Trails from Wawona, Yosemite

Notes by piero scaruffi | See Back to Yosemite | See Other California destinations

Chilnualna Falls

From Yosemite's Wawona entrance, at the end of a paved road called Chilnualna Falls Rd, there is an 8km trail that leads to Chilnualna Fall (the sign might be wrong and 6km might be a more realistic estimate of the distance). Chilnualna Fall is the tallest Yosemite waterfall outside the main valley, and certainly a lot less visited than the more famous waterfalls in Yosemite Valley and in the Tuolumne Meadows region.

Buena Vista Peak

The trail is also the gateway to the Buena Vista loop, a 22 km trail that loops around Buena Vista Peak. Alas, it's 13 kms from the trailhead in Wawona to the beginning of the loop, so you have to add 13+13 kms to the 22 kms of the loop, a very long day hike if you are a very fast hiker. Buena Vista Peak (2959m) is the highest point in south-central Yosemite, and it is surrounded by five alpine lakes that lie along the loop. Quote: "The clockwise route of the loop brings you to Buena Vista Lake and the north face of the peak. Leave the trail at the lake and scramble up the scree slope on the north face to the obvious chute in the center of the face". or one can just continue along the loop without climbing to the summit.

Wawona to Glacier Point

If you shuttle cars, you can do a one-way hike from the Glacier Pt road to the Chilnualna Falls to Wawona mostly downhill; or viceversa mostly uphill.

From Wawona climb to the Chilnualna Falls and continue to the fork. Go left. The trail keeps gaining elevation. When you reach the bald "Full Dome" you have done most of the uphill. A little later you reach fork. Go left (the right fork goes to Chiquita Pass like the previous one). From now on it's easy walking. Turn right at the Deer Camp fork towards Glacier Point. Shortly afterwards you will be on another prominent "dome", "Rocky Dome". Turn left at the next two forks. Be careful at the second one: you want to go to Bridalveil Camp, not to Glacier Point Rd. Walk through Bridalveil Camp to the Glacier Point Rd. Walk left on the paved road until you see a parking lot (with bear lockers) and the sign to McGurk Meadow. Hike this trail all the way to Taft Point (great views of Yosemite Valley) and on to Glacier Point (ditto). Near the end it is worth taking the detour (on your right) to the prominent Sentinel Dome, that has one of the best views of Yosemite.

  • Wawona trailhead
  • Bottom of Chilnualna Falls (7kms) 1h15'
  • Fork (9kms) 1h45'
  • Full Dome (summit) 3h30'
  • Junction with Chiquita Pass trail (13.5kms) 4h
  • Deer Camp junction - go right (15.5kms) 4h40'
  • Rocky Dome 5h
  • Ostrander fork - go left (19.5 kms)
  • Bridalveil Camp fork - go left (20.5kms) 6.5h
  • Bridalveil Camp (23kms) 7.5h
  • Glacier Pt Rd (24kms)
  • McGurk Meadow trailhead (25kms) 8h
  • Taft Pt fork - go right (28kms)
  • Taft Point (32kms) 9h30'
  • Trail to Fissures (32.5kms)
  • Detour to Sentinel Dome (36kms) 10.5h
  • Sentinel Dome (37kms) 11h
  • Glacier Point (38kms) 11.5h

General location of the hike in Yosemite:

Follow the dotten green line:

  • Pictures of this hike
  • Page on Yosemite National Park
  • Wawona's weather
  • Buena Vista Peak weather