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Rancheria Falls Trail is a 11.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Long Barn, 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.

Length 11.9 mi Elevation gain 2,618 ft Route type Out & Back

Backpacking

Camping

Hiking

Nature trips

Walking

Bird watching

Forest

River

Views

Waterfall

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Bugs

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (7)
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Tips

Yosemite National Park is open to those with reservations begining on Thursday, June 11. See the park website for more info: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/covid19.htm A great early-season day-hike or overnighter to some wonderful waterfalls in Yosemite Valley's twin: Hetch Hetchy. Check out towering waterfalls and soaring granite cliffs without the crowds of Yosemite Valley. This route is suitable for a moderately long day-hike or an overnight backpacking trip and is best in the spring. There are three named waterfalls (Tueeulala, Wapama, and Rancheria Falls), along the trail and a cascade at Tiltill Creek, but during snowmelt season (roughly April - June) you can expect cascades of water everywhere, all pouring onto the trail and into the reservoir below. The trailhead is located on the south side of O'Shaughnessy Dam. There is limited parking here and a backpackers-only campsite. You start by crossing the dam and going through a tunnel bored through the granite wall of the valley. The trail then follows an old service road until the first trail junction. This section is wide and flat and suitable for just about anyone, even strollers, and stays this way for a mile until the first trail junction. At the junction, your trail continues along the valley wall, or you can head up towards either Miguel Meadows or Laurel Lake. From here the trail becomes more a hiking trail and less a road. The trail undulates along the valley wall, first passing the cascade of Tueeulala Falls and then Wapama Falls. After Wapama Falls you go into the forest, continuing the moderate up-and-down until the trail crosses the cascades of Tiltill Creek. From here there is a final climb to Rancheria Falls. Above Rancheria Falls the trails climb rapidly towards Tiltill Valley and towards LeConte Point and Rancheria Mountain. From Rancheria Falls, return the way you came.

Yosemite National Park Main Page http://www.nps.gov/yose Yosemite National Park - Wilderness Permits http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wildpermits.htm Hetch Hetchy Dayhikes http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/hetchhetchy.htm Yosemite Trailhead Information http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/trailheads.htm

The Hetch Hetchy gate for Yosemite is the main access point for this hike and maintains limited hours -- check to see what they are at the main Yosemite website. The turnoff is just before the Big Oak Flat entrance for Yosemite on CA Highway 120 The first mile or so (across the dam and to the first trail junction) is family-friendly in that it's wide and flat and easy BUT you are on the side of the valley wall about 50-100 feet above the reservoir; after the trail junction, while the hiking isn't hard, the trail is narrow and there are sheer drop-offs directly into the reservoir or onto rocks - not suitable for small or impulsive children. There is a campground, for backpackers with valid permits only, $5/person/night. ONLY backpackers (with valid permits) can be present in Hetch Hetchy after the gate closes, leave early if you're just day-tripping! This hike should be gorgeous anytime but late April-early May should beat the summer heat and catch the waterfalls in full roar.The hike to Rancheria Falls is very popular at this time of year; expect to find  lots of day-hikers to Wapama Falls for the first 2.5 miles and quite a few people at the Rancheria Falls campsite. If you can, go midweek to avoid the crowds, or be willing to hike up the hill to get away from others. At Rancheria Falls itself, don't just stop at the campsite: there are great views of the falls about 15 minutes up the trail at a footbridge over the creek. Poison oak is plentiful, growing close to or directly on the trail. Like everywhere in Yosemite, bears are active day and night and canisters are required if you're backpacking. Post-hike, the Evergreen Lodge has a restaurant and postcards.

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Reviews (56)
Photos (1058)
Recordings (48)
Completed (155)
James Thurlow
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Sep 11 2018
Backpacking

Hiked in here with a few guys, all in our mid 40s and of various fitness levels. It's a relatively easy hike but a bit long with some elevation change. Best to pace yourself. There are a few campsites to chose from, all with good access to water. There was a fair amount of fuel at the time for healthy campfires. Not the most scenic place once you arrive but a nice quiet place to camp.

Jim Spinetta
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu May 10 2018
Hiking

Gate opens at 7, closes at 9pm. All trails just opened. Falls amazing!! This is a tough, rewarding hike. Be in good shape.

Nicole Jalbert
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Apr 30 2018
Hiking

This is probably the best hike I’ve ever been on. Trail quality is top notch and the views are spectacular. The elevation gain feels steady. Depending on when you go, and how much water there is, you might get wet near Wapama Falls. Absolutely stunning hike.

Miguel Cabrales
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Sep 11 2017
Hiking

Very manageable as a day hike. There's a cliff jumping spot on the bridge used to cross Rancheria Creek

Jaime Madrigal
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Aug 08 2017

Amazing Views.

Eric M
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Mar 09 2017
Backpacking

Completed this hike in July 2015. This trail served as the first 5 miles of a 35 mile loop I was doing (see my recordings). It is pretty fantastic. Pretty easy. Very cool as you are along the res. the majority of the way. Plenty of water crossings and falls.

Seth Souza
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Sep 17 2015
Hiking

The pools and cliff to jump off are ah-mazing..Water temp is perfect, lots of lil pools to make it your own area..beautiful views, great waterfall..

Joe Bayflyer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue May 26 2015
Hiking
Shawn Switzer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Jan 11 2014
Hiking

Waterfalls awesome in the spring. There is a backpackers camp ground near Rancher falls if you obtain a wilderness permit. Many use this as a pit stop as part of a larger adventure. The trail begins at the dam but I noticed the marker on the map was a little off. Uphill switch backs make this a moderate trail but the scenery is worth it.

Juan Jaramillo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri May 03 2013
Hiking

Awesome but hard hike. Many switch backs up and down. Well worth the hard trip.

Javier Aldana
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jun 03 2012
Hiking

Although the elevation gain doesn't seem like much, it is up and down around 3x. So you should think about the gain being 3x. This was my first hike of the season, and it was a good work out. I ran out of water, so don't forget your water filter. Highly recommend this hike. All in all, it was enjoyable.

Roxana Opazo
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Hiking
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Jayme Putney
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Hiking
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Robert Lull
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Jerry Ferris
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Tim LIndsay
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Will Baker
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Maggie Paton
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Chris Cuppoletti
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Backpacking
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Nick N
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Mike Piekut
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Mike Piekut
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Chip Vanek
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Lisa Nicolls
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Ross Goedde
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Lacey Jane
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Tao D
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Kristin Goularte
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Oct 19 2019
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Randall McPherson
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Trail Ninja
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Hiking
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