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Carlon Falls Hike & Swimming Hole

Lake, River, or Waterfall
On the trail to Carlon Falls – Jen Botell

Carlon Falls is a year-round waterfall, except in times of drought, located on the South Fork of the Tuolumne River. The falls themselves are within the boundaries of Yosemite National Park, but the trailhead to hike to Carlon Falls begins at Carlon Day Use area in the Stanislaus National Forest on Evergreen Road.

To get to the falls, turn off of Highway 120 onto Evergreen Road, and go about 1 mile to the Carlon Day Use area. There are 3 parking areas, one on the road by the bridge crossing the south fork of the Tuolumne River, one on the right that is set back off the road on the south side of the river, and one on the left that leads to a nice picnic area with toilet facilities. Park in any of these areas.

From the bridge hike upstream with the river on your right side. The trail is fairly clearly marked for foot traffic use, and only has two short sections with a somewhat steep uphill/downhill climb. The hike is about 4.5 miles round trip.

There are a couple of nice swimming, sunning and picnicking areas before you get to the falls, great swimming right at and under the falls, and you can continue up the trail to the top of the falls where there are smaller pools of water for wading and further hiking.

The rocks can be VERY slippery, and the current can be strong in spring, take care walking and swimming safely. This is a wonderful nature hike, and great swimming spot on a hot day!

Recreational Opportunities

Hiking, swimming, picnicking, and fishing.


Seasons Accessible

Spring to fall, winter as snowfall allows.



Nearby Places