“The highlights of this enjoyable loop include swimming holes and a high bridge that sways”
— Megan W
River/Creek · Swimming · Wildflowers
Easy trail surface combining pavement with dirt roads make the miles pass quickly. Kids will enjoy walking over the rushing Merced river on the skinny Swinging Bridge and swimming (if safe).
Consider this loop if you're interested in visiting the narrow wooden bridge spanning the Merced's South Fork but want a longer journey. The added mileage will ensure that you have earned a dip in the popular swimming holes. This circuit utilizes paved and dirt roads through the Wawona neighborhoods before reaching the Wawona Swinging Bridge Trail
and the Wawona swimming hole.
This counter-clockwise loop starts by leaving a car at either the Wawona Store or the Pioneer Yosemite History Center. Take Forest Drive uphill (and upstream) until the pavement ends, continuing past Camp Wawona. Parallel the river keeping an eye out for abundant wildflowers that abound here especially in early summer.
Approach the trail's namesake feature and cross the sturdy, but certainly moving wooden bridge. The highlight of this trail is the swimming. There are several chilly pools to splash about and wade in here, but as always use caution. There is also a natural rock waterslide (just upstream of the bridge) that some people scoot down if the water levels are just right. This is a great spot on a hot day to relax and cool off. Bring a picnic and enjoy!
When you're ready to press on, turn left and head northwest on the far side of the river. Pass downstream and gently downhill through the forest on the smooth Wawona Swinging Bridge Trail
. Ascend to the tiny parking area at the end of N. Chilnualna Falls Road.
Stay on the paved Chilnualna Falls Road past several cabins into the neighborhoods of Wawona. Turn off at the Wawona Stables, proceed through their property and cross the covered bridge near the Pioneer History Center. Complete the loop by arriving back at the parking area.