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Chilnualna Falls, red-headed step child

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Chilnualna Falls, red-headed step child
May 24, 2007 11:14AM
Why is it that the Chilnualna Falls hike gets no love? It's one of the nicest hikes I've ever been on, and it features more water and more falls than the Mist Trail (and every other trail I've hiked in Yosemite).

But it rarely gets mentioned. When people say they want to see waterfalls, it's always mist trail, mist trail, mist trail. The Mist trail is beautiful and the falls are great, so I don't want to seem like I'm trying to take away from the niceness of that trail. It's just that Chilnualna has way more going on in terms of water, and the multi-tiered cascade is stunning.

So how did Chilnualna Falls get to be the red-headed stepchild of Yosemite hikes?
Re: Chilnualna Falls, red-headed step child
May 24, 2007 03:47PM
I feel that you have a funny perspective on Chilnualna - it has never struck me as superior to the Mist Trail in any way. The water flow is decidely smaller than the Merced River, the falls are smaller, and the hike itself is slightly longer and requires much more effort to get to the first big reward, which is a distant partial view of the biggest cataract. Not only that, but let's face it, the Mist Trail is one of the most scenically-endowed walks in America, even without the waterfalls - the Chilnualna hike through cedar forest and miner's misery, with occasional views of Wawona Dome, as pretty as it is, really is not in the same league.

On the other hand, I would not consider it a red-headed stepchild either. Taken on its own terms, the hike there (and for that matter the walk to Alder Creek Falls) are well worth the effort and very rewarding. In fact, one of the nicest things about Chilnualna is that, while it is a big impressive waterfall, it is also created on a human scale, with many places to play in the water without fear on a warm summer day. It is also far less crowded (usually) than the Mist Trail, and that may hold much attraction for some folks.

Alder Creek Falls is unfortunately difficult to approach closely, but once one is nearby, there is no doubt that it is an impressive cataract. I'd love to get to the bottom of it someday.





Wilderness forever,
Bruce Jensen
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