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I go, I see, I do, I walk, I think, I like…

Fern Ledge and Yosemite Falls

From Yosemite Explorer – Yosemite in pictures:

Fern Ledge: John Muir’s Yosemite Falls

There is nothing in Yosemite Valley quite like a hike to Fern Ledge. Within minutes, the Fern Ledge hike will take you from the bustling, crowded, Lower Yosemite Falls area to a quiet, unmaintained trail that leads you past dense beds of flowers (Elegant Brodieia, Larkspur, Yawning Penstemmon, Live Forever, Giant Red Paintbrushes and more), winding up open slabs leading to Fern Ledge, the most staggering place from which to experience Yosemite Falls. Jutting out into the actual waterfall about 200 feet from the bottom and 1400 feet from the top, you can lie on your back for hours and watch the water comets cascade down past you. Fern Ledge was a favorite spot of John Muir’s and the site of Ansel Adams’ famous photo looking up Upper Yosemite Falls. (And my not famous photo of the same, which, surprisingly, is not as good as Ansel’s.) That said, though the hike is [Yosemite Explorer – Yosemite in pictures]

Follow the link to the full article at Yosemite Explorer – it is full of background information and trail information.


June 19, 2007 - Posted by | Trips, Yosemite


  1. Hi, Dan – I used your directions to try to attain Fern Ledge a few weeks back, and I had trouble early on. My son and I got up to the top of the rockslide all right, but where to make the left turn onto Sunnyside Bench – and what we would see there – just didn’t gel for us. After climbing the trail along the right side of the dry streambed, we did come across a spot where some cairns were in the woods on the right/east side of the streambed/slide/cliffs, and were able to turn left across the cliff face where they intersected the cliff (a snug turn – ha dto use both hands, both feet and a sturdy manzanita bush to sneak aorund that rock!), and found what looked like a trail, which we followed – apparently onto the bench…

    …but after about 100 yards, we came to a spot that *resembles* your photo of the “grapevine forest” but with no trail visible. Instead, just a large steeply slanting area of loose, deep soil and rocks. No trail on the other side. Per your suggestions, we decided not to go beyond that spot and risk ruining the vegetation or cause erosion (to say nothing of endangering our lives on that loose mass of stuff. My son saw a rattlesnake acting sliggish in a hole, so we did see some wildlife…

    If you please, does this match your recollection of the correct way to go, or did we turn left too soon/too late? I’d really love to try that route again…

    Bruce Jensen
    San Lorenzo, CA

    Comment by bpnjensen | January 25, 2008

  2. Hi, Bruce:

    Sorry, but I can’t be much help on that. The description on my site was just a quote from an article over at Yosemite Explorer – I’ve not been there myself yet. Sounds like quite an adventure though. Maybe this summer!

    In any case, the instructions and photo you mention were probably found at the Yosemite Explorer site. Maybe they can provide more details.

    Take care,


    Comment by Dan Mitchell | January 25, 2008

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