Lee Vining Canyon Waterfalls

Yosemite National Park / Lee Vining, California, USA

About Lee Vining Canyon Waterfalls

Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2004-06-04
Date last visited: 2004-06-05

Waterfall Latitude: 37.94067
Waterfall Longitude: -119.22603

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

The Lee Vining Canyon Waterfalls are waterfalls tumbling into the steep, avalanche-prone area that links the Tioga Pass Entrance of Yosemite to the Mono Lake Basin.

Given the volume of snow that typically forms here, these waterfalls were really my excuse to showcase the ephemeral waterfalls here while also showing some of the surrounding scenery (which are attractions themselves).

Lee_Vining_007_06042004 - The Ellery Lake Waterfall, one of the handful of waterfalls in Lee Vining Canyon
The Ellery Lake Waterfall, one of the handful of waterfalls in Lee Vining Canyon

Perhaps the most noticeable of the falls in this V-shaped canyon is the one fed by the regulated Ellery Lake (pictured above).

The watercourse fed by Ellery Lake also continues to cascade as it makes its way towards Mono Lake. We also noticed longer cascading further down the road (pictured below).

These falls aren’t anything to get worked up about, but I thought I’d mention them anyways while also showing some of the scenery that might motivate you to make the scenic drive around Lee Vining and into Yosemite’s High Country via the Tioga Pass at the park’s eastern boundary.


Lee Vining Canyon Waterfalls reside just outside Yosemite National Park. For information or inquiries about the park as well as current conditions, visit the National Park Service website.

Lee_Vining_006_06042004 - Closer look at the waterfall beneath Ellery Lake
Lee_Vining_011_06042004 - Contextual look at the waterfall beneath Ellery Lake
Lee_Vining_033_06052004 - A long cascade tumbling its way into Lee Vining Canyon
Lee_Vining_018_06042004 - Looking into the rugged and steep Lee Vining Canyon from the Tioga Pass Road

Technically, Lee Vining Canyon is not part of Yosemite National Park, but I’ve included the waterfalls here since you’re bound to see a few of them if you head into the park through the Tioga Pass in the early weeks of Summer. The Tioga Road is a Summer-only road and closes in the Autumn, Winter, and even the Spring months (depending on snowpack).

To give you some context of Lee Vining Canyon, it was roughly an hours drive north of Mammoth Lakes, where the Hwy 120 turnoff from Hwy 395 is just south of Lee Vining. Mammoth Lakes is roughly 5 hours drive from Los Angeles via the Hwy 14 and Hwy 395.

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Tagged with: lee vining, mono, mariposa county, yosemite, tioga, 120, sierra, california, waterfall, ellery lake

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Lee Vining Creek Falls February 25, 2023 9:10 pm by Philipp Merillat - Lee Vining Creek Falls are a short drive below Ellery Lake Falls on the TIoga Pass Canyon Road. The falls can be viewed at a pull off. There is no hiking trail to the falls when I visited the area several years ago. ...Read More
Ellery Lake Falls December 20, 2020 9:11 pm by Philipp Merillat - Ellery Lake Falls is at the top of Tioga Pass Canyon and east of Ellery Lake by the eastern entrance to Yosemite. There are campgrounds at Ellery Lake in the Inyo National Forest. The historic mining ghost town of Bennettville in the area is worth a visit. The falls can be viewed from several pull… ...Read More
Spectacular Waterfall this time of year… July 5, 2011 11:08 pm by Kristine E. - Drove into Yosemite and passed this waterfall along the way...due to the large amount of snowfall this year, this waterfall was an absolute beauty to see. ...Read More

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