Tuolumne Falls, Yosemite Park

Notes by piero scaruffi | Back to Yosemite | Hiking in California
If you have limited time, the hike to Tuolumne Falls gives you a sample of what the Yosemite Backcountry offers.

The trailhead to the Tuolumne Falls is on Tioga Road 500 meters east of the visitor center, about 14 km west of the Tioga Pass entrance or 61 km east of the Road 120 entrance at Crane Flat (past Tenaya Lake).

The distance from the (well-marked) trailhead on Tioga Rd to Glen Aulin camp (the White Cascades) is less than 8kms. The trail follows the canyon of the Tuolumne River, so it loses elevation (trailhead Elevation: 2,590 m). One can return via McGeen Lake to Tenaya Lake (Murphy Creek trailhead). This is about 11kms. From Tenaya Lake a trail coasts Tioga Rd to Tuolumne Meadows (about 14 kms). Or just arrange for a pickup at Tenaya Lake.

  • First creek crossing 30'
  • Bridge 1h30'
  • Falls 2h15'
  • Glen Aulin (11 kms)
  • McGee Lake 3h05'
  • River crossing 3h15'
  • Peak and junction 5h
  • Two-mile sign 5h40'
  • Murphy Creek trailhead (Tenaya Lake) 6h40' and 23 kms
One can continue from Tuolumne Falls towards Waterwheel Falls (with other waterfalls in between: LeConte and California). The distance is about 6 kms.

Note that you are heading downhill on your way to the waterfalls, and uphill on the way back.

If you have a whole day and can shuttle two cars, consider hiking from Tuolumne Meadows (elevation 2627 meters) to White Wolf (2365m), 50 kms on the trail that runs along the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne river.

  • White Wolf to Pate Valley
  • Pate Valley to the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne (note: Native American pictographs (sometimes called petroglyph
  • The Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne to Glen Aulin (Waterwheel, LeConte, and California Falls)
  • Glen Aulin to Pothole Dome (a granite dome on the West side of Tuolumne Meadow)