- Wawona is surrounded by the towering peaks of Yosemite National Park
- Located at the southern entrance to the park
- Visit the Pioneer History Center to get a look into the past of Yosemite
- Hike to Chilnualna Falls for a challenging trek
- Mariposa Grove is a must-see when in Wawona
The town of Wawona California in Yosemite National Park is a unique community in that it was established prior to the founding of Yosemite. About 160 people live here year-round, but the population increases during peak tourist seasons. It’s a great place to visit when in Yosemite, with a number of recreational opportunities and some special sights to see nearby.
Location & Information
Wawona CA is easy to visit. From Yosemite Valley, go south on Highway 41. The town is located at the south entrance to the park.
Wawona is accessible the year round.
Yosemite National Park
P.O. Box 577
Yosemite, CA 95389
Wawona has all the amenities of any small town, including a post office, a library, gas station and grocery stores. But you’ll find many other advantages to coming to this small town within Yosemite.
- Pioneer History Center
Nearby, the Pioneer History Center offers a look into Yosemite’s past. Tour some Old West structures such as a covered bridge, the George Anderson Pioneer Home, an old blacksmith shop and a cavalry office.
- Wawona Dome
Here you’ll find a great climbing destination. The Wawona Dome can be seen towering above Wawona.
- Chilnualna Falls
From the eastern end of Wawona, you can find a trailhead that will lead you to Chilnualna Falls. This marvelous cascade totals 690 feet, with five tiers of waterfalls. Be ready for a strenuous hike, however.
- Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia
Mariposa Grove is the largest grove of Giant Sequoias in the park. With several hundred trees, two of which are the largest Giant Sequoias in the world, Mariposa is a place you can’t miss when in Wawona.
Many trailheads from Wawona take you into the backcountry and all around this lovely valley. Hike the Swinging Bridge Loop for an easy 4.8-mile hike starting at the Wawona store. You can hike to Mariposa Grove, a 6-mile moderate hike that starts behind the Wawona Hotel. Hiking to Chilnualna Falls is a strenuous 8.2-mile roundtrip hike with beautiful views.
Here is some interesting Wawona California information:
Wawona was the Native American Miwok word for “big tree.” They also called it “Pallachun,” which means “a good place to stay.”
Galen Clark lived here in 1856. He was the man who worked to obtain preservation legislation for the Mariposa Grove and Yosemite National Park.
Wawona has been known by many names in the past, including Big Tree Station, Clark’s Ranch, Clark’s Station and Wah-wo-nah.