Fern Ledge: John Muir's Yosemite Falls

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Details

Quality: 

0

Scenery: 

3

Crowds: 

0

Distance Comments: 

Thats a rough distance. Count on about 1-2 hours each way. Three hours if your companion has to stop every six seconds to look at flowers (sorry guys)

Distance in Miles: 

4.00 miles

Trip Type: 

Out and back

Trailhead: 

Lower Yosemite Fall

Trailhead Elevation: 

4000

Elevation Gain/Loss: 

1400 more or less

Elevation Min/Max: 

4000/5400

References: 

The Wild Muir, edited by Lee Stetson, p. 50-52.

Running: 

Heros only (5 out of 5)

Highlights: 

There is nothing in Yosemite Valley quite like a hike to Fern Ledge. Within minutes, the Fern Ledge hike will take you from the bustling, crowded, Lower Yosemite Falls area to a quiet, unmaintained (and possibly dangerous!) trail that leads you past dense beds of flowers (Elegant Brodieia, Larkspur, Yawning Penstemon, Live Forever, Giant Red Paintbrushes and more), winding up open slabs leading to Fern Ledge, the most staggering place from which to experience Yosemite Falls.

Jutting out into the actual waterfall about 200 feet from the bottom and 1400 feet from the top, you can lie on your back for hours and watch the water comets cascade down past you. Fern Ledge was a favorite spot of John Muir's and the site of Ansel Adams' famous photo looking up Upper Yosemite Falls. (And my not famous photo of the same, which, surprisingly, is not as good as Ansel's.)

That said, though the hike is only a couple of miles long all told, it is not without its difficulties and dangers. Though usually fairly clear once you find it, this is not a maintained trail and it requires a bit of talus hopping and one or two exposed, though short and easy scrambles. There are some steep, loose slopes with gravel and leaves at the angle of repose and if you got sliding, you might not stop yourself before sliding off into the abyss and dieing. Read that again: you could die on this trail. Don't believe me? Consider this comment from Steve:

My son is alive today because he was "roped in" with climbing gear as we crossed one of those "sketchy" spots. In spite of being only 10 years old, he is an experienced hiker/climber who has been backpacking since he was 2 years old, enjoys frequent bouldering, and has crossed many similar trails before. I emphasize this, because he did not slip or trip — the loose gravel trail just collapsed right out from under his feet. And it happened fast. So fast that my wife, who was standing right next to him at the time, was unable to grab him. In a flash, he was 6 feet down the chute before the rope went taught and stopped his slide.

For Steve's full comment and recommendations, see his comment from April 3 below.

The area is also ideal rattlesnake habitat and we saw two on a June 2007 hike (that's two out of the three live rattlers I've ever seen in Yosemite) and one rattlesnake was right in the trail.

The middle part of the hike is hot and sun-drenched and Fern Ledge itself can be a dangerous place for the foolhardy, as John Muir discovered. Be smart!

Details: 

Some Historical Background

Fern Ledge is no doubt one of the most famous of the not-famous spots in Yosemite. That is to say, it is rarely if ever visited by casual tourists and even visitors who know the park well only go occasionally, yet aficionados of Ansel Adams' photography have likely seen pictures taken from there and readers of John Muir have no doubt read stories of his exploits there. Back before the Yosemite Falls Trail was built, the quickest way out of the north side of the Valley was up Indian Creek (that's the major canyon right of Yosemite Falls as you look towards the rim) and the best way to see the falls themselves was to hoof it up to Fern Ledge. Since 2007, when a University of Texas team began publishing a calendar of best times to see them, there has been a growing interest in the Yosemite Falls moonbows, or lunar spraybows that one sees at the full moon. For John Muir, however, "The best point from which to observe them is on Fern Ledge" (The Wild Muir: Twenty-Two of John Muir's Greatest Adventures, p. 50). He goes on to say:

A wild scene, but not a safe one, is made by the moon as it appears through the edge of Yosemite Fall when one is behind it. Once, after enjoying the night-song of the waters and watching the formation of the colored bow as the moon came round the domes and sent her beams into the wild uproar, I ventured out on the narrow bench that extends back of the fall from Fern Ledge and began to admire the dim-veiled grandeur of the view. […] and wishing to look at the moon through the meshes of the denser portions of the fall, I ventured to creep farther behind it while it was gently wind-swayed, without taking sufficient thought about the consequences of its swaying back to its natural position after the wind-pressure should be removed. The effect was enchanting. […] I was in fairyland between the dark wall and the wild throng of illumined waters, but suffered sudden disenchantment […]. Down came a dash of spent comets, thin and harmless looking in the distance, but they felt desperately solid and stony when they struck my shoulders, like a mixture of choking spray and big hailstones. […] The heavier masses seemed to strike like cobblestones, and there was a confused noise of many waters about my ears — hissing and gurgling, clashing sounds that were not heard as music. […] Somewhat nerve-shaken, drenched and benumbed, I made out to build a fire, warmed myself, ran home, reached my cabin before daylight, got an hour or two of sleep, and awoke sound and comfortable, better, not worse, for my hard midnight bath (The Wild Muir: Twenty-Two of John Muir's Greatest Adventures, p. 51-52).

Not content with almost dying that once on Fern Ledge, Muir later staged his investigations of the Yosemite Fall ice cone from there. The ice cone builds all winter from the freezing spray and the falling ice, reaching a height of a few hundred feet. Once during a windstorm, Muir ran up to Fern Ledge, not having learned his lesson the first time. On his first attempt to look into the cone, he was "almost suffocated by the drenching, gusty spray," but ever the adventurer, he waited for the wind to blow the fall to the west and than ran out on Fern Ledge for a look.
Since Muir's day, with the creation of the Yosemite Falls Trail, Fern Ledge has become a relatively less-visited place (though in absolute terms it perhaps sees more visitors than ever). The most famous post-Muir visitor is certainly Ansel Adams who captured images looking up Yosemite Falls from Fern Ledge on at least a few occasions, in both color and black and white (you can see his image, not to mention buy the 8x10 print for a mere $235, at the Ansel Adams Gallery). I'll give you an 8x10 print of one of my images for a lot less. Ansel Adams' picture is almost like seeing the waterfall for yourself. My picture is almost like seeing Ansel Adams picture for yourself. The low-res version I have on the web, is almost like seeing my picture for yourself. All in all, you're better off just to go there.

Route Description

Getting started can be a bit difficult (we lost faith and cut up too early). Basically, you want to get to the Park Service stables (Lower Yosemite Fall, NOT the concessionaire stables by Curry Village). If you don't know where they are, the easiest way to explain it is to say that you take the Lower Falls loop, starting on the village side (rather than the Lodge side), though it doesn't make that much difference. You'll be passing the park service housing on your right, at the end of which the trail turns to the right. Stay on that trail until you pass the first and the second turnoff for the stables and keep going until you're at the bottom of the big open talus field, with a very distinctive square boulder in it.

Head up the talus field staying to the left (west) until it enters the forest. Eventually a creek bed, usually dry, breaks off from the main talus field. You'll want to find the trail on the right side (east) and follow it until you get to the base of the lower cliff band. From there, you start climbing and make a tight step around a corner, cross the creek bed that you were in earlier and begin the long, gently-rising traverse across Sunnyside Bench. There is a packed out trail, and please stick to it. Veering from the trail is both potentially dangerous and will cause extra impact on these excellent meadows of flowers. The soil is loose, dry and easily disturbed and a few footprints can cause serious damage. If you see a great flower and want to get closer, keep walking — these are not rare species and eventually you'll see the same ones within inches of the trail. Furthermore, some of these dirt slopes are virtually at the angle of repose and the trail tends to cut up away from the edge a bit (it takes a middle line between the edge of the cliffs and the difficult terrain on your uphill side).

The meadows along here have some of the better flower displays in Yosemite Valley, with Live Forevers, Larkspur, Paintbrushes, Harvest Brodieia and many more. Like I say, be nice to them and stay on the trail.

Walk pretty much to the end of Sunnyside Bench. There is a way to get up to the next level by just walking up a series of ramps, but the easiest way to find is one that is about 100 feet from the end of Sunnyside Bench that makes a short scramble (about 30-40 feet) up through some oak trees. You can tell you're on the right track because you will see branches that have been cleanly cut with a saw and, eventually will see cairns.

Wind your way up the slopes and slabs above, heading generally toward the left (west) side of Lost Arrow spire. The trail here is the same one that climbers use to approach Lost Arrow Chimney, Freestone and Yosemite Point Buttress (though many climbers will choose a more direct start and will veer off to their climbs before the end). This section of the trail can have amazing displays of Giant Red Paintbrushes and bright red Live Forevers growing in some of the most improbable places.

When you get within a quarter mile or so of Fern Ledge proper, you should have a pretty good general idea of where you want to go. Follow your eyes and your ears until you emerge at Fern Ledge to the thunderous applause of Yosemite Falls heralding your success. Basically, you want to get slightly above Fern Ledge and then angle down and out to get to it. How far out you can safely go depends on the season, but don't forget Muir's account. Before reading Muir, I had already started called the rushes of water that break from the main fall "comets". I was delighted to find that he saw the same thing in those fiery balls of water. I haven't been as close as Muir, but I can honestly say that it isn't really better farther out the ledge. It's cool to get out far enough to replicate Ansel Adams' picture, but the real pleasure of Fern Ledge is to lie on your back for hours chatting with a friend, mesmerized by the falling comets of water. It's hard to describe, but it is enchanting, meditative, mesmerizing and if not for the sun beating on you telling you to go find some shade, you could lose yourself there for hours.

Runner's Notes: 

This is not really a runner's trail. Too rough, too many places where you could fall into oblivion and too many rattlers lurking on the trail. Just walk this one and enjoy the falls and the flowers. And watch the ground.

26 Comments

Sunnyside Bench directions - confused!

Hi - Thanks for the great article on Fern Ledge! I used your directions to try to attain Fern Ledge a few weeks back, and I had trouble early on. My son and I got up to the top of the rockslide all right, but where to make the left turn onto Sunnyside Bench - and what we would see at that point - just didn’t gel for us. After climbing the trail along the right side of the left arm of the slide by the dry streambed, we did come across a spot where some cairns were in the woods on the right/east side of the streambed/slide/cliffs, and were able to turn left across the cliff face where they intersected the cliff (a snug turn - had to use both hands, both feet and a sturdy manzanita bush to sneak around that rock!), and found what looked like a trail, which we followed - apparently onto the bench…

…but after about 100 yards, we came to a spot that *resembles* your photo of the “grapevine forest” but with no trail visible. Instead, just a large steeply slanting area of loose, deep soil and rocks. No trail on the other side. Per your suggestions, we decided not to go beyond that spot and risk ruining the vegetation or cause erosion (to say nothing of endangering our lives on that loose mass of stuff). My son saw a rattlesnake acting sliggish in a hole, so we did see some wildlife…

If you please, does this match your recollection of the correct way to go, or did we turn left too soon/too late? I’d really love to try that route again…

Thanks,
Bruce Jensen
San Lorenzo, CA

Sounds like you got the right start, but lost it somewhere

Bruce, Thanks for the comment. I'll have to run up and take a few more pictures and see if I can't make it a bit more clear.

The snug turn you mention around the rock sounds exactly spot on. Shortly after that you cross a rocky section that feeds the watercourse in the talus below right? You should pick up the trail exactly on the far side of the drainage and it's a pretty major trail

And definitely, definitely watch out on those slopes. I hope I made it clear in my intro that this NOT to be taken lightly. You could slide into the abyss if you got going on one of these steep, dirt slopes that basically are sloped at the angle of repose.

Hi, Tom, thanks for the

Hi, Tom, thanks for the response - Yes, right after that turn around the rock with the manzanita bush, there is a fairly safe rocky section (that likely carries water during storms) atop a cliff (the cliff being maybe 10 to 20 feet high down to the next rocky area where one could stand) with a rough but easy trail across it.

Now, going from memory - the rough trail crosses this rocky area in the open, then begins to enter woods with some very minor scrambling up a short angled rock. After that, we saw two possible trail routes, one about 15 feet up / 25 feet across up to the next cliff and one more or less horizontally westward. Neither one seemed "major" but both were obvious. Noting that the higher trail seemed to peter out at the cliff, we chose the latter. Then, finding more than one route that diverged from the trail about 100 feet father west, we tried both. Both delivered us to the same loose soft soil slope in the trees. Above and below this slope, only near vertical cliffs - no obvious way around it. No obvious trail on the other side either, although we thought about bushwhacking a little before we surmised that the loose soil could become worse. So, we turned back. And yes - we value our lives, and did not venture far onto that slope!

Could the soil have buried the trail *since* you last traversed this area? It looked pretty fresh and uncompacted, very loose, with few plants in it.

The rattlesnake at this slope scared the heck out of my son, too, although she was pretty slow and chilly there in her hole... :-)

In any case, many thanks for your help - we might not have even tried otherwise...

Bruce

Again, sounds right

That sounds like it and it may well be possible that the trail was washed out in a storm since I was last there. I've never been up there in a storm, but I would imagine huge amounts of water come sliding off the slabs and there certainly are that a lot of material flows through there when the water is running.

The trail can become braided in a few spots with spurs that go nowhere. Once you get through those sandy slopes, there's only one more place you can get lost. Still, it's not like hiking the Falls Trail of course.

I've had a lifelong fear of rattlers despite growing up hundred of miles from the nearest one, so I was surprised that I wasn't more afraid when I almost stepped on that one.

Fern Ledge Hike

Tom,

Thanks for the excellent write-up.

I will be visiting Yosemite March 25-30 this year. I will be doing most of my hiking alone. Would you recommend I hike the Fern Ledge Trail alone? Seems kind of remote.
Thanks.
Matt

I would not recommend the Fern Ledge Trail alone.

I would not recommend the Fern Ledge Trail alone. You just don't know when anyone else will be coming by and there are a few loose sections and you just never know. I'm sorry that we'll be away on vacation those dates, because otherwise I would just head up there with you. It should be nice (assuming it doesn't snow between now and then, which I think is unlikely at that altitude).

I'm not into telling people what to do (as long as it does not lead to nasty environmental impacts that affect others). So do what you must. That said, having company is always a good idea would make it a safer outing for sure. Obviously, it depends on your skill and risk tolerance. I've soloed some fairly technical mountaineering routes and was comfortable with the risk. After Theresa's 2006 accident though, we're a lot less into hiking alone, I must say. She's fine, but I think there's a 100% chance she would be dead if she had been alone, and we were only 15 minutes off the Valley floor.

That said, John Muir hiked it alone by moonlight on lots of occasions. Of course, he came a hair's breadth from dying on at least one of those occasions, so...

Climate

How is the hiking out there in late summer? I'm planning to take my daughter there in summer and keep reading stuff about how hot the sun is and seems like a lot have seen rattlesnakes. I've never been there, but would like to do some half or full day hikes while visiting.

Hi, Jeannine - do you mean

Hi, Jeannine - do you mean just the Fern Ledge Trail, or Yosemite Valley / the whole park in general?

There are lots of wonderful walks and hikes of every length on which rattlesnakes should present no problem; in fact, even when they are present, they aren't usually much trouble. Just give them a few feet of space, and you're OK.

Bruce

When it's hot you go to the high country

Jeanine, the hiking here is good at all times if you go to the right places. In the winter, you need to go down to Hite's Cove. In the summer you go up to Tuolumne. Yosemite Valley can indeed be hot in the summer, but the Valley proper is only seven square miles at 4,000 feet, while the park is about 1200 square miles with a high point at Mount Lyell over 13,000 feet. So just go where the temps are best.

As for rattlesnakes, I have rarely seen them. In the many years I came here several weekends a year as a visitor I never saw one. In the five years I've lived here, I've seen two live ones and two dead ones, and one of the live ones I only spotted as it slithered away. I can't say I'm out hiking or climbing every day, but I do spend a fair bit of time outdoors.

Both live rattlesnakes I've seen have been far off the main trails. And in any case, if you go hiking up in Tuolumne, you won't have any worries because AFAIK they don't live that high.

Hey, Tom - how are you?

Hey, Tom - how are you? Winter about over up there? :-) The rain quit down here awhile ago...

Had a chance to check that route onto Sunnyside again yet? I may give it a quick look Memorial Day weekend...to see if I missed something last time.

Bruce

Nope - I've been super busy.

Nope - I've been super busy. If you're here over Memorial Day, drop me an email (not a comment here b/c I don't check them every day, but use the Contact Us form (I think I have to change the name b/c some people think "Us" means "Our company" instead of "Me and My Wife" Ha! I've gotten a couple funny "Dear Sirs" letters.

Anyway. See if we can hook up and dial in the description!

Fern ledge

Tom
I will be in Yosemite somewhere around June 12-16th. I would like to do fern ledge but not sure if I am up to it. I am very fit and adventurous and would like to take my wife and 15 year old son up there. They are less fit and adventurous but physically should be able to make it. I dont have a fear of heights but also have enough fear that I would not make a good climber. I am concerned about being uneasy in the presence of the vast exposure. That is usually what gets me the most. I am from back east, so not so much exposure here. You mention the possibilty of sliding down the loose soil section. That sounds scary! I just wonder what kind of person it takes to make it.

You have a picture looking down the talus slope into the parking lot and the back of park building. I can zoom in on that location with Google maps. I can also scroll around with the map to see possible routes to fern ledge but I can not identify the tricky turn at top of talus slope, the section under the trees that is difficult to find the other side of or sunnyside bench. But If they were pointed out on the map, one would say, "oh sure, there it is". You have probably looked at this stuff with google maps, but if not check it out and zoom way in. Maybe you can help me or someone get through the more difficult sections this way.

Thanks,
Court Nugent

Good suggestion

Actually, I haven't looked at Google Maps for this, but I doubt I can zoom in enough. I'll check it out though. Sunnyside Bench, which is what you're walking on, is an obvious, defined feature, but as Bruce discovered, where to actually go on Sunnyside Bench isn't that obvious and it could change with one good storm.

As for whether you or anyone else should do a given hike, I can't say. There is not really a lot of exposure on the hike, but it is most definitely not like being on a maintained trail. When I was younger, I would always tell people "Sure, just go for it. You'll be fine." Somehow I've become sort of a worrier as I approach middle age (is 45 middle age?), so I'm really reticent to say "No problem. Go for it." I'd like to, but my conscience makes me say "Go have a look and be ready to turn around if it looks at all scary."

Fern Ledge hike

This is indeed one of the "secret" hikes in Yosemite Valley... its not really a secret, but few(er) people are willing to take the extra effort required to complete the hike. Depending on the route you take, it can be fairly strenuous.

One important thing that I learned in doing this hike... don't do it in winter or early spring when the snow and ice is melting from the overhead Valley walls. I did this hike in the month of February one year... it was a nice day... but the ice sheets and the falling ice and the pebbles/rocks/small boulders falling from up above made the hike a bit nerve-wracking. Once I got within 50 yards of Fern Ledge... I decided that was close enough... especially when I saw head sized rocks falling from the top of the cliff...

Going up there during peak flow from the waterfall is also fun... but be VERY careful around slippery areas... I used a rope when I went into some of the more "sketchy" areas. Please don't try to go into areas where Yosemite SAR would need to be called in if you make a mistake.

I'd like to echo the part above about watch where you put your feet. Some really pretty areas can be ruined permenently is you scramble across the wrong areas.

fern ledge

I think we are talking about the same hike we just did. i always called it sunnyside bench trail. we end up in the pools at the base of the falls. i have a whole bunch of pictures in my gallery of the hike and the pools. most pictures are on page 2-3 and then 22-26 here is the link if you would like to see and have some of the pictures. feel free to download them and use them if the help someone find the hike.
http://hjscm.smugmug.com/gallery/5595228_KP8pS#343564239_n8eBf

Another try next week

Hi, Tom - I wrote you at this site about 1.5 years ago to discuss our aborted walk to Fern Ledge. We are going to take another crack at it next week, if we can find the trail (or at least, get beyond the place where we got lost last time, at the wooded shelf above the cliff face above and west of the rockslide). If the described trail does not materialize for us this time out, we'll probably call it quits and not bother again - please wish us luck! :-)

Thanks,
Bruce

Climbing gear recommended!

Tom,

Thank you for your description of this hike. We (my wife, 10-year old son, and I) made it up to the ledge in late March, 2010 and enjoyed a spectacular view of the falls with their gargantuan spring runoff, water comets and all. (It was too early in the season for the flowers you describe in the meadows.) However, I feel obligated to share a story about our hike in the hopes that it may prevent a serious tragedy in the future.

First, I echo previous comments that this is a potentially fatal hike, because there are several places where a narrow trail of loose gravel and dry leaves on a steep slope at its "angle of repose" passes immediately above a 200 foot cliff. Several of these places cross a steep, gravel-lined "chute" in which there are no trees, no bushes, no significant rocks, or other objects to grab onto, so you almost certainly will NOT stop if you get started down one of these chutes. This presents the very real possibility of an unscheduled plunge to one's death, if you slip OR if the trail gives way. On our trip, it did.

My son is alive today because he was "roped in" with climbing gear as we crossed one of those "sketchy" spots. In spite of being only 10 years old, he is an experienced hiker/climber who has been backpacking since he was 2 years old, enjoys frequent bouldering, and has crossed many similar trails before. I emphasize this, because he did not slip or trip -- the loose gravel trail just collapsed right out from under his feet. And it happened fast. So fast that my wife, who was standing right next to him at the time, was unable to grab him. In a flash, he was 6 feet down the chute before the rope went taught and stopped his slide.

No doubt many people cross these spots successfully every year without incident. However, in my opinion, it is not worth the risk to attempt crossing these dicey spots without a rope for protection. There are plenty of sturdy trees either side of these "sketchy" areas to tie onto, so it's actually very EASY to provide protection, if you know how to tie into a rope. This trail does not require technical rock climbing skills, just hiking and a bit of non-technical bouldering, so it's actually an okay trail for a fit family outing, but it's a trail where I think you definitely want some backup in a few key places, in case gravity takes over.

Thanks

My friend (first-time visitor to Yosemite) and I did this hike last week-end based only on those directions. It is great ! The only part which was a bit confusing was to find the start, as we erred in the "concrete jungle" of the Village, but once we asked a ranger to point us to the NPS stables, we easily found the route. I would suggest adding a photo taken from Glacier Point to show the outline of the route. Such a photo would also show clearly that there is only one large talus field in the area, and therefore make the start look unambiguous.

Responsible Reporting and Wilderness Stewardship

Sir,

Too many places in Yosemite wilderness (and elsewhere) are recieving excessive damage because of guide books and and blogs that give step by step directions into trailless areas. The park service maintains 800 miles of trail to protect 1,100 square miles of wilderness. The whole idea is to provide a place where people can walk without impacting what they are out there to see. Don't get me wrong. It's perfectly legal to travel through trailless areas. I do it all the time. And we live in a country where speech is protected. The problem is most people don't hike off trail without the confidence derived from directions writen by "authorities."

So consider what wilderness means to you personally. If you love it, think about a way to report on these very special places without describing routes. Be a champion, a steadfast steward of wilderness. Turn people on to the spirit, the mystery, and wonder of the places you love!

Peace,

Bob

Thank you for route

It sounds like this comment is attacking this blog. I'd like to say, first of all, this page is describing an actual trail route - just one that is no longer maintained, and one that is rather dangerous, so the details are appreciated and also the intent to protect the wild areas and plant life is made very clear, so that is also appreciated. Keep up the good work. Defined trails actually help protect much of the rest of the area from being stampeded by masses of people walking everywhere. I'm all for the defined trails being published and encouraged. Keep up the great work. It help preserve the wild areas.

I don't think Bob Roney is

I don't think Bob Roney is "attacking" anything. He is voicing a concern and it's a legitimate one, one that I have wrestled with since putting this page up, one that has held me back from putting other similar pages up. I have tons of pictures of other abandoned trails (such as the Sierra Point trail), but felt uncomfortable, upon reflection posting those. I have many times considered taking this page down, asking myself whether or not it's appropriate. Far from seeing an attack, I appreciate and respect Bob's input as I debate the question myself.

This is a historic trail, a place that John Muir and Ansel Adams frequented. It is in the climbing guidebooks (e.g. for Lost Arrow Chimney). But most people would have no idea what is in the climbing books. I don't think encouraging people to go to Fern Ledge on the use trail spares other areas that have no user trail. For 99% of the people, it's not a choice between going on a use trail to Fern Ledge or going cross-country somewhere else. It's mostly about going or not going to Fern Ledge, about what constitutes a "trail" (is an established climbing route a "trail"?) and about whether or not making the information more available to people creates a threat to the resource.

Secor's The High Sierra and Roper's The Sierra High Route detail cross-country routes and of course all the climbing guides give precise details on finding various use trails and on cross-country travel. Yet in the climbing world, many people complain about "the Supertopo effect" - obscure routes that become crowded the moment a Supertopo guidebook includes them.

I also think detailed information on the moonbows in Yosemite Falls and the natural "firefall" on Horsetail Fall has significantly impacted the experience of those events. Yes, they have opened them up to many more people, but at what cost? They have become, for me, unpleasant given the traffic and the congestion surrounding them.

As the internet matures, we see more and more impacts of the glut of information and about focusing people on a few "peak" (pardon the pun) experiences. I find a fight within myself between wanting to encourage people to seek out these places, on trail or off, and between worrying that lonely trails that see few travelers might become ruined by a surfeit of "beta" as climbers call it.

So Bob brings up all these issues, which felt less urgent five years ago when I wrote this page, but now as the internet becomes ubiquitous and my understanding of it has greatly increased, it makes me think that the time for detailed descriptions of places like this is past.

I'm going to leave this up for a bit longer, because I'm curious what debate might ensue, but beyond that, I think this page may indeed need to go.

I hope that the page doesn't

I hope that the page doesn't go. My best friend and I hiked to the ledge yesterday, mostly based on the directions given here. We've also done Sierra Point. The ledge was breathtaking!

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