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942 Yosemite Waterfalls by smbrady17

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Yosemite National Park is home to some of the biggest and most well-known waterfalls, including Yosemite Falls, Nevada Falls, Sentinel Falls, and more. Discover which have the best hikes for you to enjoy next time you're at the park.

10 locations
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2.1 mi

Snow Creek Falls

Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park

3.5 miles NE of Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park

Snow Creek is one of the more difficult waterfalls to find in the valley, but in the spring and summer months, the elusive waterfall can be seen from the Mirror Lake Trail, a 5 mile loop around Mirror Lake.

The first mile of the Mirror Lake Loop is a flat, straightforward path to Mirror Lake, one of Yosemite's most popular swimming holes. Continuing around the lake, the trail eventually meets the Snow Creek Trail, a separate, strenuous 9 mile hike. It's at this junction that Snow Creek Falls can be spotted.

Snow Creek Falls is 2,140 feet of cascades enveloped in Tenaya Canyon. The entire fall is made up of seven separate drops, the longest being 500 ft. Because of the deep recesses of the rocks it flows over, it is almost tucked away inside the canyon. But if you know where to look, you can find it. 

Mirror Lake Loop is the least strenuous way to access the falls, and you can stop for a swim on your way over. However, if you're looking for something more challenging, Snow Creek Falls can also be seen from the "Diving Board," an obscure rock protrusion at the Half Dome summit.



Backpack, Hike

hike Hiking Trail

backpack Backpacking Trail

Added on 12 Jun 2018
2.5 mi

Chilnualna Falls

Wowana, Yosemite National Park

1.0 miles NE of Wowana, Yosemite National Park

Located near the southern entrance of the valley, Chilnualna Falls is one of the lesser known waterfalls in Yosemite. The hike is about 8 miles round trip and takes you to the upper part of the falls which runs into a few small nature pools. The lower 240 ft are difficult to see from the top, but can be seen at various points throughout the hike. The best view of the entirety of the falls is when you're about a quarter of a mile away, but a switchback leads you back into the forest and away from the water.

Although it's a steady climb up, the hike also takes you through several forests and you can stop at Chilnualna Creek on your way up. Because the trail goes in and out of shady wooded areas, it's not too difficult to keep cool if you go early enough. In the spring, there will often be mist rising from the falls and the creek that help cool you down as well.

Horses are allowed on this trail. There is a fork in the trail towards the beginning of the hike. The left allows horses, and the right is for hikers only. Watch out for rattlesnakes and the ocassional poison oak.


hike Hiking Trail

Added on 5 Jun 2018
0.4-2.1 mi

Illilouette Falls

Yosemite West, Yosemite National Park

2.8 miles SE of Yosemite West, Yosemite National Park

Illilouette Falls Trail is a 4 mile hike down to Illilouette Creek, where there is a footbridge, a great view of Illilouette Falls, and several benches for onlookers to stop, rest, and enjoy a snack. The hike begins at Glacier Point, but it actually starts going downhill, making the return trip the more difficult one of the two.

To get an even better view of the falls, some choose to take the Panorama Trail once reaching the creek. This trail is an extra mile long and leads to a slightly dangerous lookout over Illilouette Falls. The Panorama Trail is peaceful, less traveled, and it's not uncommon for hikers to come across deer on their way to the Falls. The first half of the Panorama Trail also provides views of Half Dome and Nevada and Vernal Falls. After reaching the lookout, you can turn around and make your way back to the car, or you can continue on for another three miles to reach the mist trail.

Like most waterfalls in Yosemite Valley, Illilouette Falls flows all year but is at its peak in the spring and summer months. In the fall and winter months, the falls tend to dry up.