Just inside Yosemite’s south gate, the town of Wawona is an incredible place for “time-travelers” to connect with Yosemite’s history and unique outdoor adventures. It was established in 1857 by Galen Cark with the goal of offering lodging to travelers on their way to Yosemite Valley. The previous year, the 42-year-old Clark had been told that, because of the condition of his lungs, he could die “at any hour”. It would be 54 years before that day came.
- Wawona is less than 8 miles from Tenaya at Yosemite and is open year-round.
Trails Accessible from Wawona
- Wawona Meadow Loop – Dog-friendly and just over 3 miles, Wawona Meadow Loop is the perfect low-effort day hike. Head up Chowchilla Mountain Road directly across from the entrance to Big Trees Lodge. Walk on the paved path across the Wawona Golf Course to the trailhead.
- Chilnualna Falls Trail – One of the hidden gems of Yosemite, Chilnualna Falls is a set of three waterfalls. It is an 8.4-mile roundtrip hike that features flowing cascades, views of Wawona Dome, and in late spring, miles of Mountain Misery flowers (Chamaebatia foliolosa). To get to the trailhead, pass through the town of Wawona heading toward Yosemite Valley. Take a right on Chilnualna Falls Road and look for well-marked trailhead parking.