Yosemite National Park, California

Hike to the Top of Chilnualna Falls

9.2 Miles Total - 2300 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Originally 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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Tags

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

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Best trip

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.

Great hike outside the more populated valley

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.

Backpack/camp Chilnualna Falls

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

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We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

Stay Nearby

Wawona, California

Wawona

Fish Camp, California

Wawona Hotel

From $170/night

Nearby Adventures

Backpack to Johnson Lake

24 Miles Round Trip - 4500 ft gain

Backpack to Buena Vista Lake, Yosemite

28 Miles Round Trip - 4500 ft gain

Backpack to Crescent Lake

20 Miles Round Trip - 4100 ft gain

Tours

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