The Upper Falls Trail hike is a great day trip in Yosemite during the quieter months of spring, fall, and early or really late winter (when the heat, crowds, and mosquitoes are gone).
The distance is 7.6 miles (12 kilometers) round-trip from the Lower Yosemite Falls trailhead, or 9.4 miles (15 kilometers) if you include Yosemite Point. Your elevation gain will be 2,600 feet (790 meters) to the top of Yosemite Falls and 2,969 feet (890 meters) to Yosemite Point. The trip can take six to eight hours.
It's a significant workout and you'll need to have plenty of water and snacks to fuel you on the panoramic hike. This photo was taken in February and the ice and snow at the base of the falls was a special treat. Charge those camera batteries!
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Sheer cliffs, trees reaching for the sky, plunging waterfalls and puffy clouds - just another Yosemite vista. Even in spring the valley looks amazing. Make sure you arrive before the masses and take in some of the many paths. With a little luck you'll come across some of the park's people-friendly wildlife... but as the ranger brochure suggests: "don't try to take food off a bear". Uh huh.
Yosemite in the winter is like a dream...a snowy wonderland. The waterfalls cascade down icy cliffs and snow cakes the valley, bringing with it a heavy quiet...plus the massive crowds that are ever-present in the summer are significantly fewer. Winter activities include xcountry hut ski treks, snow shoeing, snow camping or even just cruising along staring up in wonder :) Check the forecast though, they often close roads into the park if the snow is dumping too hard.
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There are plenty of attractions to keep you in the valley for a few days. However, make sure to check out these highlights on some of the top destinations.
Yosemite is one of my favorite national parks in the US (outside of Denali). The steep canyon walls and rock formations are jaw-dropping.
Make sure to catch the sunset at Glacier Point and check out the wildflowers in early summer. It is possible to do a whole waterfalls sightseeing visit in itself with viewing some of the highest waterfalls the country has to offer.
Head to Camp 4 if you are a climber to talk all things climbing with the "residents" of the campground who are attempting El Cap or Half Dome.
Grab a bike rental and park the car to speed past the bus system and pedestrians throughout the park. It might be the quickest option!