Hetch Hetchy Area Trails

Laurel Lake

Laurel Lake

Highlights: Lakes

Distance: 14.2 miles (22.9 km) out and back

Elevation Gain: 2700 feet (820 m)

Permit Demand: Low

Trailhead: Beehive Meadows

A climb up and out of the Hetch Hetchy Valley leads you through rolling, wooded hills to a quaint and often quiet lake. Highlights include views of Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and access to Lake Vernon.

 
Lake Vernon in the Hetch Hetchy area

Lake Vernon

Highlights: Lakes

Distance: 19.1 miles (22.9 km) round trip

Elevation Gain: 2,700 feet (820 m)

Permit Demand: Low

Trailhead: Beehive Meadows

A climb up and out of the Hetch Hetchy Valley leads you through rolling, wooded hills to a beautiful lake bordered by an exposed granite ridge. There is further access to Jack Main Canyon and Tiltill Valley.

 
Looking down Rancheria Falls

Lake Vernon and Rancheria Falls

Highlights: Lakes, Waterfalls

Distance: 28.2 miles (45.4 km) loop

Elevation Gain: 4,450 feet (1,360 m)

Permit Demand: Low

Trailhead: Beehive Meadow or Rancheria Falls

Hiking this loop clockwise, you will climb up and out of the Hetch Hetchy Valley and through rolling, wooded hills to a beautiful lake bordered by an exposed granite ridge. Then you will descend down through Tiltill Valley to Rancheria Falls and follow the north edge of the reservoir back to the trailhead.

 
Looking down Rancheria Falls

Rancheria Falls

Highlights: Waterfalls

Distance: 12.6 miles (20.2 km)

Elevation Gain: 700 feet (210 m)

Permit Demand: Medium

Trailhead: Rancheria Falls

This gentle cascade is located at the eastern end of the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. A quieter part of Yosemite, the trail to Rancheria Falls provides an excellent starting point for trips into the northern half of Yosemite. Beyond, there is access to Tiltill Valley and Rancheria Mountain.

 
View of Hetch Hetchy from Smith Peak

Smith Peak

Highlights: Peaks

Distance: 13.4 miles (21.6 km)

Elevation Gain: 3,500 feet (1,100 m)

Permit Demand: Low

Trailhead: Smith Peak

A steady climb through forests and meadows leads to the tranquil summit of Smith Peak. From this vantage point, towering over Hetch Hetchy, hikers have views of Yosemite’s remote north country.

Last updated: November 13, 2019

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