Rancheria Falls Trail

MODERATE 19 reviews
#48 of 217 trails in

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.

11.9 miles
2,618 feet
Out & Back





nature trips






wild flowers



no dogs

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.

12 days ago

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.

4 months ago

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

4 months ago

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.

Monday, September 11, 2017

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

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Amazing Views.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

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.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

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..

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Saturday, January 11, 2014

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.

Friday, May 03, 2013

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

Sunday, June 03, 2012

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.

3 months ago

4 months ago

9 months ago

11 months ago

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Friday, June 24, 2016

Monday, August 17, 2015