The Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne

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Yosemite National Park, CA 95389- Map It

AAA Editor Notes

The Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne can be traversed only on foot; Waterwheel Falls is accessible by a trail 6 mi. from Tioga Rd. along the Tuolumne River Gorge to Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp, then 3 mi. down the river. At Waterwheel Falls the rushing river hits shelves of projecting rock with terrific force, throwing enormous arcs of water into the air; this spectacle is best viewed mid-June to mid-July. Below the falls the river descends abruptly, plunging through a mile-deep gorge. Trails lead to Pate Valley, where only ancient mortar holes remain as a reminder of the Native Americans who once lived in this region. North of the Tuolumne River is a vast expanse of lakes and valleys. Although crisscrossed by numerous trails, this area is not often visited and offers a true wilderness experience. Hikers should inquire in advance about trail conditions.