I had my goal of doing this hike and I knew it was going to be difficult..I had no idea! I will call this hike "grueling". The ranger doesnt highly recommend it because Im sure there is way to much exsertion for most. It zig-zags up with the entire trail, except for the mid section(if you got there you know its half way). At the 1/2 way mark, theres a rock overlook and the lower view of the falls. My attitude was if I got this far, I can do the rest. Once heading up further, all the crowds are left behind. In fact, I had a quiet hike after leaving the out of shape x-box kids standing still. Approaching the top, you see a great view...but wait...the trail continues over the edge to a railing! Im working on my fear of heights and this part will do a number on you. I had no idea of this area since even from the lower falls, and colorful clothing people wear, you can not see it. Being exhausted, I still explored around at the top( the river going into the falls looks rather innocent and the nicely constructed bridge). Note: even if it is warm, bring a waterproof jacket, as you will get wet or snowed on at the falls. Remember that parking is a night mare, so plan on adding another 3miles(round trip) to the 6.3 miles trail=9.3 total. If you want to stay in the valley beware of the hantavirus and Disney-like crowds. They pack you in like a parking lot. Do yourself a favor and stay within the park but close to the exits on the south and north ends. Do some planning and make a reservation to be sure.
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