Hetch Hetchy Waterfalls (Yosemite)

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Hetch Hetchy Waterfalls were our waterfalling excuse to explore this often-forgotten part of Yosemite National Park. When I look at my Yosemite Road Guide and see an old photo of Hetch Hetchy Valley before it got flooded, I always think about how eerie it is to see its resemblance to Yosemite Valley. After a bitter struggle between conservationists and the interests of San Francisco over the damming of the Tuolumne River, the politicians got their wish. In its aftermath, the city of San Francisco got their drinking water, the National Park Service authority was undermined, and some even say this led to the death of Sierra Club founder and environmentalist John Muir. Today, the valley now has an almost fjord-like appearance with vertical cliffs rising sharply from the manmade lake. While the valley features are gone, the giant granite features and the waterfalls still remain.

Hetch Hetchy could very well be Yosemite National Park's best kept secret. It even has its own separate northwest entrance into the park. If you're already in the main part of Yosemite, you'd have to leave the park and then re-enter it to get here. Such remoteness means you will have a quieter and more memorable experience in Hetch Hetchy.

The major waterfall of this area is Wapama Falls. If Tueeulala Fall flows, it really adds to the incredible panorama of Hetch Hetchy Valley. Add to that the backcountry swimming holes at Rancheria Falls as well as several unnamed waterfalls, and you too might be wondering what might have been had the area remain in its natural state.

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To get a glimpse of what each waterfall looks like, check out the table below. Click on the waterfalls to read more about them.

Profile view of Tueeulala Fall in a satisfying late spring flow 2 Tueeulala Fall

Looking up at Wapama Falls 3.5 Wapama Falls

Looking up at one of the unnamed falls in Hetch Hetchy 1.5 Unnamed Waterfalls in Hetch Hetchy

Tilltill Creek Falls as seen just past the footbridge on the Rancheria Falls Trail 1.5 "Tilltill Creek Falls"

The first of many of the Rancheria Falls 1.5 Rancheria Falls

Carlon Falls 2 Carlon Falls

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