Lower Yosemite Fall - Hiking California

 

Lower Yosemite Fall is part of a spectacular waterfall in Yosemite National Park, California, USA.

 

 

From westerly, one-way Northside Drive in Yosemite Valley, the trails to Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls are clearly signed.

Several options access a litany of crowded and touristy trails which include many bridges over multiple tributaries feeding Yosemite Creek which in turn empties into the magnificent Merced River.

 

Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls - Yosemite National Park, California, USA

 

The short, easy and busy one mile (1.6 KM) loop hike, clockwise from Stop 7 on the shuttle route, leads past the base of Lower Yosemite Fall.

Along the wide, busy, wheel chair accessible, paved path there are brass monuments and interpretive plaques explaining the geology, ecology and impressive history of Yosemite Valley.

 

Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls - Yosemite National Park, California, USA

 

Near the beginning of the path there are limited but impressive views of the Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls as the loop trail weaves its way through mature groves of aromatic pine and cedar.

 

Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls - Yosemite National Park, California, USA

 

From top to bottom Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls cascade 2,425 feet (739 m) in three large tiers.

Lower Yosemite Falls tumbles 320 ft (97.5 m) to the Yosemite Creek basin of boulders.

 

Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls - Yosemite National Park, California, USA Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls - Yosemite National Park, California, USA Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls - Yosemite National Park, California, USA

 

The sound of pounding water combined with rugged terrain, plentiful negative ionization, refreshing mist, mild breeze and the rich aroma from damp forest is a very pleasant experience.

Not only is there sensory overload, there is also evidence of wildlife.

 

Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls - Yosemite National Park, California, USA

 

Near the beginning of the loop hike to the base of Lower Yosemite Fall, the trail for Upper Yosemite Fall branches off to the left.  This is a significantly more ambitious effort of 7.2 miles (11.5 KM), with an elevation gain, over Columbia Rock and past Eagle Peak, of 2,700 ft (823 m) with an estimated hiking duration between 5 and 7 hours. 

Given the opportunity to return to Yosemite Valley in the future, this hike to Upper Yosemite Fall and Yosemite Point would be high on the list.  There is a shorter 2 mile (3.2 KM) round trip version with a 1,000 ft (305 m) of elevation to an amazing viewpoint at the top of massive, granite Columbia Rock. 

Upper Yosemite Fall plunges 1,430 ft (436 m) to the middle cascade which falls an additional 675 ft (206 m) to Lower Yosemite Fall tumbling to the Yosemite Valley floor.

The views and sensory magic of the endeavor must be left to imagination because there is limited time to experience highlights. 

Difficult and reluctant decisions are a part of every day and the walk back begins to explore the more commercial side of Yosemite Valley.

The next hike on the itinerary will provide the incredible views over Yosemite Valley from lofty viewpoints at Glacier Point high above the valley floor.

 

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