Winding rockface and dense forests along Chilnualna Falls Hike in Yosemite National Park
Alisha Bube/

Chilnualna Falls Trail

Updated by Dianne Titos on December 7 2023

Hiking the Chilnualna Falls Trail in Yosemite National Park leads you through lush forests and past cascading waterfalls. This less crowded route can be more peaceful compared to popular paths, offering a delightful and memorable journey.

An overview of the distance and difficulty hiking Chilnualna Falls Trail
πŸšΆβ€β™€οΈ Distance8.2 miles
⏱️ Time4 - 6 hours
πŸ’ͺ DifficultyHard
πŸ”οΈ Elevation Gain1,100 feet

Where can I find Chilnualna Falls Trail within Yosemite National Park?

Chilnualna Falls Trail is found in the Wawona Region of Yosemite National Park.

From the South Entrance, sometimes known as the Wawona Entrance, you need to follow Wawona Road for 5 miles and take the right turn onto Chilnuala Falls Road. Just past North Wawona you'll then reach the trailhead, and there is designated parking just before you arrive. Just follow the signposts onto the dirt road.

What makes this hike so special?

The Chilnualna Falls Trail is a rewarding hike through a forested landscape, with the highlight the waterfall itself! With multiple cascades and pools set in the granite rocks, its a mesmerising trek to reach this lesser known, but equally stunning, Yosemite waterfall.

[th]Feature[/th][th]Our rating[/th]
How we rate the different aspects of Chilnualna Falls Trail
Natural beauty and scenery⭐⭐⭐
Wildlife spotting⭐⭐⭐
Peace and quiet⭐⭐⭐⭐
Small waterfall on Chilnualna Falls Trail on a sunny day
Head along this fairly easy and interesting Chilnualna Falls Trail, dotted with forests and falls.
Alisha Bube/

What are the highlights of hiking Chilnualna Falls Trail?

Spend half a day hiking Chilnualna Falls Trail and you get the chance to enjoy a series of spectacular waterfalls, ideal as a scenic backdrop for picnics or a cool dip. This pretty and quiet trail allows you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Yosemite.

  1. Lush Forest Scenery - The trail winds through a lush forest, with towering trees and rich greenery framing the path.
  2. Chilnualna Falls - Chilnualna Falls is a breath taking series of cascades in a powerful display of nature.
  3. Peaceful Surroundings - The area around Chilnualna Falls is peaceful, and a real haven for wildlife.

When is the best time of year to visit Chilnualna Falls Trail?

During the late spring and early summer months, when the snowmelt is at its peak, this is a great time to visit the waterfalls when they are at their most full and impressive.

When is the best time to visit Chilnualna Falls Trail
Spring🌷 Hike in spring, or fall, when it's less dangerous and slippery underfoot, especially near the water edge.
Summerβ˜€οΈ Early summer continues the spectacle of the waterfalls, but as the season progresses, the flow may drop back.
FallπŸ‚ While the water flow is significantly reduced and the falls may not be as dramatic, it is a pleasant hiking experience.
Winter❄️ Although open year-round, it is not recommended to visit during the winter as closures may occur due to snow.

Common questions about hiking Chilnualna Falls Trail

The incredible waterfalls, including a 50-foot fall, a 100-foot cascade, and a 240-foot fall, make this an exciting trail to visit, however the facilities are limited so make sure to prepare well in advance.

Is Chilnualna Falls Trail easily accessible for those with mobility issues?

❌ No, Chilnualna Falls Trail is not seen as easily accessible for those with mobility issues, given the steep inclines and uneven surfaces.

Are there restrooms along Chilnualna Falls Trail?

❌ No, there are no restrooms along Chilnualna Falls Trail.

Are there refreshments and water stations along Chilnualna Falls Trail?

❌ No, The Chilnualna Falls Trail does not have refreshments and water stations along the trail.

Are dogs allowed along Chilnualna Falls Trail?

❌ No, dogs are not allowed along Chilnualna Falls Trail.

Are vehicles allowed along Chilnualna Falls Trail?

❌ No, cars, electric scooters, and ATVs are not allowed on Chilnualna Falls Trail.

Can you camp overnight along Chilnualna Falls Trail (or nearby)?

❌ No, you can not camp overnight along Chilnualna Falls Trail.

❗ If you are looking to camp overnight, then there is Wawona Campground and cabin lodges along Chilnuala Falls Road in North Wawona.

Is there anything else to watch out for when I hike Chilnualna Falls Trail?

Dangerous wildlife such as bears and rattlesnakes are known to be present on the trail, so be careful underfoot and store your food safely.

Close view of crashing First Falls along Chilnualna Trail
There are several impressive waterfalls as you trek through Chilnualna Falls Trail.
Jeff Cleveland/