White Cascade (Glen Aulin Falls)

Yosemite National Park / Glen Aulin, California, USA

Rating: 2     Difficulty: 4.5
The White Cascade (also called Glen Aulin Falls)

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

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) and terminating 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. 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 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). 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 because it would be 11 miles round trip 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. So we can't say much more about what the other trails do.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

White Cascade and morning rainbowWhite Cascade and morning rainbow
Gorgeous view of the Tuolumne River and surrounding granite peaks from the vicinity of the Glen Aulin High Sierra CampGorgeous view of the Tuolumne River and surrounding granite peaks from the vicinity of the Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp
On my first visit to Glen Aulin, we had backpacked there on the heels of a storm so there were reflective pools of water in Tuolumne Meadows like what's shown hereOn my first visit to Glen Aulin, we had backpacked there on the heels of a storm so there were reflective pools of water in Tuolumne Meadows like what's shown here
Looking over the brink of White Cascade with granite peaks in the backgroundLooking over brink of the falls with granite peaks in the background

Looking across the brink of White Cascade towards more granite wilderness to the northLooking across the brink of White Cascade towards more granite wilderness to the north

Contextual view of White Cascade just as we were crossing the footbridges over the Tuolumne River and heading into the Glen Aulin High Sierra CampContextual view of White Cascade just as we were crossing the footbridges over the Tuolumne River and heading into the Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp

Looking at a split of White Cascade in the morningLooking at a split of the cascade in the morning

White Cascade and Tuolumne Falls seen together from near the High Sierra CampSome of the constituent components of the Glen Aulin Falls ensemble (White Cascade and Tuolumne Falls) seen together from near the High Sierra Camp.

White Cascade in the afternoon with the moonAfternoon view of the waterfall from the shores adjacent to the Tuolumne Meadows-Glen Aulin Trail. Note the tiny moon hovering above it.

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 CascadeThis 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


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS




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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

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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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



Click here for the full World of Waterfalls map





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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES





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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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RELATED PAGES



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