Results 1-4of 4 Reviews
November 23, 2004
Moving on you eventually round a corner to the first glimpse of Upper Yosemite Falls. This is the only place in the park you can get upclose photos of the falls. In spring you will get soaked with mist all the way through here. The trail levels out for a while before ducking into a large crevass in the cliff wall and the falls disappear for the rest of the climb as several dozen more switchbacks finally bring us to the rim of Yosemite Valley. The trail is easily lost here but there is a small fenced in viewing area on the cliff at the brink of the falls. There is a very narrow rock stairwell to get down though and people with a fear of heights may want to stay well back from the view point. The only way back is the way you came.
From journal Heaven on Earth
by Adventures With Adam
New York, New York
July 15, 2004
The feeling here greatly differs from the valley rim trails: no granite, lots of green, the smell of pine needles all over, rolling landscape and very few other hikers. The scenery doesn't change must in the forest, but it's nice to stop here for a while, sit on a fallen tree and listen for wildlife. After a few minutes your notice birds (and deer if you're lucky) that you would have missed if you just hurried through.
At one point, the trail takes you within a mile of Tioga Road in the northern section of the park. There, you will hook into the Snow Creek Trail, which parallels the eponymous creek and leads back into the valley. After a couple hours in the woods, you'll finally emerge at a point on the rim between Snow Creek Falls and Basket Dome, revealing your reward: the best views of the hike with Half Dome and the Quarter Domes looming across the way.
The trail then descends quickly down a series of switchbacks, so tighten your laces first. Once you reach the valley floor, you've still got a couple of easy, flat miles to go before ending at bus stop #17. The last section of this monster hike passes Mirror Lake where many artists and photographers set up their easels and tripods to capture Half Dome at the golden hour preceding sunset. Two bus stops later, I was back at my campsite, gratefully reaching into my cooler and rewarding myself with a cold can of Budweiser. The entire hike with stops took me between 8 and 9 hours to complete. I move pretty fast, so allow an extra hour or so if you don't.
From journal Adventures in Yosemite National Park
Almost immediately, the trail rises steeply over a series of switchbacks. Don't despair -- the whole ascent is not like this. After a mile or so, you'll get to catch your breath at Columbia Rock and enjoy the wonderful views of the valley below and the Three Brothers formation behind you. Less ambitious hikers might want to turn around here, but I recommend continuing to the top.
Soon after Columbia Rock, a less-steep section brings you close to the Lower Falls and Middle Cascade. I hiked this trail in late September when crowds are lighter. Unfortunately, so is the water flow -- mighty Yosemite Falls is reduced to a trickle in late summer. Still, you can imagine feeling the spray from the falls if you hiked the trail in May or June. For the last uphill mile, the trail winds and steepens again. As you reach the top, a short spur path brings you to the brink of the falls. (A railing here keeps you from falling over as well.) Watch for soaring hawks here.
Continuing on the trail, a wooden bridge carries you over the creek feeding the falls and points you toward Yosemite Point, which offers sweeping views of the valley. Most hikers turn around at this point for a 7-mile round trip, but with a lot of water, energy and daylight left, I decided to continue on to North Dome. Here the trail retreats a bit into the forest and you lose the valley vistas for the next 2.5 miles until you reach the North Dome spur. This short path puts you on top of the granite dome and provides dead-on views of Half Dome across the valley. It's a great place to break for lunch. Returning from here, it's about a 12-mile round-trip hike. But. . . .
Continued in Part 2
July 8, 2001
From journal Yosemite National Park