Wapama Fall at Hetch Hetchy-The Hike That Has it All!

Submitted by Noel Morrison, Communications Manager

*Trail conditions can change suddenly. Please be aware when you are on trails that weather and snowmelt can effect conditions and be prepared to adjust your plans accordingly. Please practice caution on any Yosemite trail. 

If you are looking for a lesser known hike that will take you through a tunnel, under two waterfalls and alongside a placid reservoir with lovely granite walls, look no further than the Wapama Fall's hike! This easy hike is 5.5 miles roundtrip over mostly flat terrain, making it a suitable day hike for almost all fitness and age levels. The meandering trail will take you past the elegant 840 foot tall Tueeulala Falls, through wildflower patches, and culminates at multiple bridges that span the cascades at the base of Wapama Fall. This is where the fun starts as aquaphobic hikers make a mad dash across the bridges while others adopt a more leisurely pace sure to leave to them soaking wet. Sunny granite slabs just past the bridge are a perfect spot to dry out and scan the reservoir for the mysterious Hetch Hetchy Loch Ness Monster.

Get Started

From Yosemite Valley, take highway 120 north and exit the park via the Big Oak Flat gate. Just past the gate you see a turn off for Evergreen Road and Hetch Hetchy. Follow Evergreen Road for 16 miles all the way to the end. There is a parking lot just before the reservoir with restrooms; these are the only ones in the area so use them before getting on the trail. Drive just past the reservoir to a parking lot that will bring you the closest to the trail head. The trail begins by crossing the O'Shaughnessy Dam. Before you start, snap some photos of lovely Kolana Rock, the large granite dome on the southern edge of Hetch Hetchy.

Tips for the Trail

The trail is mostly exposed so be prepared with plenty of water, sunscreen and a hat. The most exciting part of the trail is at the end when Wapama Fall rewards weary hikers with a refreshing shower, so quick drying clothes are advised. Also advised are water proof hiking boots or water shoes, as hikers will find themselves ankle deep in shallow streams during some parts of the trail. Keep an eye out for poison oak along the trail as well as the occasional rattlesnake.