- Visit Hetch Hetchy Reservoir to enjoy stunning waterfalls and natural beauty
- Located within Yosemite National Park but away from the crowds
- Fish for rainbow, brook and brown trout in the reservoir from the shore
- Hiking from the trailhead by the lake will take you to Tueeulala, Wapama, and Rancheria Falls
Hetch Hetchy Reservoir is a reservoir in Yosemite National Park, formed by the O'Shaughnessy Dam in Hetch Hetchy Valley. Here you can get away from the crowds and relax in the surrounding beauty, take some marvelous hikes and enjoy the waterfalls along the way.
Location & Information
The reservoir is can be reached by way of California Highway 120, taking Evergreen Road one mile west of the Big Oak Flat entrance station, then the Hetch Hetchy Road, following it 16 miles to the end at the parking lot above O'Shaughnessy Dam.
The road to Hetch Hetchy is closed from October to June.
Yosemite National Park
PO Box 577
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389
Although swimming and boating are not permitted on the lake (it is a non-filtered water supply for the Bay area), you’ll find the fishing and hiking are the best.
You’ll find rainbow, brook and brown trout in the reservoir, and can fish for them only from the shore. A successful spot to fish is on the stretch of Tuolumne River above the reservoir. There are regulations on fishing the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir so be sure to familiarize yourself with them before beginning your fishing excursion. Daily bag limit is 5 for the reservoir and 2 for the Tuolumne River.
There are a number of trailheads by the reservoir, and hiking to the waterfalls is a favorite pastime. You can access the trailheads from the parking lot above the dam. Hiking to Wapama Falls is a 4-mile round trip hike, but if you decide to include Rancheria Falls, it will be a 13-mile trip there and back. Enjoy the interpretive plaques as you cross the dam, and view Hetch Hetchy Dome. Pass by Tueeulala Falls before you reach Wapama Falls, spilling 1,200 feet over a granite precipice. Continue on this scenic winding trail to reach Rancheria Falls, and take in the stunning views from the top.
The primary purpose for the creation of the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir was to supply drinking water to the San Francisco Bay Area. It currently provides 85% of the area’s water needs.
The name of Hetch Hetchy comes from a Native American term for a grass that has edible seeds and grows in this area.