If you are looking for a quieter, less-crowded Yosemite hike that provides spectacular waterfalls, granite rocks and views, Hetch Hetchy may be your Nirvana. 

Hetch Hetchy has a completely different character than other areas of Yosemite National Park, and the hike to Wapama Falls is an excellent way to explore this relatively remote section of the park. You can only imagine what this valley looked liked before it was dammed and is second to none compared to Yosemite Valley. 

The hike is relatively easy as the trail wanders around the northern shore of the reservoir. There are nice views throughout the trail - especially Kolana Rock, which is seen from a variety of angles along the way. If you hit the trail in spring you might witness Tueeulala Falls, similar to Bridalveil Fall in beauty. Be aware there are a couple of fairly strenuous segments, including the rocky descent just before reaching Wapama Falls.

Wapama Falls, when raging (usually May and June), is a large waterfall with a lot of volume that splits off into different cascades. If you've never taken a shower with your clothes on, cross the bridges below the falls, and you'll never have to wonder about that particular experience again. 

Pack List

  • Plenty of water
  • Sunscreen
  • Good hiking boots.
  • Mosquitoes repellent 
  • Be aware of bears that frequent that area
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RT Distance 5.5 Miles
Elevation Gain 200 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
Lake
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Backpack to Lake Vernon in Yosemite National Park

Getting There: This hike is in the Hetch Hetchy area of Yosemite National Park. Please note that the gate actually closes here, so you must enter (and leave) the Hetch Hetchy during open hours.

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Camp at Hetch Hetchy Backpacker's Campground

This campsite is a gateway into the Yosmite wilderness. Great starting/ending point for backpacking trips or simply for camping. Self-register and pay when you arrive at the site.

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Camp at Cherry Valley Campground

Cherry Valley Campground is typically open from May - September, weather dependent. The fee is $22 for a single family site and $44 for a double family site. The campground provides vault toilets.

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