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Chilnualna Falls to Royal Arch Lake Trail

Intermediate
 3.5 (2)

A backcountry trail that passes three beautiful lakes within the Yosemite Wilderness.


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Map Key

7.8

Miles

12.6

KM

Point to Point

8,544' 2,604 m

High

6,436' 1,962 m

Low

2,389' 728 m

Up

328' 100 m

Down

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

25%

Max Grade (14°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers

Description

Starting right above Chilnualna Falls, this trail leads you further into the backcountry of the southern Yosemite Wilderness and passes three breathtaking lakes on the way. The trail ascends steadily from the very beginning and climbs more than 2,000 feet. Pass a tributary to Chilnualna Creek and head southeast. You cross Chilnualna Creek after half a mile. The trail parallels the creek for a while but at a distance. At 2.7 miles, the trail from Deer Camp joins on the left. Continue east through lodgepole pine and red fir forest interspersed with wildflower meadows.

Grouse Lake is on your right at 4.8 miles. The faint trail to the lake is easy to miss as the lake itself is hidden in the trees. Grouse Lake is the smallest of the three lakes on this trail. The highlights are Crescent Lake at 6 miles and Johnson Lake at 6.9 miles. A short spur trail leads to each of these lakes and along part of the lakeshore. Crescent Lake is surrounded by vast wildflower meadows and a great camping spot (keep a safe distance from the lake). Johnson Lake is framed by forest, but a few camping spots can be found on the southwest side a little up the slope. The area around both lakes is heavily mosquito ridden for the first half of the season. You reach the junction to Royal Arch Lake and Buena Vista Lake after another mile past Johnson Lake.

Contacts

Land Manager: NPS - Yosemite

Shared By:

Tilman Giese

Trail Ratings

  3.5 from 2 votes

#20067

Overall
  3.5 from 2 votes
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Trail Rankings

#2,093

in California

#20,067

Overall
10 Views Last Month
703 Since Apr 4, 2019
Intermediate

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Photos

West side of Johnson Lake
Apr 3, 2019 near Yosemit…, CA
Johnson Lake
Apr 3, 2019 near Yosemit…, CA
Crescent Creek
Apr 3, 2019 near Yosemit…, CA
Numerous dead trees line the trail to Grouse Lake
Apr 3, 2019 near Yosemit…, CA
Lodgepole pine and red fir next to the trail
Apr 3, 2019 near Yosemit…, CA

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Check-Ins

Jul 5, 2018
Tilman Giese
Jul 5, 2018
Kevin McShane
Only lower part
Jun 11, 2017
Robert Kubicki