Conquer the Upper Yosemite Falls Hike in Yosemite

Updated: December 16, 2021 | Has affiliate links

Yosemite Falls thumbnailYosemite National Park is my favorite national park. I go there every time I get a chance. Most of the times I visit Yosemite National Park in the early summer or spring. This is usually the best time to see the waterfalls at full capacity. But how about the winter? I got a chance to visit Yosemite National Park in mid-November and while there was not much water in the waterfalls, I enjoyed the different colors of the trees due to changing seasons. One of my favorite hikes in Yosemite National Park is the Upper Yosemite Falls hike. Read on to find out about my experience hiking this trail and to see some great pictures.

1. Find Upper Yosemite Falls Hike Trailhead

The Upper Yosemite Falls hike give you amazing views of the Yosemite Valley.
The Upper Yosemite Falls hike give you amazing views of the Yosemite Valley
See my photos of Upper Yosemite Falls hike

The trail starts at Camp 4 or Shuttle Stop #7. You can just look for signs to Lower Yosemite Fall which is just a few hundred feed from the main road. Once you see the sign you can park in the parking lot on your left, close to Yosemite Lodge. Then just walk across the street and follow the signs to the Yosemite Falls trail head.
Yosemite Falls has two parts: Upper Yosemite Fall and Lower Yosemite Fall. Both parts can be easily admired from the main road. But in order to get to the top of Yosemite Falls you need to follow this strenuous trail.

Yosemite Falls trail has been built between 1873 and 1877 and the park’s staff keep working on it to maintain it. This trail leads you to the top of Yosemite Fall which is North America’s tallest waterfall. It is 2425 feet (739 meters) above the Yosemite Valley floor…so it’s a very steep climb to the top. However, when you get to Columbia Rock on top of the fall, the views are simply breathtaking. It is very hard to capture in words and pictures what you see from the top. You just have to hike it yourself.

2. Upper Yosemite Falls Hike is Hard

Yosemite Valley seen from Columbia Rock on top of Yosemite Falls. This picture was taken on a summer day.
Yosemite Valley seen from Columbia Rock on top of Yosemite Falls. This picture was taken on a summer day.
See my photos of Upper Yosemite Falls hike

Even though this is one of my favorite trails in Yosemite, the Upper Yosemite Falls hike is no joke. How hard is the Upper Yosemite Falls hike? Well, it depends on you and how well prepared you are. It is steep and it has many switchbacks.

How long does it take to hike to Upper Yosemite Falls? Well, the hike is about 7 miles (11km) long and it can take you between 6 and 8 hours round trip to hike Upper Yosemite Falls. If it’s sunny outside, have some sunscreen with you and use it. The sun burns in Yosemite year round. Also, don’t forget to take plenty of water and some comfortable hiking shoes. The trail is very well maintained but I’ll say it again: this is one hard hike and you need to be prepared.

Is Upper Yosemite Falls Hike Worth Doing?

If you are in good shape, then go up! You will be rewarded by one of the best views in Yosemite. The entire Yosemite Valley will be open right underneath your feet and you will also get the best view of Half Dome. I think it’s worth every effort to complete the Upper Yosemite Falls Hike and make it to the top of Yosemite Falls. This hike has become part of my favorite things to do in Yosemite.

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