Swinging Bridge Trail
The Swinging Bridge Trail is an epic adventure that makes for a great family-friendly outing. Though the swinging bridge has been secured and lacks the notorious bounce, this trek remains a revered nature walk in Yosemite National Park.
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Route Description for Swinging Bridge Trail
The Swinging Bridge Trail is an excellent choice for your next adventure in Yosemite. Open year-round, this hike is prime in the summer when the terrain is easily manageable and the waters have calmed. If you are hoping to enjoy the sights of the Merced River surging, then a spring walk is ideal, but swimming at this time is out of the question, as the fast flow of the river in the early summer generates an extremely dangerous current. Additionally, the spray from the rushing water can make the wood bridge slippery. Though best in the summer months, the scenic route is often busy, so we suggest heading out early to beat the crowds and secure a spot in the small parking lot. Note: the park charges an entrance fee, so check out the NPS website for more information.
There is no question as to why this route is a crowd favorite. Short, sweet, and incredibly scenic, the Swinging Bridge Trail makes for an awesome family outing. Head out in the summer for the best experience, when you can revel in the verdant pines that tower above and frame the waters of the South Fork Merced River. When the river is calm there is an inviting swimming hole just below the famous bridge that is perfect for cooling off on a hot summer’s day. You can easily spend the whole day here reveling in the beauty of the wilderness, swimming in the crystal-clear waters, and sunbathing on the granite slabs that line the river, just make sure to bring sun protection! We love this stunning nature walk, and we know you will too.
Setting out from the trailhead off Chilnualna Falls Road, your exciting hike along the Swinging Bridge Trail tracks east through lush mixed pine forests. Enjoy the sweet smell and shade of the towering pines as you wander along the path adorned with granite outcrops. Eventually, the sounds of the gurgling waters will increase, signalling that you are nearing the bridge. Soon the route will open and you will reach the famous swinging bridge that now lacks the swing, but maintains the novelty. Cross the bridge over the South Fork Merced River and revel in the scene of the water pouring over smooth granite rocks. If you have your suit – and the time of year is appropriate – hop in for a swim. When you are ready to head back, simply retrace your footing along the path back to the trailhead.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get to the Swinging Bridge in Wawona?
Access to the Swinging Bridge is off Chilnualna Falls Road in Wawona, at the south end of Yosemite National Park.
Can you swim at the Swinging Bridge?
Yes, in the summer there is an inviting pool below the bridge on the Merced River that hikers can enjoy when the water is calm.
Insider Hints for Swinging Bridge Trail
- In the summer, when the water is calm, cool off in the pool below the bridge
- Pack lunch and have a picnic overlooking the Merced River
- If you wish to extend your hike, travel further east along the river up to the Gralie Grotto Swimming Hole
- When the waters surge in the spring, swimming is incredibly dangerous
- Sometimes the bridge is slick after rainfall and in the winter months-exercise caution
- Parking at the trailhead is limited, so arrive early to secure a spot
Getting to the Swinging Bridge Trail Trailhead
The Swinging Bridge Trailhead is located off Chilnualna Falls Road in Wawona.
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