Hike to the Top of Chilnualna Falls

Yosemite National Park, California

4.3/5
based on 3 reviews

Details

Distance

9.2 miles

Elevation Gain

2300 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Description

Added by Josh Currie

A lesser traveled hike in Yosemite, Chilnualna Falls is an awesome day hike with beautiful views once you reach the summit. 

Many visitors to Yosemite head straight to the valley and don't often explore the other areas of the park. So if you are interested in staying away from the massive crowds and getting to enjoy the beauty of the park a little more quietly, the Wawona is a great option for a getaway. 

The Chilnualna Falls hike is about 4.5 miles each way and you gain approximately 2,300 feet of elevation. So though it is not the steepest waterfall hike in Yosemite, it isn't the easiest either.  I would definitely bring a decent amount of water and either a snack or lunch to enjoy at the top. 

The hike is tree-covered the majority of the way so there is decent shade but you pop out at times to breathtaking views of the surrounding valley and mountains. The trail also follows along the river where there are many opportunities to hop off the trail and venture down to the water to hang out. 

Once you get to the top there is a lot of open space to hang out, cool off in the water, and enjoy the view! 

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Features

Fitness
Chillin
Photography
Hiking
Family Friendly
Forest
Picnic Area
River
Romantic
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildlife

Reviews

This was an amazing backpacking trip - great for beginners and experienced backpackers! Fresh water, amazing rainbows, lots of wildlife (bear, marmot, deer, rattlesnake). Got walk-up permits for free the morning of.

I've done this hike two years in a row in late February and the trips were very different. In 2016 I made it all the way to the top without any issues. It was cool outside, sun was out, there was a little bit of wind but more noticeably, no snow. In 2017 I did it again and I couldn't make it to the top. I was breaking new snow for about half a mile before I had to turn around. The wind was more predominant and it was significantly colder. Both years the trip has been beautiful, and challenging at times with the elevation gain. Overall it's a solid hike with gorgeous views.

Easy hike, great camp site, nice water, good views.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Nearby

Buena Vista Lake via Chilnualna Falls Trailhead

Backpack to Johnson Lake

Backpack to Crescent Lake

Hike to the Wawona Swinging Bridge

Camp at Wawona in Yosemite National Park

Hike through Mariposa Grove to Wawona Point