Carlon Falls is a seldom visited ‘gem’ within the Tuolumne River watershed that offers great hiking, views, wildflowers, and waterfalls early in the summer. The falls were named after Donna Carlon, who owned a resort built in 1919 that was located just inside the Yosemite National Park boundary. Although the trail begins in the Stanislaus National Forest, it soon enters the western boundary of Yosemite National Park, following the South Fork of the Tuolumne River. The trail is covered in shade most of the way and meanders through mixed coniferous forest and riparian woodlands. Once you reach Carlon Falls, you’ll want to take plenty of time to relax, swim, and enjoy the views of the 45 foot high waterfall. For those that would like to explore further, a short trail continues above the falls where there are more opportunities to wade and swim in smaller, but equally beautiful pools and polished boulders along the river.
Directions: To reach the Carlon Falls trailhead, take Highway 120 towards Yosemite. Just before reaching the Park boundary, turn left onto Evergreen Road towards Camp Mather and Hetch Hetchy. Follow the road for about a mile and look for a pullout on the north side of the bridge near the Carlon Falls Day Use Area. That parking area serves as the trailhead.