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

Upper Yosemite Falls Trail

HARD 575 reviews
#3 of 158 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.

2 hours ago

15 hours ago

Worth it, tough trail! Bring extra water, i had 2 liters and ran out. Bring a bathing suit! Start early, this trail will take all day.

19 hours ago

Great hike! It was really tough. I was under the impression it was around 6 miles total but in reality it was each way....Up and down took us 5 1/2 hours. We started at noon. I suggest starting earlier so you can spend more time at the top. We didn't get to spend too much time overlooking because we didn't want to lose daylight leaving the park. I had 2 bottles of water and it wasn't quite enough, I'd recommend 3 at least. Very beautiful! Totally recommend.

hiking
23 hours ago

Whew! What a hike! We did this in about 5 hours including a 45 minute lunch/photo/quiet break at the top. We embarked at 9am and we're grateful to be heading down during the noon heat and back down to the head around 2pm.

This trail is a total chipper-both physically and mentally. We thought we were 'getting close to the top' about 7 times before we actually were. This trail starts out with a ton of switchbacks to get you to your first view of the falls way up in the distance.

Take this one step by step, bring plenty of water (more than you need) and electrolytes and snacks for quick sugars! My gf had 2 liters of water and ran out on the way down - I brought 3 which was a perfect amount.

The most surprising part of this for my partner and I was that the way down was equally as challenging as the way up-what it lacked in an incline, it made up for in a seemingly never ending number of switchbacks. Keep your head down, have fun and remember this one is totally mind over matter.

We only had enough time for one major hike and chose this one and would do it again! Super rewarding-have fun!

hiking
1 day ago

hiking
2 days ago

hiking
2 days ago

hiking
3 days ago

hiking
3 days ago

hiked in sept 17. very buggy!! bring lots of water. and lunch to enjoy at the top. hard hike but can be proud to complete it.

hiking
8 days ago

8 days ago

Beautiful strenuous hike!!! Lots of big rocks to climb over!

9 days ago

Great strenuous hike. The views were great, but a little underwhelming for the effort.

hiking
10 days ago

hiking
10 days ago

hiking
13 days ago

hiking
14 days ago

15 days ago

Disclaimer: my partner and I did Half Dome the day prior to this hike, so our perspective may be slightly skewed due to tired legs.

We idiotically started this hike at 12 p.m., which was a terrible mistake as temperatures were soaring in the mid-90s. Don't be fooled by the short length of this round trip hike (7.2 miles). The sun exposure on the many steep switchbacks is brutal, and the lack of shade for much of the hike will leave you asking, "how much farther?" when much remains.

After the strenuous journey, the oasis that awaits at the top is well worth the trouble. Pack a suit and plan to enjoy the view for awhile before heading down.

In hindsight, I wish we had started in the morning and been able to enjoy the refreshing pools during the hottest part of the day. Good luck to all + don't forget to pack lots of water!

hiking
16 days ago

hiking
18 days ago

hiking
19 days ago