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Good time to go see Waterwheel falls this year?

Hiking, backpacking, running, biking, climbing, rafting, and other human-powered activities in Yosemite National Park

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Good time to go see Waterwheel falls this year?

Postby wehiker » Sun May 06, 2018 7:12 pm

Hello,
I am interested in camping at Glen Aulin area and then going to see Waterwheel falls. I will be hiking the HSC the first week of August but I wondered if the falls by that point may be less impressive. I currently have no plans for Memorial Day weekend but I am guessing there will be a lot of snow still on trail at that point. As I have limited experience hiking in snow, any suggestions of a good time to go that balances the amount of snow on trail with water level of falls? Thanks for your assistance.
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Re: Good time to go see Waterwheel falls this year?

Postby Phil » Sun May 06, 2018 10:23 pm

Your best time for seeing the actual "waterwheel" is from now (when Tioga Rd opens for the season) until roughly the end of June. After that, it's a nice complex of falls that's worth seeing, but nowhere near as spectacular as earlier in the season. Memorial Day weekend is notoriously crowded and hard to get permits for, but you shouldn't have too big of a balancing problem with snow and hiking, if any problem at all, as it's a fairly low elevation. Your biggest issues early are going to be some trail flooding down by Glen Aulin proper and mosquitoes. But by August, the flow has dissipated to the point where it'll really be not much more than water flowing over big granite slabs and some boulders. And, that gorge is going to be blazing hot in August, too. If possible, go earlier, go midweek. Also, in that, skip the backpackers area for camping and go down canyon with a Glen Aulin pass-through permit. Lots of beautiful sites down by Waterwheel and La Conte Falls.
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Re: Good time to go see Waterwheel falls this year?

Postby wehiker » Mon May 07, 2018 6:13 pm

Phil,
Your advice was very helpful in my planning. I'll have to see if the available permits will work with my schedule but if not this year I'll know for next year.
Thanks again for your help :D
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