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Exploring Firefalls, Waterfalls and Wildflowers in Yosemite This Winter and Spring

January 29, 2018

When you visit Yosemite in Mariposa County, you will discover an unforgettable experience – especially in spring. You will feel life flowing, growing and towering around you as the mountains come alive. It is a sensory experience nothing short of majestic. The Yosemite waterfalls are a must-see along with the wildflowers and, of course, the Firefall taking place in February.

As you plan your trip this late winter and early spring, here are some tips for making the experience unforgettable.

Visiting Yosemite in the Late Winter/Early Spring

Horsetail Fall/Firefall

Visiting Yosemite in the spring is great for those looking to avoid the crowds. While you may experience limited park access, depending on how much snowfall the park has each winter, there are some very good reasons for visiting the park outside of peak season. For one, you will enjoy cheaper lodging and fewer people. You can also enjoy a mix of winter and summer activities. You can experience the Fireside Storytelling Festival and family-oriented afternoon events that the park holds in the winter while still having the chance to take the guided night walks, horseback riding, biking and golfing and more that are part of the experience of Yosemite National Park. Plus, waterfalls are at their peak.

Visit Yosemite Waterfalls

If you love waterfalls, Yosemite does not disappoint. Three of the world’s tallest waterfalls are in Yosemite National Park. Lower Yosemite Falls is the tallest in North America at just over 2,400 feet. You can access it from an easy one-mile loop trail for an impressive view from the base. In addition to the majestic waterfall itself, you can also see lunar rainbows at night when the moon is full – but be sure to bring your rain gear. Visiting Yosemite in the spring promises the greatest opportunities for seeing the park’s waterfalls at their best and most powerful thanks to the melting snow, so be prepared for overspray. Check out our list of what to pack when visiting Yosemite.

You should also put Bridalveil Falls, Chilnualna Falls as well as Vernal Fall and Nevada Falls at the top of The Mist Trail on your list. Each one offers a distinct waterfall experience. Bridalveil Falls billows while Chilnualna Falls cascades down granite ledges. Each one is a spectacular sight and should not be missed. Visiting in the spring also means that you can see seasonal waterfalls like Ribbon and Staircase Falls.

Discover Yosemite Firefall

Horsetail Fall/Firefall

On your visit to Yosemite National Park, you will also have the chance to discover something remarkable – The Yosemite Firefall. On the eastern side of El Capitan, there is a seasonal waterfall called Horsetail Fall. Go at sunset in February and you will see something truly unique. As the sun sets, it lights up the water in the falls and makes the running water look like flowing lava. The natural show lasts for as long as 10 minutes, while the window to see the Firefall at Horsetail Fall lasts for roughly three weeks. Go to the El Capitan Picnic Area for the best views.

Find Yosemite Wildflowers

Going to Yosemite in the spring also means you can see all the wildflowers. They bloom through the Mariposa County Foothills this time of year. Wild Hyacinth grows in the fields along Hornitos Road while Lupines cover the steep cuts and hills. Take a drive along Slate Gulch Road for the best views. There is a spot above Dance Fire Ranch that is simply unforgettable. If hiking is more your speed, take a walk on Hite Cove Trail or head up to Hetch Hetchy. Along the Hite Cove trail, the earliest wildflowers of the season bloom on the narrow canyon trail and you can see where the forks of the Merced River come together. The hike is a nine-mile loop, but you will see most wildflowers within the first two miles.

Yosemite is a magical place in the spring. You will experience a type of grandeur that is rare and unforgettable. Come alive in the place where adventure lives.

Yosemite - arrivalist