Hiking the Upper Yosemite Falls Trail

Updated: November 10, 2017 This website uses cookies, ads and 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 trails in Yosemite National Park is the Yosemite Falls trail. Read on to find out about my experience hiking this trail and to see some great pictures.

Directions to the Yosemite Falls trails head

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.

The Yosemite Falls trail provides the hiker amazing views of the Yosemite Valley.
The Yosemite Falls trail provides the hiker with amazing views of the Yosemite Valley everywhere along the way. This picture was taken in mid-November.
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Yosemite Falls trail is one hard hike

Even though this is one of my favorite trails in Yosemite, the Yosemite Falls hike is no joke. It is about 7 miles (11km) long and it can take from 6 to 8 hours round trip. 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.

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.
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Is it worth hiking Yosemite Falls Trail?

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 make it to the top of Yosemite Falls.

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