Hetch Hetchy-Yosemite’s Hidden Treasure

A Day at the Hetchy!

This is my favorite place to come to when I want to enjoy the peace and quiet. Honestly I am not a hiker, I prefer to hike my leg up over the saddle and let my horse do the walking! However, going to Hetch Hetchy is different. I want to run! I want to run through the mountain tunnel and take off to the other side heading out to the waterfalls! I get so excited, it’s like a amazing miracle is in front my eyes.

So let me tell you how to get there so you can enjoy it too!





Highway 120 to Evergreen Road

Evergreen Road to Hetch Hetchy Road.

Follow to Entrance for maps and details

Along the Way

On Evergreen Road about 7 miles in, you will come across Evergreen Lodge! What a great place this is! Lodging, nice restaurant, general store, bike rentals, activities area and so much more. This is a great place to get a sandwich and water for your trip to the Hetch Hetchy O’Shaughnessy Dam. It’s a even better place to stop after you have hiked up to the falls! Stop in for some dinner and spirits!

Yosemite Entrance at Hetch Hetchy

It takes about 30 minutes driving time to get to the O’Shaughnessy Dam from the entrance gate. Once you arrived you will see there is a day camping in this area of Yosemite National Park. Just a FYI, Hetch Hetchy O’Shaughnessy Dam is located in the Northern part of Yosemite National Park and John Muir has written that the Hetch Hetchy Valley was as beautiful as Yosemite Valley. I believe it was and still is too!

Lookout Point Trail begins near the Entrance Station. It’s a quick 2 mile hike which takes you out to a rocky outcropping of massive boulders overlooking the Hetch Hetchy Valley. Simply breath taking!

 The Poopenaut Trail begins about 4 miles passed the Entrance Station. This trail is tough…it’s beautiful as it takes you down to the Tuolumne River..it’s about a 2.5 mile hike.

Smith Peak Trail begin approx 6 miles from the Entrance Station. It’s about a 14 mile hike..if your a badass do it!! Once you get to the peak the views are too awesome for words! Definitely a Kodak moment!!

You made it!

You will soon be seeing the reservoir and the massive O’Shaughnessy Dam. But what is going to catch your eye is the huge tunnel in the mountain across the Dam. Wow, that just amazes me how the men of the early 1900s worked so hard to make that mountain tunnel! Walking across the Dam and reading the history of these hardworking men is just mind-blowing.

Coming from a blue collar hardworking family I appreciate all the hard work they have done..ok back to the Hetchy!

As I said before I’m not much of a hiker but I will hike here! It’s more of a nice and easy enjoy the lake and waterfall kind of walk.

Wapama Falls

This is my favorite day getaway. It’s only 2.5 miles to the Wapama Falls but I can make it last for hours. I enjoy sitting by the big rock boulders on the shoreside and pondering my thoughts. Actually just thanking God for this beautiful place he created for my enjoyment and pleasure..I always see a bear and  snake when I come here.  The bears usually lay up under the rock overhangings so they are in the shade. I’ve seen them walk down the rock formations with such grace down to the lake. They just looked at me.. I only wish I was so graceful as he was watching me moving over the rocks!  Remember bears are wild do not try to pet or approach them. Do not feed them unless you want to lose a arm. May settle for a zoomed in photo instead.. When I finally get to the wooden walk bridges I need a sandwich! I sit close to the wooden walk way on the hot rock formations and feel the warmth of the sun and the rocks.. there are natural springs coming up from the rock formations and it’s perfect for a warm foot soaking! I love it here! I eat my sandwich and bust out my Cowgirls and Angels book. I love to sit here and listen to the wind..I can hear the whispers in the wind that sound like Indian maidens singing..oh I wish I was alive back in those days! To be a Indian girl riding into a Trading Post to trade my furs and beads for supplies I couldn’t provide for myself. My hero is Sacagawea..

Usually after my sandwich and reading my book I continue on for about another hour..it gets prettier ever step I take. Then reality hits me and I think..OK cowgirl..you better start heading back.

It always so pretty walking in however somehow it gets prettier when hiking out. Maybe I’m walking slower..smelling the roses so to say.. appreciating everything I encounter in my way. Even the fast snake that crossed my path.. Dang that got my blood pumping but I can see the tunnel so I’m all good 👍.


The sun is setting as I head out of the Hetch Hetchy Valley and start home. But first, I need a cold drink and a bite to eat at Evergreen Lodge.

I hope you all enjoyed a trip to Hetch Hetchy’s O’Shaughnessy Dam!




10 thoughts on “Hetch Hetchy-Yosemite’s Hidden Treasure”

  1. I have heard a lot about Yosemite National Park, but hadn’t heard of Hetch Hetchy. From your description though, it looks like a place you don’t want to miss. I agree that it is a marvel to be able to make a tunnel in a mountain that is stable. I love that you can view not only the beautiful rock formations but the natural wildlife in the areas as well. If I ever get to Yosemite, I will definitely have to check it out! Thanks for the suggestion!

    • Hi Steve! Hetch Hetchy is definitely Yosemites hidden treasure! The monument on the dam is a interesting read. And yes..the tunnel is amazing! There’s water dripping from the ceiling and it sounds so cool!  The wildlife is amazing there..thank you for taking the time to read my page! Follow me for more Yosemite adventures!

  2. Hey, great article on Hetch Hetchy Yosemite which I’ve always wanted to go to for camping. Do you know what Yosemite is like in March and whether there will be a lot of tourists or not? I’m also a fan of peace and quiet and I rather not run into any other humans during my trip there. But I do look forward to Wapama Falls and the bears and other animals I might see there, better bring my bear spray though. 

    • Hi Son..thank you taking the time to read my page. I really appreciate it. In March, there may be some snow in the ground and cold but it’s still beautiful! You just might want to stay at a local, like one of mine, accommodations where it’s warm inside! The tourist season doesn’t start until Memorial Day weekend and then it lasts until Labor Day. Fall is my favorite time of year in the park with all the yellow and red leaves, just gorgeous! Follow me and watch for my latest adventures! 


  3. sounds like a magestic day out Brenda!

    How busy is the lookout point trail? I much prefer doing wilderness walks without the crowds of people.

    Is there a particular time of year or a time of day that is less busy?

    Where does the name Hetch Hetchy come from? 

    Also, you said the poopernaut trail is tough, what makes it so tough?

    • I’m so glad you asked me questions!! I am happy you have some interest and I’m happy to share. The modern valley name came from the Miwok word “hatchhatchie” which means edible grasses..as the valley was a lush meadow. The Look Out Trail is a great trail..no rookies in this trail so I think you will be fine! 

      Poopenaut Trail is tough as it’s all down hill to the Tuolumne River..then it’s straight up on the way out

      The high season is from May thru September..the Hetch Hetchy is rarely too busy to enjoy it. It is Yosemites hidden treasures!

  4. I have only been to Hetch Hetchy once, but it was the experience of a lifetime.  Last week I spent a few days in Yosemite but there was not time to get up 120.  I appreciate the tip about the Evergreen Lodge.  It may be booked for the summer but I am going to give it a shot.  It doesn’t seem to matter which town you stay in outside the park.  It takes about an hour to go from room to park and then on up to Hetch Hetchy.  The lodge would be great,  Thanks.

    • Hi! I’m so glad you had the chance to visit the area last week! Yes, it’s about one hour drive from Coulterville or Groveland to the valley floor and the same to Hetchy. If Evergreen is booked they have a sister property on the Hey 120 called Rush Creek..it’s beautiful there..pricey but beautiful. If you ever make it this way again look us up for the latest adventures! Follow me for more! 

      Thank you!


  5. Your guide is awesome on Hetchy Yosemite. I found it very useful for everyone. Now I know that Hetch Hetchy O’Shaughnessy Dam is located in the Northern part of Yosemite National Park and John Muir has written that the Hetch Hetchy Valley was as beautiful as Yosemite Valley. I believe it was and still is too. Walking across the Dam and reading the history of these hardworking men is just mind-blowing. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Hi Brenda. I love the great outdoors. And this post has opened my eyes in many ways. I have heard so many good reviews about Wapama Falls and I’m ashamed to say I haven’t gone yet. But simple things as this that you have said of sitting by the big rock boulders on the shoreside have made me make up my mind to make the trip! Thanks for the encouragement!


Leave a Comment