• View of Half Dome and Washington Column in Yosemite Valley


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Day Hikes in Hetch Hetchy

A brief description of the Hetch Hetchy area, with natural and cultural history, and additional hiking information, is available [1.7 MB PDF].

Lookout Point (moderate)

2 miles (3.2 km) round-trip; 1 hour

Begin at Hetch Hetchy Entrance Station

This quick hike takes you to a viewpoint overlooking Hetch Hetchy Valley.


Wapama Falls (moderate)

5 mi (8 km) round-trip; 2 hours

Begin at O'Shaughnessy Dam

This trail takes you to the base of Wapama Falls, passing two smaller waterfalls (during spring) on the way. This is also a good trail for wildflowers in spring.


Rancheria Falls (moderate)

13.4 miles (21.4 km) round-trip; 6 to 8 hours

Begin at O'Shaughnessy Dam

This trail continues past Wapama Falls to popular Rancheria Falls.

The trail from the dam to Rancheria Falls is closed beyond Wapama Falls due to a large rockfall.


Smith Peak (moderate to strenuous)

13.5 miles (21.6 km) round-trip; 6 to 8 hours

Begin at Hetch Hetchy Entrance Station

This trail takes you through forest and meadow to Smith Peak, where you get great views of the Hetch Hetchy area.


Poopenaut Valley (strenuous)

3 miles (4.8 km) round-trip; 2 hours

Begin four miles east of the Hetch Hetchy Entrance Station (look for small turnout on the right)

This trail provides quick access to the Tuolumne River, descending 1,229 feet (735 m) to the river below O'Shaughnessy Dam.

Did You Know?

Nevada and Vernal Falls

In Yosemite Valley, dropping over 594-foot Nevada Fall and then 317-foot Vernal Fall, the Merced River creates what is known as the “Giant Staircase.” Such exemplary stair-step river morphology is characterized by a large variability in river movement and flow, from quiet pools to the dramatic drops of the waterfalls themselves.