Chilnualna Falls Trail

Yosemite National Park, California 95389

Elevation Gain3,731ft
Trailhead Elevation4,211ft
Elevation Min/Max4211/6441ft
Elevation Start/End4211/4211ft

Chilnualna Falls Trail

Chilnualna Falls Trail is a hiking and horse trail in Mariposa County, California. It is within Yosemite National Park. It is 3.9 miles long and begins at 4,211 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 8.1 miles with a total elevation gain of 3,731 feet. Near the trailhead there are an information board, restrooms, and parking. Lower Chilnualna Fall viewpoint, Chilnualna Fall viewpoint, Chilnualna Fall viewpoint, and another viewpoint and the Lower Chilnualna Fall waterfall can be seen along the trail. The trail ends near the Chilnualna Creek Cascades viewpoint. This trail connects with the following: Chilnualna Falls Stock Trail.

Chilnualna Falls Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"Of Yosemite’s highest waterfalls, Chilnualna is the most reclusive, showing itself only to hikers willing to toil up a trail too homely and switchbacked ever to be called a crowd-pleaser. The Chilnualna Trail offers many pleasures of a more subtle hue, not the least of which might be solitude. To tackle it on a hot summer’s afternoon takes a bit of fortitude and a couple quarts of water, but the trail makes an invigorating muscle-stretcher in spring or fall, when high-country routes are under snow."

"Chilnualna Creek seldom flows quietly—it rushes and crashes and roars almost constantly for most of its length. One of the most spectacular sections of falling water is just above the point where Chilnualna Creek passes beneath Chilnualna Road and flows into the Merced River.

It is as exciting as any of the more famous falls in Yosemite Valley, but few people see it, tucked away as it is in this little corner of the park. This trail takes you so close to the action that you’re likely to get soaked from the spray if you go early in the year."

"Chilnualna Creek seldom flows slowly, but instead tumbles in cascades and waterfalls almost constantly for most of its length. The most spectacular sections and highest waterfalls are found at the beginning and end of the hike, and the trail has been built so that it comes closest to the river at the beginning and end. It's a steady, uphill pull, but the grade is comfortable. This route would be much more heavily used if it were not tucked away in a little corner of Yosemite. The waterfall is as exciting as any in Yosemite Valley, but few tourists know about it."

"A short, easy hike leads to the bottommost plunge of Chilnualna Fall outside Wawona.

This is the easy way out: A nearly fl at walk of less than a mile leads to what could be called the tail end of Chilnualna Fall, the last plunge on Chilnualna Creek before it cascades into the South Fork Merced River. It’s a pleasant lowland Yosemite excursion, nice for an afternoon stroll after a visit to the Mariposa Grove.

Chilnualna Fall, composed of five cascades along more than 4 miles of Chilnualna Creek, flows year-round, though in late season (or drought) the watercourse and waterfall thin to streams. This may not be what waterfall lovers crave, but even when the water slows up, the last plunge of the long fall fills a lovely, shaded pool suitable for wading and toe-dangling."

Chilnualna Falls Trail Reviews

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Great short and strenuous hike, Definitely a day hike that we turned into an overnight hike, just to camp at the top of the waterfall. Very cold in May!
Major problems: trouble finding a parking spot (you can use free shuttle), crowds in the lower part of the grove (ususlly ends by the Giant Grizzly tree), noisy tram tour (loops along the trail in some parts). Otherwise a very pleasant and mildly moderate hike to see the giants.

Chilnualna Falls Trail Photos

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Trail Information

Yosemite National Park
Nearby City
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park, Public Information Office, PO Box 577, Yosemite, CA 95389; (209) 372-0200 (dial ext. 3, then 5);
Local Contacts
USGS Wawona CA; park map available online and at park entrances
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018