Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River in Yosemite

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Grand Canyon of Tuolumne River

The Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River in Yosemite National Park runs through the valley of the Tuolumne River where visitors enjoy many natural features that make the park unique. Read More

  • Enjoy the spectacular natural features in the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River
  • Located in Yosemite National Park, off Tioga Road
  • Take a day hike to the rim from White Wolf Campground
  • Embark on a hike of 30 miles from Tuolumne Meadows through the canyon
  • Fish at Hetch Hetchy Reservoir

Overview

The Grand Canyon of Tuolumne River is a must-see destination when visiting Yosemite, particularly if you love to hike and see some incredible natural wonders.

Location & Information

The Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River starts below Tuolumne Meadows and ends just above Hetch Hetchy Valley. For a day hike to the canyon, you should start from White Wolf Campground. You can get to this campground from the Arch Rock Entrance by taking Big Oak Flat Road left and turning right on Tioga Road. Continue on this road until you reach the turn for the campground. You can also start a longer hike from Tuolumne Meadows, further along Tioga Road.

You will only be able to reach the canyon in the summer, as Tioga Road is closed from the first large winter storm (typically in November) until late May or early June.

Contact information:
Yosemite National Park
Public Information
P.O. Box 577
Yosemite, CA 95389
209-372-0200

Activities

The only way to see the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River and the amazing features of this canyon is to do some hiking. You’ll find a couple trails taking you to this amazing Yosemite natural wonder.

Hiking from White Wolf Campground
From this campground, it is a day hike to the rim of the canyon. Really take on this challenging trail by going all the way to Tuolumne Meadows, a 30.6-mile trek with every type of terrain imaginable. You’ll drop down into Pate Valley and then to the floor of the Tuolumne River.

Hiking from Tuolumne Meadows
Begin on your journey just below Tuolumne Meadows, taking this hike into the Pate Valley, past waterfalls, glaciated valleys and other beautiful scenery.

Highlights

  • Glen Aulin
    Just below the confluence of Conness Creek and the Tuolumne River, you will come to Glen Aulin. This is Gaelic for “beautiful valley,” and that’s what it is.
  • Waterwheel Falls
    The most famous waterfall along this trail, Waterwheel Falls gives forth a circular plume of water as the wind whips through the canyon. This falls is located eight miles from Tuolumne Meadows.
  • Muir Gorge
    This impressive chasm is one amazing feature to view as you explore the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River. The lower walls of the canyon come together to form this spectacular gorge.
  • Pate Valley
    Below the Muir Gorge, the Grand Canyon widens and you come upon the broad plain of Pate Valley. Here the Yosemite wilderness seems to swallow you, but you push on because you know there are even more amazing sights to see.
  • Hetch Hetchy Reservoir
    The Hetch Hetchy Reservoir was created by the building of the O’Shaughnessy Dam, and offers some stunning views. Enjoy the steep granite walls and the surrounding natural beauty. You can even do some fishing here.

Fun Facts

Between the eastern tip of the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and where the trail starts its climb to White Wolf Campground, there lies only a trackless wilderness. These completely untouched and natural areas do still exist in the United States!

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