Yosemite Valleyview website
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389
Yosemite Falls Description
One fact alone should impress most kids: Yosemite Falls, with its 2,425-foot drop, is the tallest waterfall in North America, and the fifth tallest in the world. The hike to the Upper Fall is a strenuous 7.4-mile round trip (about 5 hours long for the hardiest kids). A better option is to hike 1.2 miles up to the Columbia Point viewing area and then go back down. It's still steep -- be prepared for 100+ switchbacks -- but if you take your time, active kids from about 8 and up should be able to do it. Fortunately, everyone can take in the view from the Lower Yosemite Fall: It's an easy, flat, paved, one-mile (round trip), stroller-friendly loop. It starts right across from Yosemite Lodge. If you're taking the park's shuttle, it's stop #6.
Babies: If you're in good shape, you can do the hike up to Columbia Point with a baby on your back or in a frontpack.
Toddlers & Pre-K: Columbia Point is like climbing stairs for a full mile and it's not stroller-accessible.
School-Age Kids: Active kids should be able to make it to Columbia Point. Just take your time and pack snacks and water.
Pre-Teens & Teens: If the water is flowing, and your kids love to hike, make Yosemite Falls one of the "big" hikes of the trip. It will take a good part of a day to go up and back, but is well worth the effort.
- Come in the spring. Mother Nature controls the falls' flow -- the best time to see them is when the snow is melting, April through June.
- Watch for a "moonbow." Sometimes during a full moon in the spring, a phenomenon known as a "moonbow" will appear around the base of the Lower Fall.
- Ice ice baby. If you're visiting in winter, check out the snow cone -- well, ice cone -- that typically forms at the base of Upper Yosemite Fall.
Just the Facts
Hours: Open daily, year-round.
Recommended Time: Half day