|Trip Date: 08/19/2016
Distance: 6.5 Miles
Vertical Gain: 1200'
Group Size: 2
Hike Rating: Easy Moderate Hard Strenuous
GPX for this trip
|Looking back at the Glen Aulin bridge over the Tuolumne River near the very beginning of the hike.|
|After a short first climb up
to 'Sunset Rock' south of the High Sierra Camp, the old location of the
Glen Aulin camp can be seen just across the river.
|The first part of the trail is very flat with little elevation change, following along the east side of the Tuolumne as it gently meanders along this section.|
|Looking back up the river from the way you came offers no hint as to the raging river and drop in elevation which awaits not too much further ahead.|
|After a mile the trail winds through some exceptionally large granite boulders which have fallen from high above, as well as this smooth granite 'ramp' on the east side of the trail.|
|Some impressive granite monoliths line the trail on either side as you pass through the ever-deepening canyon heading down to the falls.|
|Halfway down the trail is
California Falls, which can be heard from the trail but only seen
partially through obscured views. A small, but obvious use
path off to the left will take you on a slight detour to a much better
view of the falls.
|Some of the granite in open areas along the trail have been smoothed by glacial movement to almost impossible smoothness.|
|Just about to the falls the canyon begins to drop off significantly, and many people have been known to mistakenly continue on down to the bridge over Return Creek 1/2 mile distant. Here Mark is checking out the best place for us to hang out at the falls.|
|Just at Waterwheel Falls, the
view further into the canyon is truly spectacular, and begs for further
exploration in the area on a future trip.
|A first glance at Waterwheel falls as we approached it from the east side. Others in the area actually crossed the river before the falls and scrambled along the rocks on the other side of the river as well.|
|Although the water was a little low in late August, the waterwheel effect was still visible as the dropping water hit hard off flat ledges on the way down, bouncing back up and being caught by the wind coming up the canyon to effectively create the Waterwheel Effect the falls are named for.|
|After a long hike to Glen Aulin and then down this canyon, Mark found a nice spot for us to soak our feet before we turned around to head back up the 3 1/2 miles to camp.|
|The upper section of the falls area, where we found a good spot to soak our feet before the return trip.|
|GPS Track of the full hike.|