Besides being difficult to say, Illilouette Falls is famous for being among the most gorgeous falls you’ll see in Yosemite. At 370 feet, these falls are not as big or as well-known as the other falls here, but the heavy flow renders them spectacular, particularly during the spring and early summer (though the vantage point isn’t the greatest, even at the culmination of this trailhead). Even better, the hike itself is quite enjoyable, filled with pretty scenery, and a descent enough difficulty gradient that should make any hiker’s day. Other than that, you’ll also have some great views of Vernal and Nevada Falls, the Royal Arches, the back of Half Dome, and North Dome.
Hiking Time and Length
At 4-5 miles, depending on whether or not you visit the Panorama Point Vista, Illilouette Falls isn’t particularly long, so you should be able to finish in around 2-4 hours. But, keep in mind that, because of the elevation change—nearly 1420 feet—you might find your ears popping at some point in the trail. Fortunately, this is a negative change, so you do not have to worry too much about steepness, though it does steadily climb on the way back.
We would call it medium, but there is a somewhat long climb back to your car at Glacier Point. Plus, you can make it a much more difficult trip if you continue along this trail to the top of the Mist Trail and all the way to Yosemite Valley. That increases the length to around 8.5 miles one way, and renders it one of the more difficult hikes in Yosemite.
Best Time to Visit
Come during the spring or early summer, when the wildflowers are blooming and the falls are at their heaviest flow. This is when you’ll get the most picturesque views.