Home Yosemite National Park Southern Yosemite The Wawona Swinging Bridge YNP1299

The Wawona Swinging Bridge

Why We Love This

  • Distance: 0.75 miles (1.2 km) round trip.
  • Elevation Gain: very little.
  • Trailhead Elevation: 4,140 feet (1,260 meters).

Experience Snapshot


Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite National Park, California


1 days

Specific Time For Activity

Start Time: Any

Days Available:

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What you'll do

Why hike to the Wawona Swinging Bridge? To cross a swinging bridge that actually swings, unlike its counterpart in Yosemite Valley. You don't need that much imagination to test your Indiana-Jones-and-the-Temple-of-Doom chops here. You can also swim in the river, the primary attraction for most visitors. Scenery Summary: Pleasant enough, but not Yosemite's best work. There's nothing objectionable about the views up and down the Merced River, and you can take a peaceful walk through the woods if you continue along the left-hand trail on the other side of the bridge, but this area is more famous as a swimming hole. Best Time to Visit: The bridge swings year round. But plan on spring or early summer if you want to see wildflowers (hike the downstream trail on the far side of the bridge if this is your aim), or the heart of summer if you want to swim in the river. The river can be swift and high early in the year, there's no lifeguard on duty, you enter the water at your own risk, etc., etc. Crowd Factor: Not nearly as chummy as Yosemite Valley, but still there always seems to be a handful of people here swimming or wading in the river on summer evenings. Difficulty: You need to be able to walk to get to the bridge. That's about the only obstacle, though. Trails don't get much easier. It's wide and flat and generally free of rocks for most of the route. Getting There: Turn at the Wawona General Store, which is 5 miles (8 km) inside Yosemite's south entrance, and drive 2 miles (a little over 3 km) to the parking lot at road's end. The road forks here, with the right fork entering the parking area for a church camp and the left going to the trailhead parking lot - it'll be obvious once you're there. Here's a Google Street View panorama of the turnoff at the general store and another of the fork at the end of the road where you turn left.

What's Included

  • Food-Storage Lockers: None at the trailhead. The nearest are at the parking area for the Chilnualna Falls trail, roughly four miles away if you're driving.
  • Nearest Bathrooms: A porta potty at the trailhead whiles away the hours by peeling the paint off cars that park downwind. The closest bathrooms with plumbing are two miles back, adjacent to the picnic area at the Wawona General Store.
  • Nearest Snacks: At the Wawona General Store, which you'll pass 2 miles before arriving at the trailhead.
  • Parking: Dirt lot at the trailhead that holds 20 or so cars.

Your Journey

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