Rancheria Falls Trail

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Moderate
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.
6-8h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
20.3 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.
798 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

The Rancheria Falls Trail is a must-add to your Yosemite hiking itinerary. Wander over the O’Shaughnessy Dam, through an eerie tunnel, and past not one, but four incredible cascades in Hetch Hetchy Valley. We love this trek, and we know you will too!

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Route Description for Rancheria Falls Trail

Hiking the Rancheria Falls Trail is an exciting adventure. Wander through the diverse landscape as you make your way along the banks of the Tuolumne River that is bounded by impressive granite bluffs. As this trek travels over various terrain types, a sturdy pair of footwear is a must! Additionally, we encourage you to wear layers, as the path weaves between exposed and shaded sections. Note: the footbridges beneath Wapama Falls are known to get inundated by surging waters in the spring. Do not proceed if this is the case, as attempting to pass through the cascades has proven extremely dangerous in the past. Yosemite National Park also charges an entrance fee, so be sure to check out the NPS website for additional information.

Setting out from the trailhead at O’Shaughnessy Dam, track north along the path and over the dam that bounds Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. Revel in the views of the shimmering waters flanked by granite walls and continue north through the tunnel—watch out for puddles! The path will redirect northeast to guide you along the banks of Tuolumne River, where you will pass the Tueeulala Falls. Soon, you will reach the famous Wapama Falls, where you will need to mind your footing on the slippery footbridges, taking care only to pass if the waters are not inundating the bridges. Admire the grandeur of the fall before continuing your trek.

Passing beneath Hetch Hetchy Dome, you will be rewarded with views of Kolana Rock. Eventually, you will pass over a small metal bridge to take in the sights of Tiltill Creek Cascades above. Follow the path southeast up to the Rancheria Falls Campsite and Rancheria Falls. Appreciate the scenery and, when you are ready, head back the way you came.

Getting to the Rancheria Falls Trail Trailhead

The Rancheria Falls Hike departs from the O’Shaughnessy Dam and Trailhead off Hetch Hetchy Road.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    Backcountry Camping, Wilderness Permit Required.

  • When to do

    March-October

  • Pets allowed

    No

  • Family friendly

    No

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    High

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Rancheria Falls Trail Elevation Graph

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