You can’t visit Yosemite National Park and not experience the awesome hiking trails that it offers. That would be like going to the beach and not getting in the water! As our trip was winding down we really wanted to venture out on the trail one last time and take in some of the beautiful scenery. There are so many trails to choose from, but the allure of hiking up Yosemite Falls – the highest measured waterfall at 2,425 feet tall in North America – was too hard to pass up.
Although the trail was steep in spots, it made for a nice hike with a combination of packed dirt, sand, and rocky switchbacks. It isn’t as difficult as Half Dome, but it will give you a good workout. Be warned, however, there is no place to stop for water on the way up!
About one mile into the hike is a nice vista point at Columbia Rock. The waterfall isn’t visible at this spot, but you get great views of the valley.
About half a mile from Columbia Rock (about 1.5 miles from the trailhead) is when you get your first glimpse of Upper Yosemite Fall…assuming it isn’t dried up that day. Luckily for us it was moderately flowing due to some heavy rain a couple days before (it was dry the first day we were in Yosemite).
All in all, I would completely recommend this hike – especially if you only have 3-4 hours available. You will get great views of the valley, Upper Yosemite Fall, and Half Dome. Even if the Falls are dried up you will still get spectacular views of everything else! If you want to see the Falls, but don’t want a tough hike then there is a much easier hike to Lower Yosemite Fall. The Jessetters skipped that though because, according to legend of the native Ahwahneechee people (and Wikipedia), the plunge pool at the base of the waterfall is haunted by witches…and we didn’t have time.
Oh, and be on the lookout for wildlife!