While Half Dome gets center stage in Yosemite there is no denying the power and beauty of Yosemite’s dynamic waterfalls. Seeing them in full force or feeling their cooling mist is truly inspiring. Here are some tips to enjoying Yosemite’s famous flows.
1. Hike Upper Yosemite Fall – It’s tough but worth it. Especially when the falls are flowing. This trail climbs 2,425 feet (739 m) above the valley floor to the top of Yosemite Falls and there are plenty of muscle-straining switchbacks. But you can’t beat the view! For a less strenuous option, take the Lower Yosemite Fall trail. You’ll still get up close to the falls – but you won’t feel like falling over afterwards! The one mile loop with gentle inclines is a great option for those with limited mobility or young children.
2. Horsetail Fall – A rare “only in Yosemite” natural phenomenon, where the right light and water conditions can turn the usually inconspicuous Horsetail Fall into a ribbon of “fire” cascading 2,030 feet down the eastern side of El Capitan. Well, it looks like fire – and sets ablaze the multitudes of Yosemite photographers who have added the “firefall” shot to their lists of must-haves!
3. Lunar Rainbows – Yosemite is beautiful during the day, but it is simply radiant by the light of a full moon. The spring and early summer, when there is a full moon, these “moonbows” appear in the mists of most famously, Yosemite Falls, but other Yosemite waterfalls as well. An awe-inspiring experience!
4. Bridalveil Fall – The elegant Bridalveil Fall is one of Yosemite’s most famous and is one of the first falls to welcome you to Yosemite National Park. Famously misty in full flow, Bridelveil Fall offers everyone easy access via a paved trail and pays off with a beautiful view that typically flows year round.
5. Beyond the Valley – Yosemite Valley is not the only place to frolic by the falls. Check out Wapama Fall in the northern part of the park at Hetch Hetchy or Chilnualna Fall in Wawona to the south. In full flow the water from Wapama Fall flows onto the footbridge below getting hikers a good dousing! Chilnualna Falls requires a more intensive trek, but displays five tiers of cascades that are perfect to settle down next to with a picnic lunch.
Plan your visit to catch your favorite Yosemite waterfall, whether it’s an intense hike to Upper Yosemite Falls, moonbow gazing at Cascade Fall, or getting misty at Bridelveil Fall, Yosemite’s mystic waters will take your breath away.
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