To the Top of Yosemite Falls

Published: June 8th 2017
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Geo: 37.7163, -119.665

Our second day, we got out of bed once we forced Galen to get out first and make us coffee. Then we headed down to Yosemite Valley to the Upper Yosemite Falls trailhead. I had hiked it once before with Chris. My siblings all wanted to go up since they'd never done it before, though. I probably should have made sure they were in better shape first but we did all make it up and down without dying of heatstroke!

The trail is 7.2miles roundtrip, which doesn't seem too bad until you consider it's pretty much a straight shot up the cliff via switchbacks. With the exception of one flatter portion that lasts all of ten to fifteen minutes, it's all uphill with an elevation gain of 2700ft. It's a 6-8hr roundtrip hike.

We started the hike early in the morning (okay, it was probably close to 10am) near Camp 4 at the trailhead. First snack stop was Columbia Point, which is about 1/3 of the way up. It has great views of the Valley and Half Dome if you're not inclined to go all the way up to the top. Halfway to the top you're rewarded with a great view of the Upper Falls. It was a high flow year for the falls and rivers so we were getting drenched with mist (which was great since it was heating up).

Sometime early afternoon we made it to the top- success! We ate the rest of our lunches on the granite. There were storm clouds on the distant cliffs across the Valley so I didn't want to spend much time at the top. I'd heard too many horror stories about hikers injured and killed in lightning storms on the granite peaks. There's just so few trees there's nothing else for the lightning to hit.

We walked over to the river above the falls and followed the precarious steps and railing down to the lookout. It definitely takes some nerve for someone afraid of heights. Yosemite Creek was a raging river was roaring out over the edge. It was such a crazy sight.

Additional photos below
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