Wildcat Falls

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Static Google Map of Wildcat Falls

About Wildcat Falls


Hiking Distance: 1/2 mile round trip
Suggested Time: 15-30 minutes

Date first visited: 2002-05-30
Date last visited: 2005-04-29

Waterfall Latitude: 37.72361
Waterfall Longitude: -119.71647

Wildcat Falls was definitely one of the more obscure waterfalls we’ve found in the park. The funny thing was that most people driving along the El Portal Road zooming past this waterfall without even knowing it was there! Not only that, but it was practically the next door neighbor to the semi-famous Cascade Falls.

The reason why it was so easily overlooked was because it was largely concealed by vegetation and there didn’t appear to be any infrastructure recognizing it. Indeed, this had the feeling more like it was one for the waterfall collectors like us. So with its understatedness, we were also able to enjoy the waterfall by ourselves (aside from the mosquitoes).

To access the base of this waterfall, we started from the car park for Cascade Falls, then we had to walk about 1/4-mile along Route 140 on the north side of the road until we reached Wildcat Creek. That was when we spotted a trail of use that led through the vegetation and right towards the attractive base of the falls. Before entering the vegetation, we were also able to see some of the upper sections of the waterfall by looking up towards the top end of the cliff looming over us.

Another way we were able to see the uppermost tiers of Wildcat Falls was from Turtleback Dome. The details about this viewpoint could be found in the Cascade Falls page.

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You basically use the car park for Cascade Falls to access this waterfall. As you drive Route 140 between the Arch Rock Entrance and the Route 140/120 junction, look for signpost M1 about 1.7 miles west of the Route 140/120 junction.

As mentioned earlier, in order to get the Turtleback Dome perspective, read the Cascade Falls page.

For a little context, Wildcat Falls is about 15 minutes drive east of El Portal, which itself is about 45 minutes east of Mariposa. Mariposa is about 3 hours drive east of San Francisco.

From the south (the route we tend to prefer since we’re coming from Los Angeles), we drive for about 3.5 hours to Fresno, then continue onto the South Entrance of Yosemite via Oakhurst before entering Yosemite Valley. We’d then head west out of the valley towards the Cascades Picnic Area. This drive would take us over 6 hours.

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Tagged with: oakhurst, el portal, mariposa, yosemite, merced, turtleback dome, wawona, tunnel, arch rock, big oak flat, california, waterfall, sierra

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