Chilnualna Falls

Location: Yosemite National Park

Distance: 8.4 miles

Type: Day Hike; Out-and-back

Rating: Difficult

Permits & Fees: There is a park entrance fee, but no parking fee. More information can be found HERE.

Driving Directions: Google Maps directions can be found HERE. Parking is located at Chilnualna Falls Road.

Preparation: Arrive early to ensure a parking spot; the lot is small. Bring water, snacks and sunscreen!

Dog Friendly? No.

The Hike:

AllTrails Map – CLICK HERE

After parking in the small lot at the end of Chilnualna Falls Road, locate the following signs:

A few notes about the trail:

  • This trail is best reached through the Southgate Entrance near Wawona Hotel.
  • The trail is outside of Yosemite Valley and is often overlooked due to this. The crowds are very minimal, especially early in the morning! This hike is a true hidden gem.
  • Swimming is located at the beginning and the end of the hike.

Continue on the paved road, which eventually turns into the dirt trail. From the start of the trail, it is a quick hike up to the lower section of the waterfall. Many hikers stop here to swim.

After reaching the lower falls, continue on the trail for the next 3.5 miles. The trail has a gradual incline for a majority of the hike with sections of both sun and shade. There are several points along the trail that offer gorgeous views of the Park below:

The final half mile is the toughest part of the hike; the start of this section is marked by a few steep switchbacks and a set of stone stairs:

Continue on the trail until this sign comes into view (this is technically the “end” of the hike):

Enjoy the smalls pools and views of Chilnualna Falls! Take the same trail back to reach the trailhead.