Discover the 5 Breathtaking Yosemite National Park Waterfall Trails

Yosemite National Park is a true gem of the United States, offering visitors a chance to experience some of the most breathtaking natural wonders in the world. Among the park’s many attractions, the waterfall trails stand out as true highlights, providing hikers with the opportunity to witness the power and beauty of these cascading natural features. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the top waterfall trails in Yosemite National Park, providing you with the information you need to plan your next outdoor adventure.

Vernal and Nevada Falls via Mist Trail

The Mist Trail is undoubtedly one of the most popular waterfall trails in Yosemite, offering hikers the chance to get up close and personal with two stunning waterfalls: Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall. This challenging hike takes you up a series of steep switchbacks, with the mist from the falls providing a refreshing respite along the way. The best time to tackle this trail is during the spring or early summer when the snowmelt is at its peak, and the falls are flowing at their fullest.

Upper Yosemite Falls Trail

Yosemite National Park Waterfall Trails

For those seeking a truly breathtaking view, the Upper Yosemite Falls Trail is a must-visit. This challenging hike takes you to the top of Yosemite Falls, the tallest waterfall in the continental United States. Along the way, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the Yosemite Valley, as well as the three sections of the falls: the upper falls, the middle cascade, and the lower falls. While the lower falls are a popular destination, the upper falls offer a truly unique perspective that is well worth the effort.

Half Dome via the John Muir Trail (JMT)

The hike to the top of Half Dome is not for the faint of heart, but it offers some of the most spectacular views in Yosemite National Park. Along the way, you’ll be treated to stunning vistas of Yosemite Falls, Clouds Rest, and the entire Yosemite Valley. This challenging hike requires a permit, so be sure to plan ahead if you want to tackle this iconic trail.

Sentinel Falls

Sentinel Falls is a seasonal waterfall that flows from March through June, with peak flow typically occurring in May. This waterfall is located on the south side of Yosemite Valley, just west of Sentinel Rock, and can be best viewed from the Yosemite Valley Swinging Bridge, as well as areas along Southside Drive near the Sentinel Beach Picnic Area and the Four Mile Trailhead.

Illilouette Fall

Tucked away in the canyons below Glacier Point and Washburn Point, Illilouette Fall is one of the most secluded waterfalls in and around Yosemite Valley. The best way to see this waterfall in all its glory is by hiking down the Panorama Trail from Glacier Point, a 4-mile round trip hike with 1400 feet in elevation change.

Quantifiable Details

  • Yosemite National Park is open all day, every day.
  • The cost of entry is $35 per vehicle, which is valid for seven consecutive days.
  • The park’s phone number is +12093720200.
  • The park’s website is
  • The park’s address is P.O. Box 577, Yosemite National Park, CA 95389.

Real-Life Incidents

Yosemite National Park can get very crowded, especially during peak season. It’s recommended to arrive early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds. Additionally, some trails, such as the Half Dome via the John Muir Trail, require permits, so be sure to plan ahead.



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