Yosemite Falls with Fog at the Base

Tioga Road to Valley Floor via Yosemite Falls…

Another hike I’d like to take is Yosemite Creek Camp area just off Tioga Road down to Yosemite Falls then down to the valley floor. All in all, it’s about an eleven mile trek. It will be nine miles if you leave from the Yosemite Creek Camp site. It is pretty much down hill the whole way. There is a ridge about three and a half miles in that will cost you a gain of just short of two hundred feet, but other than that, it’s smooth sailing.

Ideally, a driver will drop your party off at the Tioga Road trailhead (or the end of Yosemite Creek Campsite) and then meet you at the Yosemite Falls Trailhead near Camp 4 when the hike is completed. Or you could take two cars as I suggested in the Pohono Hike, leaving one at the trailhead and the other at the end. Be advised if you want to start the hike from Yosemite Creek Campsite, the road from Tioga Road to the end of the campsite, where you meet up with the trail is a really tough one. I mentioned it in a previous post (My Next Trip …).

NTioga-Yosemite Topoot having taken this hike, I can’t tell you what to expect, but it appears you’ll need to expect to get wet, here and there, especially during the early season as the trail crosses a number of feeder creeks. You’ll be going through woods, open smooth rock areas, a ferny glen and that ridge is a rocky shoulder. The trail there is marked with “ducks.”[1] At eight miles (or six if you left from the campsite) you’ll be at the top of Yosemite Falls, the easy way. Just a really short distance beyond the falls is Yosemite Point, which offers a nice vista (they say). I don’t know, I didn’t do it my trip, I was lucky I was still ambulatory when I reached the top. But coming down from the falls, it might be a different story. Once you’ve surveyed the falls, going down to the valley floor is about 3.4 miles, but unlike when I traveled up that trial, with this route, you have just had a long day, not, necessarily a debilitating one. Or, at least, that’s my theory. The round trip hike to Yosemite Falls and back (from the valley floor), took me 12 hours. It took a good 6 hours for me to get to the top and I was up there for at least an hour (it might have been two). So the trip down, while I was almost completely spent was between 4 and 5 hours. I suspect if you take this route, you may be a bit more spry when it comes to hiking down from the falls. But even still you’ll need to come down gingerly as the rocks are sandy and making it easy to slip.

The hike starts off at about 7500 feet at Tioga Road and drops down to 4000 at the valley floor. It is, pretty much a steady decline of less than a thousand feet to the top of Yosemite falls. Then it is another drop of about 2600 feet to the valley floor (see the topo map).


[1] No, not “quack, quack” ducks. I mean, how would you get them to say put, let alone point in the right direction? “Ducks” are small piles of rocks, or a rock, used to delineate a trail where posting a sign would be awkward.