- Sports and Recreation
Yosemite Hikes: Best Short Hikes in Yosemite
Short Yosemite Hikes- Perfect for Kids and Dogs!
Yosemite National Park is home to some of the most scenic and spectacular hikes in the world. Hiking enthusiasts come from all over the world to admire the pristine waterfalls and experience the mesmerizing beauty of the mountains. With so many diverse trails to choose from, planning the perfect weekend in Yosemite can be overwhelming.
My fiancé planned a short romantic getaway for our anniversary at Yosemite National Park, one of the most spectacular and magical places in the U.S. We are both nature lovers, with a passion for hiking and the outdoors. Our main priority was to choose a trail that was dog friendly and short enough, yet gives us a memorable first-time experience at Yosemite.
After researching for endless websites, he finally narrowed it down to Lower Yosemite Falls, the perfect Yosemite hiking experience for the three of us.
Time will stop, as you are swept into this serene image.
Getting to the Trail
To get to the trail, you can drive into Yosemite Valley and park at the Visitor Center or at Curry Village. Take the shuttle to stop #6 and follow the marked path across Yosemite Village.
Bridge at the Base of Lower Falls
Yosemite Hikes ~ View of the Highest Waterfall in North America
Lower Yosemite Falls was an easy and straightforward trail that leads to one of the prettiest Yosemite waterfalls. It only took us about 30 minutes to complete the 1.5 mile hike (from Yosemite Village which is the base/central tourist area). This is a highly recommended hike for all visitors, since it rewards you with an enormous and impressive view for such little effort.
This trail is dog friendly and wheelchair friendly, so everyone is capable of enjoying the hike and spectacular view.
We started the walk over to Lower Yosemite Fall from the Yosemite Village parking lot, near the Shuttle stop #6.
Reaching the base of the waterfall only requires a hike of 0.25 miles from the shuttle stop #6 if you take the wheelchair-accessible trail. You can choose a longer (1.1 mile round trip) by continuing clockwise along the path between two branches of Yosemite Creek. We decided to take the third route, along the bike path from Yosemite Valley visitor center, which is a round trip of 1.5 miles.
We walked through a slowly ascending wide paved trail, framed by gorgeous, tall Ponderosa pines and incense cedar trees. The trail, at an altitude of 4000 feet, is shaded with different species of pine trees, redwoods, and cypress trees with its scale-like leaves and fibrous barks. For tree-lovers and Botanist, the valley with them is like Disneyland for kids!
There’s a footbridge providing nice open views of the lower fall, a great opportunity for capturing photos from your camera. You can see and hear both the Upper and Lower falls through the trail, however when you get to the bridge, you will be rewarded with the amazing view of the Lower Falls, with water thundering down from 320 feet tall.
We were able to sit on the giant rocks at the base of this scenic waterfall! We could literally feel the shower from the mist gently kissing our face! We took our time to breathe in the air and really take in the surrounding beauty. If you could take yourself away from your daily life and transport yourself into another world where time just freezes, this is it.
After the winter passes, Yosemite Falls is most impressive as water melts from the ice, hurling tons of water into the valley. We were expecting light vaporized drops from the water; instead got to witness the full power of mother nature at her best.
Take a quick break from reading this article and put yourself there right now by watching this video!
The trail leading to Lower Falls
Where is Yosemite National Park?
What is so magical about Yosemite Falls?
Yosemite Falls is the tallest waterfall in North America, tumbling at 2,425 feet and ten times taller than Niagra! It breaks up into 3 parts; Upper falls at 1430 ft, Middle Cascades at 625 ft, and finally the Lower Fall, dropping at 320 ft.
The hike to Upperfall is steeper and longer. The Middle Cascade separates into 5 smaller falls and is more difficult to see due to its narrow and hidden view from the ground. The Lower Fall has a viewing bridge near the base where Oakley and I hiked up to see.
What makes it so magical is the setting of the environment surrounding that can make you feel so peaceful, relaxed, and free. With the sound of the wilderness and the thrusts of water hitting the bottom pools and rocks, flowing water can be very refreshing and invigorating. A waterfall is Mother Nature’s special gift to us. Its strength and power can have a therapeutic and calming effect on our soul. It’s also a quiet and romantic setting for couples!
You can visit Yosemite any time of the year. However, if you want to see the biggest and best water flow, (April-May) months is the ideal time to visit, as the spring runoff is at its peak.
During the fall (Sept-Nov) you will see the most amazing shades of red, gold, and yellow.
During the winter (Dec-Mar), you can cross-country ski, hike in your snow boots, or just play in the snow.
During summer, (June-Aug), pack your tents and sleeping bag and go camping!