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Upper Yosemite Falls Trail

HARD 506 reviews
#3 of 154 trails in

Upper Yosemite Falls Trail is a 5.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Mariposa, California that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and birding and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
5.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3323 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

trail running

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. In essence, the hike can be divided into sections as the following: from the trailhead to Columbia Rock, from Columbia to the lower gate, from the lower gate to the upper gate and from the upper gate to the overlook. 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
6 hours ago

This amazing hike was worth the climb. Definitely one of the most grueling hikes I've ever done. We hit the trailhead at 7am and made it to the top of the falls at 9am. We talked to a heavyset family and they took 4 hours to get up. It feels long and is uphill the whole way, and is mainly comprised of granite steps and loose sand. Coming downhill on the granite is pretty slippery so I would definitely recommend wearing GOOD hiking shoes. Lots of ill prepared hikers wearing Nike's or sandals had a hard time gaining traction. Trekking poles are also a good idea, your knees will thank you.

Once you're at the top, you have a great view of the valley and can walk down some cabled steps to get closer to the waterfall. There aren't many guardrails so I wouldn't bring young kids even if they somehow made it up the whole hike.

We went a bit further (another .8 miles) to Yosemite Point which is the peak to the right of the falls (if you're looking up at it from the valley), and that was also spectacular. It was even less crowded up there and very quiet.

I went through about 3.5 liters of water, so bring plenty of H2O!

hiking
1 day ago

hiking
3 days ago

hiking
3 days ago

I love this hike because it's so challenging. I did it once before in my 20's, now I'm 52 and did it again! I brought my 22-yr-old nephew with me and he had a blast, and another friend who's 41 and never really hiked before. He barely made it, and he got heat exhaustion on the way down, so we had to make frequent and lengthy stops. Good thing we brought lots of water -- 7 bottles apiece, and we still ran out. We had to stash one of the backpacks in a rock on the way up because my friend couldn't handle the weight of all that water. Luckily we found the backpack on the way down, and just in time bc we really needed that water. Make sure you wear good solid hiking shoes with grippy soles. This hike is a must-do for serious hikers!

hiking
4 days ago

hiking
4 days ago

Very hard hike but definitely worth it! The trail is tough to walk on at times with loose sand and sand on rocks that can make them slippery. Hiking shoes are definitely needed. Bring lots of water as it gets hot and there's not a lot of shade when you hit the last mile of it. There's a small path that needs from the main trail to view the lower falls. It isn't marked and we only found it because someone else points it out to us. Once you see it can tell it's definitely a trail and meant to be used. The last mile is full of steep switch backs and no shade. You earn your views on this hike. Once you hit the top there are serval areas to view the valley. We spent time eating lunch and resting before the hike back down. Going down is tough with how steep it is. Be prepared for it to take longer to get down than expected. It took us (two fit people in their 20s with hiking shoes) just under 6 hours and that included a 30 minutes lunch/viewing stops.

hiking
5 days ago

hiking
5 days ago

5 days ago

Very nice! Continue the hike to Yosemite Point another 0.8 miles further, well worth the view. My favorite waterfall hike in Yosemite still has to be Vernal and Nevada Falls, however. Great workout!

hiking
7 days ago

hiking
8 days ago

hiking
8 days ago

hiking
8 days ago

hiking
8 days ago

hiking
8 days ago

This hike is definitely fun. We didn't make it to the top inordinately because the sun was going down and we were out of water, we started too late but will definitely go back. Our views were breathtaking regardless of the unfinished hike!

8 days ago

This trail was my favorite that I've done so far. We were there the first weekend in May and the first two days the weather was chilly, rainy and foggy and our last day there we got lucky and had a beautiful day when we did this hike. It was about 60 degrees and we started around 10 am. (Late I know). The views were breathtaking and I kept thinking they couldn't get any better and at each viewpoint they did. I was very surprised to see a four year old boy on the trail hiking along with us. It was his third time on the trial. He and his mother actually passed us at one point. I think if we lived around there we would have had an easier time, but since we're from Jersey nothing could really prepare us for these hikes! I think the worst part was really just the end with all the switchbacks. They were brutal. The mileage is deceiving also. We went to the top of the falls and then continued to Yosemite Point which was even more incredible. By the time we made it there it was chilly and we were going to continue to North Dome but decided against it. We stopped a few times on the way up and had plenty of snacks and a big sandwich for lunch along with lots of water which we were very grateful for. By the time we made it back down at the end of the day it was around 7:30 and I'm not sure how accurate it was, but my phone calculated about 14 ish miles. I look forward to coming back here again someday.

hiking
9 days ago

Tough hike make sure you bring a lot of water I ran out and had to refill at the top but absolutely worth getting to the top. Good luck

hiking
9 days ago

Great hike! Steep with great views all the way! A very good workout! Great views from the top, but you need to be careful up there. Not for people out of shape.