Upper Yosemite Falls Trail

HARD
#6 of 139 trails in Yosemite National Park
true
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 rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

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

jesus pasallo
1 day ago

29 Completed0 Reviews

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

Jen Llamas
4 days ago

9 Completed6 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
5 days ago

4 Completed1 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.

Sarah Acosta
11 days ago

21 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

Lonnie Saechao
15 days ago

7 Completed8 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
18 days ago

1 Completed0 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.
20 days ago

wet

Stephen Randi
1 month ago

7 Completed0 Reviews

Indian Hiker
2 months ago

10 Completed1 Reviews

completed

Mircea Strava
5 months ago

15 Completed2 Reviews

marichelle bustamante
6 months ago

3 Completed2 Reviews

This was my very first hike and I have no idea what i got into. Overall I have no regrets, this place is simply amazing and rewarding, I completed this hike for 8 hours round trip with no training.

Derrick Van
7 months ago

8 Completed9 Reviews

Very steep and steady up with a slippery down. Views are worth it.I'd recommend 2 liters of water for the average person in the late summer time. Great hike!

Derrick Van
7 months ago

8 Completed9 Reviews

Very steep and steady up with a slippery down. Views are worth it.I'd recommend 2 liters of water for the average person in the late summer time. Great hike!

Adrian Villarroel
8 months ago

17 Completed6 Reviews

Rachel Pearson
9 months ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

My husband and I were just in Yosemite last week for our anniversary trip. On Saturday, we ran a 10K; Sunday morning, we made the 5.5 hour drive up to Yosemite from L.A.; Monday, we hiked up to Taft Point; and Tuesday, we did Upper Yosemite Falls. Our legs were pretty tired going into it, but we made it to the top in about 3 hours. The "trail" is nothing more than a cluster of big rocks in some places, so be ready to climb. Bring a LOT of water with you, and be sure to wear sunblock!!! I didn't wear any and I burned pretty bad on my neck/shoulder. This hike LOOKS daunting, but it's nothing you can't handle if you're in even reasonably good health. Take your time. You're not racing anyone. There are plenty of places to stop, but nowhere to sprawl out. My husband and I found shade under a bush and snacked on some grapes for a couple of minutes about 3/4 of the way up. Please remember to give the "right of way" to hikers who are coming down, as it is more difficult for them to stop and it can be difficult on the knees. It's a great excuse to take a quick rest if you're headed up, and it shows respect for your fellow hikers.
On the way back down, we scrambled down some rocks that looked like a scene straight out of LOTR. It was sketchy. We ended up at the bottom of Upper Yosemite Falls. That view is out of this world!! If you're adventurous (and careful!), do yourself the favor and GO! It's terrifyingly beautiful!!

brian simpkins
9 months ago

13 Completed13 Reviews

one of my favorite hikes, about 7 miles total....started at the infamous camp 4 and worked my way up of a serious of switchbacks until i got to columbia rock then climbed a little higher then the trail got flat for a while until i started going down. when i started to go down i was like wow have to go down to go back up lol. once i got down to the point where u start going back up middle of the canyon where it is so exposed the views get better until u start going up the actual switchbacks in the canyon where u cant see the falls again until u get to the overlook at the top. started early was beautiful up there at the top and enjoyed this hike very much.

Molly Mcgowan
9 months ago

4 Completed4 Reviews

Kylie Russell
9 months ago

81 Completed10 Reviews

Awesome hike! Start early and take plenty of water, you will be working hard to get up it. Most reviews I found said it took 6-10 hours to hike. I was able to do the hike in 3.5 hours and hang out up top for about 30 minutes. So if you are a fairly good hiker you will still have time in your day to do other hikes.

David Onorato
9 months ago

6 Completed1 Reviews

Josh Cheung
10 months ago

2 Completed2 Reviews

Although the path zig zags to compensate for the steep elevation, it's still a steep and rocky climb so bring at least a few bottles of water. We went in August during dry season, where the falls dries up and you can walk close to the ledge and see some interesting pools. There are great wide views of the park at the peak so it was very rewarding. You'll notice your calves get more toned within a few days of this hike.