The 12-mile round-trip hike from Tuolumne Meadows to Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp follows the Tuolumne River through the rugged landscape of the Yosemite Wilderness in Yosemite National Park. The trail features Tuolumne Falls and White Cascade, both of which are around 50 feet tall, as well as numerous smaller waterfalls. Due to the popularity of this hike, it is recommended that visitors apply for a permit several months in advance.
Parking is available at Lembert Dome near the horse stables. The first 4 miles of the trip navigate relatively easy terrain through Tuolumne Meadows alongside the Tuolumne River. Half a mile from Lembert Dome, the trail passes by Soda Springs, a bubbling natural spring enclosed by a log cabin. From here the trail meanders through lightly forested meadows interspersed with granite domes and begins to descend to Glen Aulin. Along the way, the Tuolumne River gradually transforms from a calm, lazy river into fierce white rapids punctuated with waterfalls. After crossing the two footbridges over the Tuolumne River, the trail becomes very steep and follows a series of staircases to White Cascade. Hikers are rewarded with views of the waterfall as well as the cool, refreshing water of the swimming hole. A short walk through the forest leads to Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp, which provides accommodations in tent-cabins and backcountry campsites for those who have reservations.
From Glen Aulin hikers may choose to return to Tuolomne Meadows via the same trail, or continue following the northeast trail into the Grand Canyon of the Tuolomne. This a picturesque hike featuring many more waterfalls including California Falls and Waterwheel Falls. Hikers may also take the southwestern trail from Glen Aulin to May Lake and Mount Hoffmann, or take the Pacific Crest Trail, which heads north.