was very impressive .

Sunday, December 11, 2016

I hiked this trail with a 35-pound backpack in 1972 on Memorial Day weekend with friends. It was a gorgeous hike, I loved going through the waterfalls for much-needed refreshment. We stayed at Rancherio Falls area where many people who didn't hang their food lost their tents and equipment to bears. On our way back, the falls had grown quite a bit so that some people had to be helped across. Just a tad bit dangerous!

hiking
Sunday, June 26, 2016

Just hiked to the bridges at the lower falls and it was well worth the effort. It was almost 100 degrees that day so the falls were much needed. We got soaked crossing the bridges. I could see how this would be dangerous and some times impossible when the volume coming over the falls is high. This hike is a nice alternative to the crazy crowded Yosemite Valley.

backpacking
Saturday, June 11, 2016

Great trail, great views, and great spots to camp if you're backpacking, which you definitely should do

hiking
Friday, June 03, 2016

Great waterfalls and a different perspective of Yosemite. Despite being a holiday weekend, not too many on trail. Next time will get permit and stay overnight at Rancheria Falls.

hiking
Monday, May 30, 2016

Very nice beautiful trail. Made the mistake of coming here during a busy holiday weekend but the scenery was well worth the trip. The falls were such a relief after hiking for a bit. Got to cool off with some ice cold snow melt water. Definitely will be back to tackle it a little bit further.

hiking
Sunday, October 04, 2015

Literally my FAVORITE hike ever! This hike has it all: a tunnel, breathtaking views, not very crowded, and waterfalls galore! It's Yosemite but without the crowds. The only downside is its history...but even that is a interesting story. You can go as far as you want to make it more challenging through many different types environments. I did happen to have a nasty fall, but I managed to complete the hike and not feel the pain till I got back to the car...Its just too beautiful to feel any pain and forget all your problems.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

This is a beautiful man made lake developed for drinking water to San Francisco. Easy trail and well worth it if the water falls are full. Fed by runoff from the snow pack might be dried up by late May.

hiking
Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Beautiful place and not too many people..Easy hike to Wapama Falls should be a must for everyone getting out there..It is so quiet out there, ospreys flying around everywhere, big fish and a beautiful lake (cant swim in it though) people really miss out on this one..the drive is so worth it..

hiking
Saturday, March 07, 2015

FYI this trail is no where near Long Barn. The closest town is Buck Meadows and you access it off Hwy 120.

nature trips
Tuesday, June 04, 2013

This is a beautiful hike it is nice and flat for the novice, but go past the dam and see the beautiful waterfalls the hydrate the bay area

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