Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, Yosemite National Park

Hetch Hetchy is the name of a valley, a reservoir and a water system in California in the United States. The glacial Hetch Hetchy Valley lies in the northwestern part of Yosemite National Park and is drained by the Tuolumne River. For thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans in the 1850s, the valley was inhabited by Native Americans who practiced subsistence hunting-gathering. During the late 19th century, the valley was renowned for its natural beauty – often compared to that of Yosemite Valley – but also targeted for the development of water supply for irrigation and municipal interests.In 1923, the O'Shaughnessy Dam was completed on the Tuolumne River, flooding the entire valley under the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. The dam and reservoir are the centerpiece of the Hetch Hetchy Project, which in 1934 began to deliver water 167mi west to San Francisco and its client municipalities in the greater San Francisco Bay Area.GeographyBefore damming, the high granite formations produced a valley with an average depth of 1800ft and a maximum depth of over 3000ft; the length of the valley was 3mi with a width ranging from an eighth to a half of a mile . The valley floor consisted of roughly 1200acre of meadows fringed by pine forest, through which meandered the Tuolumne River and numerous tributary streams. Kolana Rock, at 5772ft, is a massive rock spire on the south side of the Hetch Hetchy Valley. Hetch Hetchy Dome, at 6197ft, lies directly north of it. The locations of these two formations roughly correspond with those of Cathedral Rocks and El Capitan seen from Tunnel View in Yosemite Valley. A broad, low rocky outcrop situated between Kolana Rock and Hetch Hetchy Dome divided the former meadow in two distinct sections.
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Hetch Hetchy Reservoir Reviews
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274 reviews
Google
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TripAdvisor
  • This is one of my favorite places to go in Yosemite and this is why: #1: It's far away from the maddening crowd. Not as many people know about Hetch Hetchy and it's far away from the more touristy Yos...  more »
  • Loved my hike at Hetch Hetchy. Just a reminder, it is a windy, slow drive from the main entrance of Yosemite. You leave the park, and then enter it again at another location, so don’t lose your day pa...  more »
  • I admit up front that if I were a true outdoorsman, camper, hiker type, I am sure my perspective would be much different. We exited Yosemite National Park via Hwy 120 north on our way to Calaveras Big...  more »
Google
  • Great place to get away from the crowds at Yosemite and still enjoy great views! The trail to the waterfall is pretty easy (except super hot on the day we went) with a few switchbacks toward the end. Views are fantastic. We brought lunch with us and had a great time looking at that view while eating. Would recommend!
  • Decided to go here instead of Yosemite one day for an easy hike and just to see a different area. This place did not disappoint. Huge reservoir with informative posts all around. Hiked to a rushing falls. When you cross the bridge in front of the falls, you will get SOAKED. How fun and refreshing to get soaked in the hot sun.
  • Great place to walk on the trail. You will see beautiful waterfall and lake (man made). Quite a drive from yosemite valley with smaller road but worth the drive. The hike itself somewhat medium hard on several spots. We hike with 7 and 10 years old during School Spring Break so the waterfall still exists. They need to upgrade the sign in the Fork (we kind of lost on which way to go to waterfall) but luckily there are hikers to ask. Take some waters (hot) and picnic lunch.
  • Amazing place, no crowds, beautiful hiking Trails! Best time to visit is in Spring time!
  • Discovered this gem exploring the west side of Yosemite. It's Awesome! Less people, beautiful vistas, and there's backpackers' parking....
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