Yosemite Falls – and then there was MAGIC!

For many Yosemite is old hat, but as one who avoids crowds, this was my first foray into the valley of gynormous granite. Being early season and on the heals of a series of recent storms, most areas in the high country were closed.

My first peek at Upper & Lower Yosemite Falls. Notice the frozen trees along the rim opposite the falls.

Ahhhhh, a frozen paradise!

Perspective from the lower falls viewpoint

The literature indicates this is a 2,700′ elevation gain hike over the 3.4 miles. This information is a bit deceiving as you’ll see in the next photo of actual hiking elevation gain.

Let’s make this 5,116′ hiking elevation gain.

Plenty of views to enjoy along the way.

About a mile up, you find the base of Upper Yosemite Falls; most people stop here.

While the view was gorgeous, the jet traffic made the skies messy and noisy.

Lots of little snow cairns along the trail. I LOVED them!

Looking up at these steep walls made me oh so dizzy.

So much work went into the making of this trail. Lots and lots of rock steps to help with erosion. The snow, water and gritty sand added to the challenge on this day. Can you say slippery?

A fair amount of snow at the top.

Yosemite Creek as it flows into Upper Yosemite Falls.

A view of Yosemite Creek as it becomes Upper Yosemite Falls and then quickly becomes a creek again before going over the next shelf into Lower Yosemite Falls.

The view from the top of Upper Yosemite Falls

Now this view I wasn’t very happy about. The slack line is set up directly over the drop of upper falls. Yes, it provided entertainment value, especially his plentiful hooting and hollering during his multiple attempts before finally succeeding. I’m really surprised this is permitted, nothing like one person ruining everyone’s photos and “wilderness” experience at the top.

On the way down, I was rewarded with magic!

Although I was there on a non-holiday weekday in March, I found the trail too crowded for my liking. Thankfully I expected this and had prepared accordingly. This is a trail where it’s unlikely you’ll find many opportunities for solitude and quiet reflection.


  • I used the free map and guide I obtained from the Visitor Center in Mariposa
  • The park newsletter was also helpful


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