Upper Yosemite Falls Trail

HARD
#5 of 130 trails in Yosemite National Park
Upper Yosemite Falls Trail is a 5.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Yosemite National Park, CA that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

5.8 miles 3159 feet Out & Back
birding camping hiking nature trips trail running walking forest river views waterfall wild flowers wildlife rocky no dogs
Hide Map

Directions from Arch Rock Entrance: Follow Highway 140 into the Yosemite Valley. Six and a half miles from the entrance station the road splits. Take the right fork, which becomes Southside Drive, to the Yosemite Lodge parking area. The trail begins from the western side of the lot behind the lodge.

Peter E.
2 days ago

It was a workout but most excellent - even snowed at the top!

Michael Dealy
2 days ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

breathtaking, in multiple ways

Raisa K.
7 days ago

Raisa K.
7 days ago

Katia Montalvo
10 days ago

2 Completed3 Reviews

Breathtaking!! Every step is totally worth it! The best Hike ever!!

Vladlen Kogan
14 days ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

I recommend starting this trail early and longing to Yosemite Point using the Upper Yosemite Falls trail. The view at Yosemite Point is the best view I've yet to see in this park!

Derek Celedon
20 days ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

A few friends and I hiked this trail 04-23-16 and it was a blast. A good workout with beautiful scenery well worth the effort.

Brendan Hampson
23 days ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

Wow. Challenging, but gorgeous! Our first trip to Yosemite Valley, and we wanted to do a long difficult hike with great views of the valley and waterfalls. This trail proved to be every bit of that and then some. You could turn back halfway after getting great up close shots of the bottom of the falls, or you can push a little harder and make the trek to the top for amazing views of the valley below. Either way you will not be disappointed. There were a lot of people on the trail, but it was to be expected. If it's seclusion you are looking for, The Valley probably isn't where you want to be anyway. As many have already said, bring plenty of water and wear sturdy shoes. The trail is well maintained, but it is steep and rocky and (at least when I went in April) you'll encounter a little bit of water. Nothing too difficult to walk through, but I wouldn't want to have to make the hike down with soggy feet. On that note, yes, your feet and knees will be aching on the way down, but it just makes that celebratory beer and shower all that much sweeter after accomplishing this one. If this is the only trail I ever get to hike in Yosemite, I consider it to be the right choice.

jesus pasallo
25 days ago

31 Completed3 Reviews

it was a challenging trail but there is a great view of the valley from where the upper waterfall starts.

Jen Llamas
28 days ago

9 Completed7 Reviews

This hike was one of the greatest hikes at Yosemite! I absolutely loved it. It was very difficult, the switchbacks seemed as if it were never going to end. It was awesome, the views were perfect. The only complaint was how wet me feet got throughout the entire trail. It was so uncomfortable but it really was worth it. Every step is difficult but it was a great experience. The trail was crowded but that was pretty expected. Made up in 3 hours and 15 mins some of the guys we were with got up there in less than two hours. It was awesome. I wish we had a better view of the waterfall but it was still worth it in every way.

Adam Logan
29 days ago

5 Completed4 Reviews

I highly recommend going until you get to Yosemite Point. It is totally worth it Crossing the bridge with the river running beneath it was eye opening, the power and current of that river is so visceral. It's amazing how misty and spread out it gets once it goes over the edge.

There was some snow up towards the top, I did ok in my sandals but those in the know were packing snow traction systems for their boots. It wasn't needed when I went up, but yeah, just saying.

I made it up to the top just as dusk set in. Absolutely lovely, with a great view of Half Dome.

Going back down at night was so different from going up during the day. Areas that were wet going up seemed to triple in size in the night. The wind can carry the mist from the falls quite far, at one point I wasn't sure if it was raining or if it was a mountain cloud cover or all of the above (pun). I was so grateful to be hiking in Uinta sandals by Unshoes and a quality Patagonia wind jacket, as I got wet repeatedly but dried out very quickly.

It was very slow going for me as the path very often is a jumble of large stones so I had to be careful about foot placement, and not just because I was wearing sandals. Everyone should be careful with their foot placement on this trail, otherwise you could easily roll your ankle or hurt yourself somehow.

I could see well as it was practically a full moon, but in some places and especially as I got lower with tree cover I needed my headlamp, red led is the way to go to maintain night vision. The moon glow was absolutely gorgeous out there with the wall and the falls.

As I was coming down I saw several large boulders sitting in the middle of the path that I did not remember seeing on the way up. Not sure if it's perspective/exhaustion/memory or if it actually happened but it was kinda spooky. One thing is for sure though, rocks and trees do fall down on the trail.

Anyways, it was totally worth it in my mind. Be careful with your foot placement though.

Taylor Donaghy
1 month ago

15 Completed15 Reviews

Uphill the entire time but very worth it! Once you pass the bottom of the falls the path becomes wet and steep stone steps. Make sure you're not scared of heights but the top is extremely worth it!

Sarah Acosta
1 month ago

23 Completed25 Reviews

AMAZING! Every step was hard, but totally worth it when I made it to the top. The trail starts out with numerous switchbacks and to be honest those never really end. Once you pass the base of the upper falls, the trail gets steeper and the steps become uneven granite. There's numerous springs that flood the trail too so watch your step because it can get slippery. This trail is really crowded, so it's hard to keep momentum while going up. We took a ton of breaks and photo ops so overall the hike to the top took about five hours and the way down about an hour. Once you get to the top continue on to the look out, it's worth it!!!! I loved this hike, but it is certainly strenuous

Jenna Herzog
1 month ago

3 Completed3 Reviews

Sustained uphill hiking almost the entire way to the falls, but well worth it. Gorgeous views of Half Dome in the middle section of the hike.

Once you make it to the top, there's plenty of space to stretch out, explore, and check out different views of this incredible waterfall. You could easily spend an hour or more at the top enjoying the views and the relaxation (this turned out to be my favorite park of the hike!).

Very, very crowded in my experience. You'll see the highest concentration of all kinds of people in the first 2 miles, which is where I imagine many inexperienced hikers turn around and call it a day. Worth it to deal with the crowds!

Rick Payne
1 month ago

14 Completed8 Reviews

Everything I expected! Excellent panoramas of the valley, exceptional grandeur, and a genuine sense of accomplishment for completing it in a reasonable answer unit of time.

Lonnie Saechao
1 month ago

7 Completed13 Reviews

Amazing!!! Countless numbers of switchbacks, stone steps, and elevation gain that makes you rethink or make you wonder why you're hiking to upper falls. But once you reach the top........ Breathtaking views of Yosemite valley, will make all you're doubts and mental cursing go away.

Steve Murillo
1 month ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

Stren-u-ous!!!
first mile is layered with steep switch backs. next mile evens out a little bit. Still some switch backs though. Amazing photo perfect moments and vistas.
(This next part is important!)
after these vistas and photo stops on the 2nd mile, you may literally stop and contemplate whether you should keep moving or not. the answer is yes my friend, you have to keep going. That prize is sitting at the end waiting for each of you.
just make sure and bring plenty of water and maybe even pack lunch or snacks.

Torsten H.
1 month ago

wet

christina monreal
1 month ago

3 Completed2 Reviews

great day hike !! took around 4 hours & was challenging at times but well worth it :)

Stephen Randi
1 month ago

8 Completed10 Reviews