A picturesque foot bridge crossing along the Wapama Falls Trail, as storm clouds brew and the footbridge is lit in a beautiful brown
Jeffrey B. Ross/Shutterstock.com

Wapama Falls Trail

Updated by Pat Dorri on December 7 2023

Hiking the Wapama Falls Trail in Yosemite takes you past some of the most mesmerizing sights of the Hetch Hetchy Valley, including a picturesque reservoir and two remarkable waterfalls, Wapama and Tueeulala Falls, to admire.

An overview of the distance and difficulty hiking Wapama Falls Trail
πŸšΆβ€β™€οΈ Distance5 miles
⏱️ Time2 hours
πŸ’ͺ DifficultyModerate
πŸ”οΈ Elevation Gain1,100 feet

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

The Wapama Falls Trail is within Hetch Hetchy, a reservoir and valley in Yosemite National Park. As you enter at the Hetch Hetchy Entrance near Mather, follow Hetch Hetchy Road and continue on Evergreen Road for just under 8 miles to reach the trailhead. For parking, you can find this near the dam on Evergreen Road.

What makes this hike so special?

The Wapama Falls Trail leads you to the base of Wapama Falls which plunges into the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. The trail goes around the reservoir, offering beautiful views of the water and iconic Yosemite granite cliffs.

How we rate the different aspects of Wapama Falls Trail.
FeatureOur rating
Natural beauty and scenery⭐⭐⭐⭐
Wildlife spotting⭐⭐
Peace and quiet⭐⭐⭐⭐
Accessibility⭐⭐⭐

Wapama Falls footbridge along the Hetch Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite National Park, with views over the cascading waterfalls
Head along Wapama Falls footbridge along the Hetch Hetchy reservoir for unrivalled waterfall views.
Katelynn Manz/Shutterstock.com

What are the highlights of hiking Wapama Falls Trail?

This trail offers close-up views of the stunning Wapama Falls. Compared to some of the more crowded trails in Yosemite Valley, the Wapama Falls Trail tends to be less busy, allowing for a more peaceful hiking experience.

  1. The Hetch Hetchy Reservoir - Within the Sierra Nevada mountains, it is a pristine water source with incredible reflections in the crystal-clear waters.
  2. Wapama Falls - A spectacular, multi-tiered waterfall that thunders down granite cliffs, creating a mesmerizing cascade of rushing water and mist, especially during the spring and early summer.
  3. Granite Cliffs - Towering above Wapama Falls Trail, it provides a dramatic backdrop against the Yosemite landscape.

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

Wapama Falls Trail is typically open year-round, with the low elevation making it accessible for most of the year. A great time to visit to see the waterfalls in full swing is early spring after the snow has melted, but regardless of when you visit you are sure to be impressed.

When is the best time to visit Wapama Falls Trail
SeasonConsiderations
Spring🌷Spring is the best time to visit if you want to see Wapama Falls at its most powerful.
Summerβ˜€οΈ Head along this hike in the summer if you prefer dry trail conditions and a more comfortable hiking experience.
FallπŸ‚ While the weather is generally good, the waterfalls are typically not as powerful as immediately after winter.
Winter❄️ The trail is open year-round, however adverse weather can result in sudden closures, so check conditions in advance.

Common questions about hiking Wapama Falls Trail

Wapama Falls Trail takes you past some of Yosemite's most stunning waterfalls, with the added appeal of being able to stay in the wilderness overnight on an extended trip! Services are pretty basic however, so make sure to prepare well in advance.

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

β­• Yes, Wapama Falls Trail is considered fairly accessible at the start for those with mobility issues.

❗ However, the track does become more uneven and rocky so those will a wheelchair or stroller would not reach the trail peak.

Are there restrooms along Wapama Falls Trail?

❌ No, there are no restrooms along Wapama Falls Trail, however there are basic restrooms near the day-use parking area.

Are there refreshments and water stations along Wapama Falls Trail?

❌ No, there are no refreshments or water stations along Wapama Falls Trail.

Are dogs allowed along Wapama Falls Trail?

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

Are vehicles allowed along Wapama Falls Trail?

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

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

β­• Yes, you can camp overnight along Wapama Falls Trail.

❗ Staying overnight? Collect a wilderness permit at the Hetch Hetchy Entrance until 5pm, at no cost.

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

Take extra care when approaching the falls as mist can cause slippery conditions. Wear appropriate footwear to help with this and the rocky terrain, as well as sunhat and plenty of water as there is minimal shade.

If you plan overnight hiking, then prepare well in advance, as equipment such as bear canisters are mandatory.

Waterfall and a footbridge in the foreground
Visit in spring and early summer for the Wapama Falls to be at their most fierce and impressive.
Colin D. Young/Shutterstock.com