Yosemite National Park
The Upper and Lower Falls

The Yosemite National Park Upper and Lower Falls are quintessential Yosemite and located in Northern California. In addition to Half Dome, Mirror Lake, and the Valley Floor Loop, a hike to the Upper or Lower Falls should be top on your list of things to do and see during any trip you make to Yosemite in California.



Upper Yosemite Fall

Yosemite National Park Upper Falls is North America's tallest waterfall at 2425 feet above the valley floor. We did not venture up to the Yosemite National Park Upper Falls, but we did enjoy spectacular views of it from the Yosemite Valley Floor during our time visiting the park and on our day of bike riding through the valley.


If you do think you want to hike there, plan six to eight hours to do this since it is a little over seven miles. The hike to the Upper Falls can be quite strenuous since you'll be hiking to an elevation of 2700 feet. This is Yosemite's oldest historic trail and was built between 1873 to 1877.

You'll start your hike at the Yosemite Falls Trailhead at Camp #4 which is easy to get to on the park shuttle service and you'll get off at stop #7. Do not stray off the marked path because you will find very steep drops next to the trail. Make a point for photo ops at Columbia Rock, located one mile from the trailhead since that's where you'll see many amazing views of the Yosemite National Park located in Northern California.

Lower Yosemite Fall

It is an easy hike to get to the Yosemite National Park Lower Falls. You start at the Lower Yosemite Fall Trailhead. You can rent a bike and ride it here or you can take the park shuttle and get off at stop #6.You will have to park your bike and walk from here but it's just one short mile and you'll be enjoying spectacular views of the Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls along the way.


To get a perspective on how tall the lower falls is, just look at the size of the people in the lower left hand corner of the photo above and you can see this is a very tall waterfall.

The lower waterfall is often dry from late July or August through October, but that was not the case when we visited in July 2011 due to a high snowfall that year that was still melting off during our visit. You can expect to get sprayed in the spring and early summer and we saw lots of visitors enjoying this experience. You can download hiking maps at the Yosemite National Park website .

I've lived in California now for over twenty years and if you're planning to visit, make a point to plan a few days and drive up to Yosemite National Park while you're here. Check out the right hand column for more on fun things to see and do in Yosemite.

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Marianne Schwab
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