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Alder Creek Trail



7.0 mile 11.2 kilometer point to point
88% Runnable


Ascent: 1,910' 582 m
Descent: -350' -107 m
High: 6,411' 1,954 m
Low: 4,851' 1,479 m


Avg Grade: 6% (4°)
Max Grade: 29% (16°)


No Dogs
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Trail shared by Megan W

Uncrowded trail with plentiful wildflowers visits a 'secret' 100-foot waterfall few people ever see

Megan W

Features Birding · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Best season is mid-may to October. The relatively low elevation of this trail makes it a good early season option when other trails are still too snowy.

Runner Notes

Great running on the railroad bed portion of this trail. Very good trail surface and some of the flatest, long distance trail in Yosemite.


The unmarked trailhead is near a pullout and bear box, where Mosquito Creek crosses Wawona Road. Climb uphill steadily through dense groves of cedars and pine. You'll find plenty of solitude and early season wildflowers in abundance. At a small saddle, you'll come to a junction with the Wawona to Alder Creek Trail. Stay left here, heading east and uphill through dense, shadowy forest. Contour around a serene hillside that forms the headwaters for Mosquito Creek. Find evidence of the 2007 lightning-set fire and the fire line made by firefighters to protect Wawona.

For a time, the trail follows the railroad bed that the defunct Yosemite Lumber Company used to harvest sugar pine. Between 1920 and 1942 this area was clearcut. You can still find old wooden ties, rails, and scattered debris. Travel about 1 mile along the rail grade through blasted out sections and over small streams that drain into Alder Creek. After some travel over more mellow terrain, you hear the crashing Alder Fall. Viewing the falls from the trail above as they cascade down a tiered and polished rock wall is a great experience- and one you'll likely have to yourself. There are nice spots here to sit and have a rest or snack. Off-trail bushwhacking to the base of the falls is not recommended. (Be aware that the falls are much less impressive during droughts or late in summer)

Continue north along the railroad grade, making good time on the relatively flat ground. Join Alder Creek where it is pinched into a steep valley below Yosemite National Park Road. Follow alongside Alder Creek for the remainder of the route, crossing over to the western bank around the 5.5 mile mark. Soon after, the Deer Camp Road Bypass junction appears on the right. Stay left at this fork, continuing north and crossing more tributaries. The trail ends by climbing steeply up to Hennes Ridge Drive.

Flora & Fauna

Bear clover, fiesta flower, California Indian pink, lupine, snow plant, manzanita,cedar, oak, sugar pine, dogwood, mushrooms. Bears.

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Land Manager: NPS - Yosemite

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  4.5 from 2 votes
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20 Views Last Month
2,202 Since May 13, 2016



Alder Creek Falls Yosemite
May 6, 2019 near Yosemit…, CA
Saddle above Mosquito Creek, junction with trail from Wawona
May 6, 2019 near Midpines, CA
Mosquito Creek.
May 13, 2016 near Midpines, CA


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