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Upper Yosemite Falls Trail

HARD 999 reviews
#2 of 208 trails in

Upper Yosemite Falls Trail is a 5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Yosemite Village, California that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
5.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,175 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no dogs

Enjoy the thrilling views of looking down from the top of Yosemite Fall. Yosemite Fall, dropping 2,425 feet to the bottom of the valley from the top, is one of the most visited places in Yosemite National Park. The fall consists of three sections: upper falls, middle cascade and lower falls. While most people visit lower falls only, upper falls is definitely worthy of visiting for its eye-opening views and hiker's self-satisfaction of reaching it. The trail to Upper Yosemite Fall is about 3 miles one way, gaining approximately 3,000 feet in elevation along the way. Once you get to the top of the valley, you can go to Yosemite Fall Overlook, a small platform near the mouth of Upper Yosemite Fall, to enjoy the thrilling views of looking down from above. The trailhead is located in the Sunnyside campground (Camp 4) near Yosemite Lodge. It generally takes 6 - 8 hours for average hikers to complete the roundtrip hike. The trail is generally open for the whole year, but can be difficult to hike in winter due to snow, especially beyond Columbia Rock.

hiking
1 day ago

ENDLESS. SWITCHBACKS. I really enjoyed this hike because I don't really have any beef with switchbacks. But once you start scaling the granite face, there's no shade or cloud cover, so if you're hiking in the dead of summer (like we were) you need to make sure you have a lot of water (2-3 L/person). The view from the top was great and it was really cool to be able to get close to the fall (though, that was a bit scary to me).

3 days ago

Rigorous uphill climb no reprieve but the views are beautiful.. do not forget to climb down from top to view the falls. This trail is very rocky with lots of rocks ... so adding to the degree of difficulty to the steep gradient throughout . start the hike early as the heat in summer and even late spring gets you..Parking is an issue so get dropped off or take the early park bus and get dropped off.. It is hard hike up... Round trip back s close to 7.8 Miles not 5

backpacking
4 days ago

Up up and away. Phenomenal views of the valley throughout most of the vertical hike. With a pack it was pretty grueling, but everyone made it with 3 liters of water each. Everyone was quick to refill at the top and chug once it was ready. The dip in the river was extremely rewarding. Well worth the effort for the views. A very busy trail with a lot of day hikers, but that’s the valley so nothing out of the ordinary there.

backpacking
4 days ago

Did this trail as part of a backpacking overnight to Eagle Peak. This is a rough trail to do with packs because there is so much elevation gain in a relatively short time period, but the views are beautiful!! We started on the trail at 4pm (8pm sunset in July) and it was really nice to be in the shade for most of the way. Definitely would recommend this as an afternoon hike to avoid sun on the trail.

Parking was very difficult, as can be expected for Yosemite Valley in the summer.

6 days ago

very difficult hike, rocks very brutal on feet, ankles, and knees! recommend hiking poles, ankles hiking boots. views are great! bring at least 2 liters of water, and snacks!

6 days ago

Holy incline! But holy views! Love it! Went in May and not very crowded so I enjoyed myself.

hiking
10 days ago

Honestly...the view of the falls is best at the "halfway" point. The "pool" or streams at the top were refreshing but holy moley the elevation gain destroyed me at the end. I guess I had a different experience because I am 5' 11" and over 250 lbs. Coming down one of my knees started to give out so I'd recommend braces for whatever joints you have issues with (i.e knees, ankles, etc). PLEASE TRAIN FOR THIS HIKE IF YOU ARE OUT OF SHAPE, YOU WILL REGRET IT IF YOU DON'T. Also be sure to have hiking shoes if you need the extra grip (I definitely did).

12 days ago

Wonderful views of the whole valley a very good scenic hike. The trail it self is hard if you don’t like climbing stairs this trail is not for but if you power thru it it is worth the soreness. Start the hike early to avoid the heat not much shade from the sun and bring plenty of water no stops for water. Ended up finishing up at Yosemite point

hiking
13 days ago

More than 200 floors! That's what my device said. Yes, this is hard to strenuous. It was not the latter for me coz I started the trek in the early morning 4 AM and ended by 10 AM. People starting after the sunrise will have to face the sun while climbing up. The falls were powerful given it was spring and there was a lot of ice left on the top. The wind is too too cold and you instantly cool down when you reach the top. Please carry a thermal jacket for just the summit. Carry plenty of water and snacks. My recommendation is this : Go to Yosemite early morning on Saturday and reach there before 8 AM. Stand in the queue of Camp 4 if you dnt have reservation and get a place. Setup your tent and start to hike at around 10. Reach the base camp by 4 or 5 PM. Rest of the entire night and head back to home the next day. This has always worked for me during the weekend getaway including peak hours.

13 days ago

Beautiful views. Weather changes in a blink of an eye and more and more mist as you’re getting closer to the waterfalls

13 days ago

This trail was quite the experience. It was difficult but I loved the challenge. The views were amazing and worth every step.

Long hike! Great trail. Amazing views! Definitely swim in the upper falls pools. Take the Yosemite point trail for a view of the north dome and a great panoramic it’s an extra 40 minutes round trip.

hiking
15 days ago

Strenuous but worth the breathtaking views!

hiking
16 days ago

Great hike. Didn’t take as long as I expected. Take lots of water because several of the switchbacks are in the sun. I went 7 and made it up in 3 hours and I am not a super fast hiker. Extended my hike on to Yosemite Point. Worth every step.

hiking
19 days ago

Awesome views but bring good shoes because the path is filled with slippery rocks (very early to slip or roll an ankle)! Also would recommend an early hike and getting back down to the floor before the trail gets to warm.

22 days ago

Bring water, bring food. Leave at the crack of dawn or else the sun will bear down on you by 11. Squirrels are fatter on top than on the trail... don’t feed them.

22 days ago

amazing trail with an even better view.

Awesome trail! Great views of the valley! Bring plenty of water or a carbon filtered water bottle to take water directly from a stream! Difficult stone hike so bring sturdy comfortable shoes! PLEASE leave your under 14 year old children in valley!

1 month ago

Amazing hike! It is tough and you will be panting, but the views are definitely worth it! The first part of the hike is pretty repetitive with the switchbacks but it gets better and better especially after Columbia rock. We went past The falls up to Yosemite point where there is a beautiful vista of the valley. Highly recommend! We started around one and ended around seven. Did this hike around the middle of April.

hiking
1 month ago

Lots of switchbacks made of granite that can be hard on the legs. Gain lots of elevation in a short period of time so breaks are needed. Went on Black Friday to avoid the crowds and it was worth it. Stellar views from the top.

1 month ago

Expect rocks. lots of rocks. Don't give up, keep on going. reaching the top is the best feeling you can get. plus it has really beautiful views. Bring a lot of water and food.

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing! Very difficult hike, worth the accomplishment. According to my Apple Watch it is 4 mi to the top and 4 mi back. Not sure why the description on All Trails says 5 mi round trip. It’s for sure not! Bring lots of water and be prepared to work. The entire 4 mi to the top is steep incline with rocky switch backs. The way down isn’t easy either—strenuous on the knees and feet for most. All in all, this is an amazing accomplishment with bragging rights!! Have fun!

1 month ago

Very difficult hike - absolutely worth it and rewarding!

1 month ago

Difficult but incredibly worth it

1 month ago

Awesome hike if you want an insane challenge. Not for the faint of heart or inexperienced hikers. Go up early to avoid the crowds of people who have no idea what they’re getting themselves into and will make the trail crowded and dangerous. Wear hiking boots with good tread, and be prepared to walk straight up cement stairs for 3.5 hours straight. Going up is 1000x easier than coming down. We did this whole hike in about 5 hours. Enjoy the views!

1 month ago

Awesome hike, bring lots of water and and pace yourself this is one hell of a hike ! Awesome view and the waterfall at the top alone makes it worth the pain !

hiking
1 month ago

Our family of 5 ages of 38, 37, 12, 8 and 6 went all the way to the part where you get amazing views of the falls and feel the mist/cool air. We didn’t make it to the top but did go about 3.5 miles total of the 5-6mile trek.

The kids did excellent- they blew me away. The rocks, stair climbing and changing views kept my kids happy, busy and hiking. We also packed a snack bag so at our highest point we all sat down and ate together. Since we don’t buy them often, gummies were their reward (it works!)

For our family hikes we also use our walkie talkies, hiking sticks, binoculars and whistles (for safety). The walkie talkies helps them forget all the climbing and descending as they check on each other often. I tend to stay back with our girl and the boys go a bit faster, just far enough to make walkie talkie fun.

Family hikes tend to require thinking a little more ahead, but even harder hikes like this one can be fun with young kids.

Other TIP: put BUGSPRAY on the kids! LOTS of mosquitoes on this hike! A LOT!!!
Bring emergency bathroom supplies as my girl had to pee halfway down. Boys have it much easier on that department. Plenty of water and give them a reward for hiking with happy attitudes.

hiking
1 month ago

Difficult and all climbing. Then more climbing. Well worth it all. We started at 8:30am and finishing just after 4. Bring lots of water and pack a lunch. Pace yourself. The weather was amazing but I would say bring a light jacket or long sleeve shirt, towards the top it can get pretty windy> chilly. Also make sure your wearing sunscreen or your asking to burn. There’s not much coverage. There were plenty of people on the trail as well but starting early we weren’t bothered with large or slow groups. This is a great hike, would love to do again.

1 month ago

This hike will work you out. It’s fun!

1 month ago

Amazing trail.

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