White Cascade (Glen Aulin Falls)

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

About White Cascade (Glen Aulin Falls)

Hiking Distance: 11 miles round trip
Suggested Time: 6-8 hours

Date first visited: 2004-05-29
Date last visited: 2004-06-05

Waterfall Latitude: 37.90723
Waterfall Longitude: -119.41915

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

The White Cascade (also referred to as Glen Aulin Falls) was the second major waterfall along the Tuolumne River that we encountered as we hiked from Tuolumne Meadows to the Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp.

Its main tier is said to fall roughly 50ft even though it’s really part of a continuous stretch of cascading whitewater that started well upstream before Tuolumne Falls (just around the footbridge crossing the river).

Glen_Aulin_Falls_009_05292004 - Glen Aulin Falls by the High Sierra Camp
Glen Aulin Falls by the High Sierra Camp

The stretch of whitewater terminated further downstream of the cascade below the Glen Aulin camp.

We spent a couple nights at the adjacent Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp as part of a 3 day 2 night backpack so we had plenty of time to enjoy this waterfall at various times of the day.

In fact, we thought this campsite was well situated as it was a perfect spot to refill on water at the waterfall’s plunge pool as well as relaxing by its shores.

The only inconvenience was that there was a bear that visited this camping area frequently looking for a freebie.

Glen_Aulin_008_06052004 - White Cascade or Glen Aulin Falls with an early morning rainbow
White Cascade or Glen Aulin Falls with an early morning rainbow

I’m guessing it already had a taste of high energy human food and didn’t want to go back to nuts, plants, and insects.

Nonetheless, we could totally see why the High Sierra Camp would be bustling with activity in the Summer months.

Fortunately for us, we happened to show up before they were open for business so it was pretty much backpackers only on the Memorial Day weekend in 2004 that we did this.

The High Sierra Camp and waterfall are about a half-mile beyond Tuolumne Falls (the trail description leading up to Tuolumne Falls is on a separate page).

Glen_Aulin_camp_009_05302004 - Looking back at the full height of the White Cascade and a hint of Tuolumne Falls from an outcrop near the Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp
Looking back at the full height of the White Cascade and a hint of Tuolumne Falls from an outcrop near the Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp

Having made it this far into the hike, I have to believe that day trippers using this waterfall as a turnaround point must be real dedicated and determined.

That’s because it would be 11 miles round trip with over 500ft elevation loss (or gain on the way back).

The Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp was also a junction spot where a few other trails branched out from the Tuolumne River Trail.

However, in order to continue towards more waterfalls on the Tuolumne River, we merely intended to follow the trail that flanked the river.

Glen_Aulin_camp_003_05302004 - Gorgeous view of the Tuolumne River and surrounding granite peaks from the vicinity of the Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp
Gorgeous view of the Tuolumne River and surrounding granite peaks from the vicinity of the Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp

So we can’t say much more about what the other trails do.


White Cascade or Glen Aulin Falls resides in Yosemite National Park near Mammoth Lakes in Mono County, California. It is administered by the National Park Service. For information or inquiries about the park as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Glen_Aulin_026_05292004 - Looking over the brink of White Cascade with granite peaks in the background
Glen_Aulin_028_05292004 - Looking across the brink of White Cascade towards more granite wilderness to the north
Glen_Aulin_Falls_014_05292004 - Contextual view of White Cascade just as we were crossing the footbridges over the Tuolumne River and heading into the Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp
Glen_Aulin_Falls_015_05302004 - Looking at a split of White Cascade in the morning
Glen_Aulin_camp_019_05302004 - White Cascade and Tuolumne Falls seen together from near the High Sierra Camp
Glen_Aulin_Falls_001_05292004 - White Cascade in the afternoon with the moon
Glen_Aulin_camp_018_05302004 - This cascade just downstream of the Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp marked the end of the stretch of whitewater that started above Tuolumne Falls and ended below the White Cascade

This waterfall shares the same trail as that of Tuolumne Falls.

So see that page for the directions and most of the trail description through Tuolumne Meadows.

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

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My Glen Aulin Backpacking Trip October 31, 2008 5:34 am by Adrian - My most successful backpacking trip was from Tuolumne Meadows to Glen Aulin with my two sons, my nephew, my oldest son's friend, and two of my best friends (the two handsome old guys on the right side of the picture). To see all the water falls in the early summer is truly beautiful. The trip… ...Read More

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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.
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