Upper Yosemite Falls Trail

Yosemite National Park, California 95389

Distance2.6mi
Elevation Gain4,846ft
Trailhead Elevation4,016ft
Top6,643ft
Elevation Min/Max4016/6643ft
Elevation Start/End4016/4016ft

Upper Yosemite Falls Trail

Upper Yosemite Falls Trail is a hiking trail in Mariposa County, California. It is within Yosemite National Park. It is 2.6 miles long and begins at 4,016 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 5.7 miles with a total elevation gain of 4,846 feet. The Energy Boulder stone is near the trailhead. The Columbia Rock can be seen along the trail. There are also scrubs and bare rocks along the trail. Near the end of the trail is an information guidepost. This trail connects with the following: Valley Loop Trail.

Upper Yosemite Falls Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Hiking Waterfalls in Northern California (Falcon Guides)
Tracy Salcedo-Chourré
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"Reaching views of Upper Yosemite Fall involves a demanding hike accompanied by outstanding vistas of the Yosemite Valley. One of the park’s premier attractions in spring and early summer, Yosemite Falls features three tiers that drop more than 2,400 feet from rim to valley floor. The upper fall is the tallest at 1,430 feet; the middle cascades are the most difficult to see; and the lower fall, at 320 feet, attracts the hordes. The trail to Upper Yosemite Fall, given its steepness, doesn’t attract quite as many visitors as the trail to the base of the lower fall, but still sees plenty of traffic." Read more
50 Best Short Hikes: Yosemite National Park and Vicinity (Wilderness Press)
Elizabeth Wenk
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"This is an iconic Yosemite Valley walk, climbing alongside the vertical face down which the 1,430-foot Upper Yosemite Fall pours and then peering back down on the stream of water from a well-perched vista. As an added bonus, your views of Yosemite Valley and the Yosemite high country become more expansive and aerial with each step. This trail is accessible early spring through fall, but go in May and June for the most impressive water. Start your hike early in the day to avoid a hot climb." Read more
Top Trails Yosemite (Wilderness Press)
Jeffrey P. Schaffer & Elizabeth Wenk
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"Far above the crowds concentrated at the base of Lower Yosemite Fall (Trail 29), this popular trail gets you to the brink of Upper Yosemite Fall. The hike to this falcon’s aerie leads you up switchbacks beside the plunging falls, providing an ongoing view of your destination. For some, the hike is quite strenuous, and many ascend only to Columbia Rock, which is a worthy goal in itself. An optional extension of Trail 30, to strategically located Eagle Peak, highest of the Three Brothers, provides commanding views both up and down Yosemite Valley. Doing it will increase your round-trip distance from 6.3 to 12.0 miles and your total elevation gain by about 1,500 feet, to 4,900 feet—and of course, you will have to descend the same amount. A somewhat shorter but also rewarding alternative is the 1.9-mile round-trip journey to Yosemite Point. Both trails are shown on the map for the hike." Read more

Upper Yosemite Falls Trail Reviews

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6/15/2018
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6/4/2008
The switchbacks were brutal but at any point to stop and rest the views to absorb are magnificent. Be prepared to take a lot of pictures. Once at the top there's ample areas to lay back and relax, enjoying the rest and the scenery. Make sure you bring a good jacket or sweat shirt because the wind is blustery and cold at the top. Also it is worth the extra 1.2 mile hike to go to Eagle Peak. The total hike is rewarding and worth it.
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1/29/2008
Extraordinary hike to the top of the fall ... but after enjoying that, go the extra mile to Yosemite Point, as well, where there are even fewer people. Or, if you don't want to do that, at least go as far as the wooden bridge (not far) over Yosemite Creek. Especially in the heat (mid-May 2007), this was a somewhat exhilarating hike with a few splendid views of the falls on the way up (trailhead is at Camp 4). A sign on the trail said just getting to Columbia Rock counts for 60 switchbacks, and that's just the start. Took me three hours to the top, although my younger (40s) hiking companions got there well ahead of me. Even if you don't use a hiking staff, here you might want one when you descend (trail is very rocky). Oh, and not everyone who gets to the top of the fall actually goes out on the ledge to see it; the half-mile drop to Yosemite Valley is breathtaking.
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This hike is Striaght up and Down. Very difficult when it is 90+ degrees outside. Spectacular Views at the top though.
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6/9/2006
A SUPERB hike, but it is NOT easy to moderate. Whoever wrote that has not hiked this trail! It consists of over one hundred switchbacks, which start from the get-go. The hike is almost straight up the entire time. After about one mile, there is a great outlook called Columbia Rock. It has a nice railing and is a nice place to take a breather...you'll need one! My 5-year old made it here, so it can be done with kids (just make sure they are ready for a tough little hike for their legs!). After Columbia Rock, you hit "the sand"...which is exactly what it sounds like through a series of about 20 switchbacks. Then, you hit most of the exposed portion of the hike the rest of the way up. However, the rewards are WELL WORTH the effort! The views of both upper and lower Yosemite Falls along the way are out of this world, and a snow cone forms under the falls in the winter. The views of the valley for the first mile are outstanding as well. After the strenuous hike to the top, the view and feeling standing next to the top of Yosemite Falls is priceless. The feeling of the water barreling over the side is breathtaking, especially in the spring, when the whole mountain shakes near it. At the top, there is an old rickety railing attached to the sides of the mountain leading you down a very narrow staircase to a great overlook perched right at the lip of the falls. The views from here are out of this world. It is truly worth every mile! if you're ready for a tough 7+ miler, this is the hike for you. Bring PLENTY of water, as even in the spring there aren't many places to tank up (with a filter) past the halfway point. Lace 'em up and enjoy the hike! Hikin' Daddy
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Trail Information

Yosemite National Park
Nearby City
Yosemite National Park
Parks
Moderate
Skill Level
Camping
Additional Use
Waterfalls, Views, Wildflowers
Features
Yosemite National Park
Local Contacts
Tom Harrison Yosemite Valley map (1:24,000 scale), the National Geographic Trails Illustrated #306 Yosemite SW map (1:40,000 scale), and the USGS Yosemite Valley map (1:24,000 scale).
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018