Distance: 5.8 miles
My Rating: Hard as Hell
When you’re approaching Yosemite Valley, it reminds me of the kid movie I use to watch: The Land Before Time. There are clear openings and an awe-inspiring view. I was half hoping they had tree leaves (or star leaves as I called them). As you’re driving, you can see the beautiful Yosemite Falls! You can’t reach Yosemite Falls until 45 minutes later after the National Park Entrance.
Upper Yosemite Falls is located in Yosemite Valley by shuttle stop #7 (first bullet point for the map). The trail starts on the other side of the street after being dropped off by the bus. The waterfall is split into three: Upper, Middle, and Lower Yosemite. Lower and Upper Yosemite are both destinations. The Middle is just a view of Middle Yosemite Falls. On this hike, you have the tallest waterfall in California and some claim tallest in North America.
For the Hearty
Upper Yosemite Falls was crazy! This hike takes 6-8 hours to complete. Start it as early as possible! Of course, it gets harder during the day and once you’re half way there, there’s no shade! Unless granite rocks are creating shade for you-but that’s later on in the day. Thankfully, there are tiny waterfalls and clean streams to wash your face in. That was refreshing! Although, this hike is for experienced hikers. We could’ve sworn we read the hike was 3.4 miles roundtrip. Let me just say, I was mentally not prepared for that. Apparently, I wasn’t physically prepared too!
Yosemite has an elevation change of 2,700 ft. We come from sea level! We are not used to the change of altitude. On the hike, we were 30 minutes away from the top of Yosemite Falls when I became nauseous. The trail is extremely steep and so many rocks on the trail. It was hot and I wasn’t prepared for how much of a work out it was going to be. We sat and rested for a while. I thought I felt better and trekked on. I became nauseous again. I was so disappointed we didn’t get to finish the hike, but next time we will!
On the return, the trail was not gradual. Our feet were killing us! People were racing down the hill and I cannot count how many I saw fall. We started at 9:30 am and returned around 4 pm. 2 other couples started at 9 and returned the same time as us. Although, I did grow mentally stronger since Cuyamaca!