If you thought Yosemite Valley was the only part of the park with waterfalls – think again! There are many wonderful waterfalls beyond the Valley floor and Chilnualna Falls (pronounced chill-na-wall-na) is one of the most beautiful. It is also not so easy to get to and requires a strenuous hike that is about 8.2 miles (13 km) roundtrip with a 2,400 foot elevation gain.
Begin at Chilnualna Falls parking area, two miles up the Chilnualna Falls Road in Wawona, CA. The trail leads from the bottom of the parking area and along cascading Chilnualna Creek for a half mile (0.8 km). A series of switchbacks then lead away from the creek into the open forest, where you’ll get views of the Wawona area back to top.
The best time to visit? This is one of the rare waterfalls that flows all year but the peak flow is in May.