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Upper Yosemite Falls Trail

HARD 381 reviews
#3 of 145 trails in

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

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

birding

hiking

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.

2 hours ago

hiking
14 hours ago

hiking
2 days ago

hiking
2 days ago

Great strenuous all-day hike with great views. The trail veers away from the trail for much of the time, but there are spectacular views of the valley. The trail is cobblestone much of the way. There is a side trail to see the water from the upper fall pooling at the top of the lower fall. The views from the top are very rewarding.

2 days ago

The beginning was the hardest part in my opinion because of all the uneventful switchbacks going up! But, then it's all worth it. From then on the trail has the most gorgeous views that make you feel like the tiniest being on the side of a mountain. I don't know how to explain, but it's amazing. The waterfall was absolutely stunning when you turn the corner to get there. Will definitely do this one again and again, but will hopefully be in better shape for the next time lol.

2 days ago

Best trail I've hiked. Even better when you just free climb the mountain.

2 days ago

Very challenging, very rewarding.

4 days ago

4 days ago

Gig

4 days ago

What a hike! If you have 1 day and want to see everything Yosemite has to offer (well at least a good glimps of it...) Please do hike this trial. The view at the top, hike all the way up to yosemite point!!, is fantastic and worth every switchback from hell. Half dome, el capitan, the valley and the falls, you'll see it all.
It took us around 6 hours with some stops and resting at the top.

4 days ago

incline, incline, incline, but worth it at the end.

6 days ago

6 days ago

hiking
7 days ago

hiking
9 days ago

Beautiful trail. Enjoy the journey on the way up with the beautiful waterfall.

13 days ago

This hike is definitely hard (like a stair climber the whole way up), but more than worth it when you get to the top. Make sure to hike the extra mile or so all the way up to Yosemite Point! You will not be disappointed - unobscured views of half dome and the valley! Have gone three times now!

The trail starts in the valley. The initial part of the hike is all switch backs. Eventually, the trail levels out a bit as you approach Columbia Rock. Columbia Rock is not marked with a sign. You'll know you have reached this milestone when you see a nice rock with railings and a view of the valley below. This about a half way point to the "lower gate", or the base of the upper falls. The trek to the lower gate is enjoyable, we meandered through some streams and mini falls... and the view you get of the upper falls as you come around the final bend is incredible. Again, there isn't a sign to indicate that you have reached the milestone "lower gate". You will know you're there when you see the waterfall!!! Venturing a bit further, you will come to less defined switchbacks that are made of granite stepping stones. This is the subtle beginning of the final trek up to the top. Based on other reviews, heavy fog, and time limitations, we opted to turn around at this point. It was still a very rewarding hike. We lolly-gagged, stopped to make ourselves a sandwich, and did the round trip in less than 3 hours. We started on the trail around 6:45-7am and had the trail to ourselves for quite a while. The crowds started to set in around 9.