Distance: 1.9 miles (3 km) one way
Trailhead Elevation: 4,315 feet (1,315 meters)
Elevation Gain: 200 feet (60 meters)
Carlon Falls may not be as spectacular as the Mist Trail or Yosemite Falls, but this has its advantages: hiking to the top of a 2,400-foot waterfall means that you'll have to climb 2,400 feet, after all, but a 30-foot waterfall is much less troublesome. And, even better, the Carlon Falls trail actually only goes to the base of the waterfall. Better yet, the South Fork of the Tuolumne is among the most thoughtful and considerate of Yosemite's rivers: in a landscape lousy with rugged mountains and steep inclines, the south fork has spent thousands of years patiently carving out a nearly level draw so that your grandmother can walk to Carlon Falls with you. Contrast this with the far lazier Yosemite Creek and Merced River, which just plunge over the nearest available cliffs, forcing strenuous workouts for fans of their waterfalls. It's a mystery why they get all the love.