Be advised: The trail to Lower Yosemite Falls is one of the most popular hikes in Yosemite Valley. During the summer, that means some serious crowds. Thing is, it’s absolutely worth it.
Why? The half-mile stroll is almost entirely flat, paved and perfect for little kids and adults alike. Plus, the payoff is huge – an up-close view of one of the most well-known waterfalls in Yosemite National Park, plus mist from the falls if it’s full enough.
Although this walk can be done in half an hour, I recommend you take it easy, enjoying the scenery along the way. The kids will find something worth exploring, I guarantee it.
Our Notes From the Field
What I love about this hike is that you get a stunning view of both Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls within minutes of being on the trail.
It doesn’t take long to reach the view you came for. The kids are always so excited that they forget to complain about the small hill they come up to get there.
We like to take our time. First, we enjoy some rock climbing on a bunch of boulders just off the trail. Then the kids go off on a rock hunt in the perfect spot – everything here is made of granite!
Both of the kids love running their hands and sticks along the rock walls that line a portion of the trail. These walls are also low enough to make for great balance beams for even little kiddos!
From here, we like to head to the Nature Center at Happy Isles to round out a great morning in Yosemite Valley.
My Tips for a Great Visit
- Hit the trail early. If you visit during the summer, make this the first stop of your day. Get to the trailhead by 9 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. and it’ll be relatively quiet. Otherwise, be prepared for crowds on the shuttle and on the trail.
- Explore the rocks, but stay off those near the falls. The kids loved “rock climbing” on the big boulders beside the trail. But steer clear of those below the falls. The rocks are slippery and not a safe place for kids to be exploring.
- The Lower Yosemite Falls trail is a 1-mile loop, half of which is stroller friendly
- This easy hike provides spectacular views of both Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls and can be completed in 30 minutes
- Restrooms are available at the trailhead
- There is no parking at the trailhead
- Easiest access is via the free Yosemite Shuttle; take it to stop #6
- This waterfall is often dry from late July or August through October; expect spray in spring and early summer
ADVENTURE CHEAT: You don’t have to hike to the top of the falls to feel the wonder.
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* This post originally appeared on GoExploreNature.com.