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Yosemite Guide

The Yosemite Guide contains information about camping, trip planning, activities, scheduled events, and hours of operations for different facilities and services.

2014

April 9 - May 20

Feb 12 - April 8

Dec 11 - Feb 11

2013

Oct 9 - Dec 10

Sept 4 - Oct 8

July 31 - Sept 3

June 26 - July 30

May 22 - June 25

April 10 - May 21

Feb 13 - Apr 9

Dec 12 - Feb 12

2012

Oct 10 - Dec 11

Sept 5 - Oct 9

Aug 1 - Sept 4

June 27 - July 31

May 23rd - June 26

Apr. 11 - May 22

Feb. 15 - Apr. 10

Dec.14 - Feb. 14

 

Yosemite Falls

The most prominent of all of the waterfalls in Yosemite Valley, Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall inthe United States at 2425 feet. The falls are broken into three sections; Upper, Middle Cascades and Lower Yosemite Falls with the upper falls plunging 1430 feet. The lower section drops 320 feet. The Middle Cascades are a series of falls that together are double the height of the lower falls at 675 feet. The falls can be viewed from most of Yosemite Valley once you get east of El Capitan. Get off at the Lower Yosemite Falls Shuttle Stop Lower Yosemite Falls Shuttle Stop to take a short walk down a paved path to reach the base of the falls. Bring rain gear as the splash zone will definitely get you wet.

View more pictures of Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls

Bridalveil Falls

Bridalveil Falls is the first waterfall you will see when you enter Yosemite Valley from the west. To reach Bridalveil Falls, drive to the the Bridalveil Falls parking area towards the west end of Yosemite Valley. A short walk up a steep 24% trail will bring you to the splash zone. Be prepared to get wet as the mist from Bridalveil permeates everything during spring. The falls slow to a nice swaying fall the rest of the year.

A great picture opportunity awaits you at Tunnel View Scenic Overlook. It offers a spectaculer view of Yosemite Valley with Bridalveil Falls, Half Dome, Cathedral Rocks and El Capitan all in the same field of view.

View more pictures of Bridalveil Falls
Check out this video from the NPS about Bridalveil Falls

Bridalveil Falls

Illilouette Falls

Illilouette Falls is most easily seen from the Mist Trail on the way to Vernal Falls. The Panorama trail offers the best and closest views and can be reached from Glacier Point. Illilouette Falls lies at the head of Illilouette Gorge at an elevation of 5900 feet.

You can get a slightly closer look at the falls if you take the John Muir Trail by the Vernal Falls footbridge. Start your hike from Happy Isles Shuttle Stop 16 and head up the Mist Trail (no one should miss this hike) which is a pretty steep climb and when you reach the footbridge, look for the signage pointing you to the John Muir Trail.

View pictures of the Mist Trail with Illilouette, Vernal and Nevada Falls

Illouette Falls

Vernal Falls

Vernal Falls is the first major falls that you get to encounter and catch some spray along the Mist Trail. This is the falls that produce magnificent rainbows as you approach the base. Start your hike at the Happy Isles Shuttle Stop 16 shuttle stop.

Make sure to bring a rain-proof jacket as you will definitely take a bath if you forget that. if you plan on hiking up to Nevada Falls, the climb up the right edge of Vernal Falls is steep and there is a much needed resting area once you get to the top called the Emerald Pool.

Don't risk climbing the fence at the top of Vernal Falls and cooling off in the water, several people have fallen into the water and gone over the falls. Three people were presumed dead after a similar fall in July of 2011.

View pictures of the Mist Trail with Illilouette, Vernal and Nevada Falls

Vernal Falls

Nevada Falls

Directly upstream from Vernal Falls is Nevada Falls, which has a drop of 594 feet. You can get to Nevada Falls by hiking either the John Muir trail which bypasses Vernal Falls or by taking the Mist Trail which begins at Happy Isles Shuttle Stop 16, is a moderately strenuous hike. See Vernal Falls above.

View pictures of the Mist Trail with Illilouette, Vernal and Nevada Falls

Nevada Falls

Ribbon Falls

You will first notice Ribbon Falls as you enter Yosemite Valley on the left side of the valley wall. The falls flow from March through June with the peak runoff in May. Ribbon Falls is just to the west of El Capitan.

Ribbon Falls has a drop of 1612 feet and is considered the tallest untinterrupted waterfall in the U.S.

This fall goes somewhat unnoticed as much of the attention is focused on Bridalveil Falls especially from Tunnel View. For a great view, go to the base of Bridalveil Falls then look across the valley floor.

Ribbon Falls

Wapama Falls

Wapama is located at the north side of the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. and is the second most powerful fall in Yosemite. It has been nicknamed "The Yosemite Falls of Hetch Hetchy". The falls drop a total of 1340 feet with the final drop of 300 feet being the main fall that visitors see from the O'Shaugnessey Dam like in the photo to the right.

The hike to the falls is 5 miles roundtrip and will likely take about 2 hours and is a moderately strenuous hike. If the falls are having a lot of runoff, the bridge might be directly under to splash zone. Begin your hike at the dam.

Wapama Falls

Staircase Falls

Look up towards Glacier Point from Curry Village to catch a glimpse of Staircase Falls. The falls are fed by Gossamer Creek which flows seasonally. The falls get their name fittingly because of the stair like cracks and crevises that the falls tumble over.

The falls elevation loss is around 1300 feet. Staircase Falls starts out near Glacier Point parking area and winds up behind Camp Curry.

The falls are usually dry by June or July.

Staircase Falls

Lehamite Falls

Lehamite often gets overlooked as it in pretty much the same visual space as Yosemite Falls but just a little to the east. I took the picture to the right from Cook's Meadows on the Ansel Adams Photography Tour, something any avid photographer should take. Lehamite Falls drops down a steep grade called Indian Canyon 1,180 feet to the floor of Yosemite Valley. Lehamite Falls flows in the spring or after a heavy rainfall. Don't expect to see anything coming down the falls after June.

Lehamite Falls
   
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