"Mattie Falls"

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

About “Mattie Falls”

Hiking Distance: 12 miles round trip
Suggested Time: 8-10 hours

Date first visited: 2004-05-30
Date last visited: 2004-06-05

Waterfall Latitude: 37.92686
Waterfall Longitude: -119.43718

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

“Mattie Falls” is another waterfall that I unofficially named. Ordinarily, I’d disregard (or at least not give special treatment to) unknown and unnamed falls like this, but I made an exception in this instance because it was apparently responsible for flooding the Waterwheel Falls Trail.

So we have a few things to say about it.

Glen_Aulin_dayhike_009_05302004 - 'Mattie Falls'
‘Mattie Falls’

Apparently, when it flows, it inundates the Waterwheel Falls Trail in such a way that we either had to change shoes (which wasn’t an option the first time we did this hike) or figure out ways to cross logs and find edges of the flood region to try not to ruin backpacking boots.

Since my experience with this waterfall was limited to a two-week period on one particular dry year (at least dry enough to enable us to come to the high country around Memorial Day weekend), I can’t really say much more about its longevity other than no one else seemed to complain about it.

So that led me to believe that perhaps we cave early enough in the year where this waterfall caused trail issues and that later on in the Summer, the flooding (and quite possibly this waterfall) disappears.

As a result, I believe this waterfall was one of those good news/bad news types.

It was good news for waterfall viewing since it was yet another tall and decent waterfall when we saw it flowing.

However, it was bad news because of its tendency to flood the trail! By the way, that flooded section meant lots of standing water, and that meant heaps of mosquitoes as the Summer heat intensified!

Mattie_Falls_006_06052004 - Another look at 'Mattie Falls' one week later when Mom and I did the Waterwheel Falls hike in a day
Another look at ‘Mattie Falls’ one week later when Mom and I did the Waterwheel Falls hike in a day

I gave the falls the name “Mattie Falls” because my topo map suggested that it was sourced by Lake Mattie along with some other unnamed body of water.

On the trail, we encountered this waterfall just after we passed another small unknown cascade but before we reached the start of California Falls nearly 2 miles from Glen Aulin.


“Mattie Falls” resides in Yosemite National Park. For information or inquiries about the park as well as current conditions, visit the National Park Service website.

Glen_Aulin_dayhike_002_05302004 - This small waterfall preceded the unofficially named 'Mattie Falls'
Glen_Aulin_dayhike_012_05302004 - The flooded trail
Glen_Aulin_dayhike_005_05302004 - Angled view towards the upper part of the so-called 'Mattie Falls'
Glen_Aulin_dayhike_016_05302004 - Looking up at 'Mattie Falls' after coming back from LeConte Falls on our first visit as part of a Glen Aulin backpacking trip
Mattie_Falls_007_06052004 - This was the trail after we made it past the flooding obstacle by 'Mattie Falls'

This waterfall is seen on the Waterwheel Falls Trail so you can see either the Tuolumne Falls or Waterwheel Falls pages for driving directions (though I highly doubt you’d come out this way just to see this waterfall).

To give you some context, this hike is accessible when the Tioga Road has been mostly snow free, which also means we would be able to access the trailhead from Mammoth Lakes (roughly an hours drive; 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: tuolumne, mariposa county, high country, yosemite, tioga, sierra, california, waterfall, glen aulin, waterwheel, tuolumne meadows, flood

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
Read More About Johnny | A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls.