falls, Hiking, outdoors, sierra nevada, switchbacks, upper, waterfall, Yosemite
This past weekend my wife and I packed our bags and headed to Yosemite. Since it was our first time going we had no idea what to expect or what trails to hike. We had recently seen an episode of Motion and decided that climbing to the top of the falls would be a great day hike and a good way to see Yosemite Valley from above.
The trailhead for this hike is located at the Camp 4 parking lot. At first glance one would see this sign and think 3.5 miles is a piece of cake, well, this hike is far from that! This 3.5 mile hike on the Yosemite Falls Trail consists of 60 switchbacks and over 2,500 ft of elevation gain. This hike was not easy! I’ve done some pretty tough hikes that were well over 15 miles and this hike was right up there with them in the difficulty level.
The beginning of the hike is rather easy. (in comparison to the last part) The trail starts to switchback out of the campsite. You will be hiking under the tree canopy for a good portion of this beginning section of this trail.
After about a mile and 20 switchbacks later the trail levels off for a little bit and you will come upon a lookout point named Columbia Rock. This is great place to take some pictures and enjoy the views.
From here the trail starts descending a few hundred feet and soon you will have your first look at Upper Yosemite Falls
By this time you will be in such amazement and might even think to yourself that this hike isn’t too bad.. well at this point id say you are about 2/3 of the way to the top.. but the last part is the hard part.. the last 40 switch backs are tough but if you’ve come this far there is no way you are turning back.
Don’t let the massive cliff walls intimidate you as the final push is only about a mile long.
Once you reach the top you will have to drop down some steps along the cliff side HOLD ON, be careful and enjoy the sights ans sounds!
The effort will be well worth it as the views from the top of the 2,425 ft waterfall are unbelievable!
We averaged around 1 mile an hour and and made it to the top in 3 hrs 20 min. This included a 15 minute break and tons of stops for pictures. The trail takes you straight to the top where you will hit a junction for Eagle Peak trail(left) and Yosemite Falls (Right)
- 3.5 miles (7 miles roundtrip)
- 2,500+ ft elevation gain
- 3-4 hours to reach the top
- difficulty – strenuous
- trekking poles recommended
- amazing views
I need to return to Yosemite for a backpacking or hiking, it’s been too long.
Alex G said:
I saw a few backpackers making their way up to the top. i have never been backpacking but i imaging Yosemite would be a great place to do so seeing as there is a large amount of water available.
This was my first time in Yosemite cant wait to return!
I started hiking again in January 2011 as well. You’re account of this hike made me add it to my to do list.
Alex G said:
First off, thanks for reading my blog, and second.. It’s definitely a must do hike !