Part of North America's tallest waterfall, Lower Yosemite Fall is the final 320-foot (98-meter) drop. Deafening in spring and early summer when the waterfall peaks in volume, you can expect to get soaked with water mist when standing on the footbridge near its base. This short, easy walk is actually a series of winding paths that meander around the approach to the falls.
This paved loop trail offers different vantage points of Yosemite Falls and Yosemite Creek, and you can stop at the many exhibits to learn more about the natural and cultural history of the area.
If walking from the Valley Visitor center, follow the bicycle path to shuttle stop #6 and begin the trail. Consider walking the loop in a clockwise direction for best views of Yosemite Falls. This eastern portion of this loop trail is wheelchair accessible (when not covered in ice or snow).
The trail to Lower Yosemite Fall is open year-round. When the water is at its peak in spring and early summer, you can expect to get a little wet. This waterfall is often dry from late July or August through October. Expect icy conditions in some areas during the winter, especially on the short climb leading to the footbridge on the western trail.
Stay on the paved trail. Above the wooden footbridge that crosses Yosemite Creek, the rocks and boulders are slippery even when dry. Scrambling off-trail in this area has led to serious injuries.
During times of spring run off and winter frazzle ice the paved trials may experience sudden flooding. Watch for water approaching the path or on it. The path can flood very quickly and it is a smart idea to back off if you see water on the trail. In my experience, and this is hardly scientific but is seems the eastern paths tend to flood more then the west side approaching the falls.
A drinking fountain is available near the restrooms along the western trail. Drinking water is not available along the trail.
Restrooms are available along the western trail; no additional restrooms are available along the way.
There is no trail head parking. Parking is available at the Yosemite Lodge, The day use parking lot just east of the Yosemite Lodge, and the Yosemite Village at the day use parking area. In the summer by 10 am all the parking in the valley can be taken, by 7:30 half of the parking is taken.
TIP! Get out early! I cannot stress this enough. Ok, some of you come to the lodge to relax there and spend your day in our wonderful setting. But if you want to see any of the park and not be caught in bumper to bumper traffic, passing signs that flash "ALL VALLEY PARKING IS FULL", surrounded by frustrated people looking for that last theoretical space because they do not believe the signs, then you will want to be in the valley or at Glacier Point by 9am.
When the valley parking is full people get desperate and park in every little nook and cranny. They risk walking in the busy road with their families, cars parked left half sticking out into the street and half parked on the side of a drop off, causing traffic jams. Then there folks stopping traffic waiting for that family of 14 to pile into their Cadillac Escalade for the space.
I have even seen people park in the street and walk away from their car for the day. In response I've seen rangers walking down a row of 10-12 vehicles all parked in the street placing tickets on windshields. One person parks in the street then others come along thinking is was ok because some else is obviously not stupid or crazy enough to park in a "street", and now the road is an official parking lot.
To be fair the rangers have countered this behavior by making the two lane drive a one lane drive with the right hand lane dedicated to buses, park shuttles, and emergency responders. The fine for everyone who thinks they are special and can drive in the lane past everyone else?, last I saw 280.00 dollars. Does this incentive work?, sometimes.
Well no one said Yosemite was the happiest place on earth, that moniker belongs to a park a little further south.
What Yosemite is, is grand, austere, glorious, amazing, awesome, and a place to reset your soul. You just gotta be smart about getting here and parking.
Ride the free Valley Visitor Shuttle (7 am to 10 pm, year-round) to shuttle stop #6 and follow the bicycle path in either direction to access both the western and eastern sections of this loop trail. Beginning the hike from the west offers full views of Yosemite Falls right from the start. You can also walk along the bicycle path from the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center—this adds approximately 0.5 miles (0.8 km) to your hike).
Leashed pets are allowed on this trail.
Bicycles are prohibited with numerous bicycle racks located nearby for your convenience.
Carry out all trash and food waste (fruit peels, shells, etc.).
Keep your food within arm's reach at all times and do not feed the wildlife.
Proprietors: David Maynard & Vonnie Coombs
7509 Henness Circle, Yosemite CA, 95389
Yosemite Peregrine Lodging is located inside the gates of Yosemite National Park in the Yosemite West development. You have to enter Yosemite to get to Yosemite West. Don't let other hotel operators fool you. Ask for a physical address and check them out on a map before you make your reservation. Some accommodations claim to be minutes from Yosemite and are actually an hour or more.