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Trip Report: Quartz Mountain Trailhead to Chilnualna Falls

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

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Trip Report: Quartz Mountain Trailhead to Chilnualna Falls

Postby SnowdoniaWales » Sun Oct 02, 2016 9:22 pm

Hike from Quartz Mountain Trailhead near Chiquito Lake, Trailhead, and pass to Chilnualna Falls Trailhead, Wawona via Buck Camp Ranger Station, Crescent Lake, Chilnualna Falls, and finally ending at the Chilnualna Falls trailhead.

On September 30th, I left my vehicle at Chilnualna Falls trailhead and it took just under two hours to arrive at the Quartz Mountain trailhead driving from the Wawona area to the Quartz Mountain trailhead. I started the hike around 1pm. The hike starts around 8,200 feet or so, and the trail does descend and ascend several times. In fact, the trail descends to the mid 7000’s and then goes back up to 8500 feet at Crescent Lake. After leaving Crescent Lake, the trail descends most of the way to Chilnualna Falls and finally descends the 2,000 feet or so from the falls to the Chilnualna trailhead.

I jogged portions of the hike, but I did stop for a respite and to take in the surroundings at the Buck Camp Ranger Station, Crescent Lake, and Chilnualna Falls. Although the hike was not as spectacular as other areas of Yosemite National Park, I really enjoyed some of the views of the higher granitic peaks and passes to the east and enjoyed the old log cabin style of Buck Camp Ranger Station. Also, to mention was Crescent Lake. Although there were lots of reeds and vegetation in and around the lake, the bird wildlife was incredibly abundant during my visit. Lastly, I really enjoyed hiking down to Chilnualna Falls. The rock formations and views were fantastic as the sun was beginning to set in the early evening. I arrived at Chilnualna Falls around 6pm, but due to a muscle cramp and a short respite at the Falls, I arrived at the Chilnualna Falls trailhead around 8pm. I took a lot of ibuprofen the next day. Luckily my headlamp was working well, because it got dark quickly. To note, I didn’t see anyone from start to finish. I would have thought I would have seen a few individuals returning to the Chilnualna Falls trailhead late like me, but alas no one was on the trail.

My mileage chart said I did around 20 miles. The National Geographic map calculated the mileage to be around 19.4 miles. Would I recommend this one day hike? Yes, and no. It’s a lot of driving which is always a pain. Also, the mileage is high. You also would need someone nice to drop off your vehicle and that is not always easy to find. The scenery wasn’t fantastic, but still it’s Yosemite, so I enjoyed it. Would I do it again? Maybe. I want to try different hikes that cover a lot of distance, I will probably not do this for a long time, or I may decide to do a similar hike in the same area but mix up the trails. End of report.
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Re: Trip Report: Quartz Mountain Trailhead to Chilnualna Fa

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Oct 03, 2016 9:08 am

Since the forecasts are turning to snow down to 6000 feet, I doubt it will get much traffic.

Thanks for coming back to let us know how it went. That isn't a heavily traveled area, but it can be popular in the height of summer. The Quartz trailhead will probably be under snow shortly... I am hoping it will all be snow bound in a month or two, as that would mean a return to a real winter.
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