Lower Yosemite Falls Trail

Difficulty
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Very Easy
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
0.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
1.9 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
18 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

Hiking the Lower Yosemite Falls Trail is a truly breathtaking experience. Featuring the tallest waterfall in Yosemite National Park, this adventure reveals awe-inspiring sights of the fall’s third installment, which cascades over 320 ft into Yosemite Valley. This adventure is sure to amaze all of its explorers.

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Route Description for Lower Yosemite Falls Trail

Visit the Yosemite National Park’s tallest waterfall along the Lower Yosemite Falls Hike. This epic adventure is ideal for families, novice hikers, and those seeking a quick look at the epic waterfall. The accessibility and beauty of this route attract adventurers from all over the world, so you will have to share the path with like-minded adventurers that are also eager to catch a peek of the cascades. If you are hoping for a more secluded adventure, head out early when the atmosphere is more relaxed. Because the cascades are fed by snowmelt, they surge in the spring/early summer and dry up by late June, so make sure to schedule your hike accordingly. Note: Yosemite National Park charges an entrance fee, refer to the NPS website for more information.

The Lower Yosemite Falls Trail is a wonderful way to experience an amazing waterfall that surges over the granite walls of the Yosemite Valley. This wonderful adventure can be enjoyed by hikers of all skill levels and ages. Admire a quintessential landmark of the Yosemite National Park from the base, overlooking the lower cascade. The limited elevation gains and paved path enable the eastern section of the route to be enjoyed by those with wheelchairs and strollers. With a deafening surge of water in the spring, you will likely get cooled off by the spray of the alpine waters from the footbridge at the base of the falls. This easy-going trek is a must when visiting Yosemite National Park.

Whether you found the Lower Yosemite Falls Trail on a spontaneous detour or planned this epic adventure, you will be astonished by the sights of the looming falls when you finally see them in person. Though the pictures of the Yosemite Falls are breathtaking, they don’t even come close to doing the real thing justice. Heading out from the Lower Yosemite Fall Trailhead off Northside Drive, keep right at the first intersection. After passing the picnic area, you will be guided east over two branches of Yosemite Creek, where you will enjoy interrupted views of the falls above.

Soon, the path will redirect hikers north through mixed forests of deciduous and coniferous trees. Here, you will also pass by a trail that branches off to a lookout and offers views of a tree-lined corridor framing the falls. Reconnect with the main trail after reveling in the vista and continue to trek counterclockwise. The route will then curve west, nearing the base of Yosemite Falls. As you wander over the wood bridge, you will likely be sprayed by the cool mist of the cascades. Take some time to admire the grandeur of the looming cliffs and the rushing waterfall, but be sure to stay on the marked path, as diverting off the trail is dangerous. Follow the Lower Yosemite Trail south, passing several more overlooks of the cascades before returning to the trailhead to mark the end of your adventure.

Trail Highlights

Lower Yosemite Falls

Lower Yosemite Falls is the 3rd installment of the Yosemite Falls that cascade into Yosemite Valley. Though the waters that pool at the base appear inviting, they can also be extremely dangerous. Revel in the beauty and grandeur of the falls that cascade over 320 ft, and take in the captivating views of the water surging over the granite cliffs. With an overall drop of 2,425 ft between the different levels of the falls, it is no wonder that they have earned the title of the tallest waterfall in the Yosemite National Park, and the second tallest waterfall in the United States. A tributary of the Merced River, the flowage usually ceases in the summer and early fall, but be forewarned, a sudden downpour can easily reignite the cascade.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the Lower Yosemite Falls Trail?

The Yosemite Falls Trail is a 1.9 km out-and-back hike in the Yosemite Valley.

Do the Lower Yosemite Falls dry out?

Yes, the Lower Yosemite Falls tend to dry up in late June until October.

Insider Hints for Lower Yosemite Falls Trail

  • Be sure to charge your camera, the scene from the overlook is jaw-dropping.
  • Stay on the marked path, the rocks at the base of the falls are slippery and dangerous!
  • There will likely be overly friendly deer along the path, but please do not feed the wildlife.
  • Head out in the early morning to try and beat the invadable crowds.

Getting to the Lower Yosemite Falls Trail Trailhead

The Lower Yosemite Falls Trail departs from the Lower Yosemite Fall Trailhead off Northside Drive.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    No

  • When to do

    Year-round

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    Yes

  • Route Signage

    Good

  • Crowd Levels

    Extreme

  • Route Type

    Lollipop

Lower Yosemite Falls Trail Elevation Graph

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