EveryTrail is now a part of AllTrails! Please click here to read more.

Upper Yosemite Falls Trail

HARD 343 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.

3 hours ago

Beautiful. Can be slippery coming back down from the falls but so worth it.

8 hours ago

Difficult but worth it!

hiking
1 day ago

hiking
3 days ago

4 days ago

hiking
4 days ago

5 days ago

hiking
6 days ago

My husband and I did this hike last summer in early July and it is frankly the most difficult and most spectacular hike we have done. And he has done Half Dome twice. We continued on from the upper Falls to North Dome. It is about 4 additional miles but totally worth it. We started at 8 and hit the valley floor again at 4:30. The views are unmatched by anything other than Clouds Rest. If you are doing this hike in the summer, start early. The trail is mostly exposed to the sun and it gets just brutally hot. Bring a water pump so you can refill at the top and drink plenty of water. I am 5'1" and I drank 5 liters to give you an idea. Bring DEET as there are quite a few mosquitos. Trek polls would have really helped on the descent, my knees were shot by the end.

This is a grueling hike and you will want to turn around and go back. Don't. Just keep going it is worth it. This is my favorite of all the valley hikes.

hiking
6 days ago

6 days ago

Easier than expected. One step at a time, most people can reach to top and enjoy spectacular views on the way.

backpacking
6 days ago

hiking
6 days ago

Another must-do hike in Yosemite Valley, very strenuous hike to the top of Yosemite Falls. The elevation gain is steady, with many switchbacks. You get a break halfway through where you're trekking level and actually descend for a little bit. This is where you get the great shot of the upper falls. Another set of switchbacks takes you to the top of the rock. The sound of the thunderous water cascading is nearly as impressive as the sight. Hang out at the top, with binoculars, and check out the whole valley. The overlook is awesome. Didn't want to leave. One of the best views, ever!!

7 days ago

7 days ago

Hard, but worth it. There were a lot of little creeks to pass through and lots of places where you had to step on rocks, so definitely wear good shoes. Pack plenty of water because it's almost 12 miles there and back.

7 days ago

Hard, but worth it. There were a lot of little creeks to pass through and lots of places where you had to step on rocks, so definitely wear good shoes. Pack plenty of water because it's almost 12 miles there and back.

7 days ago

7 days ago

hiking
7 days ago