From the tunnel to Tunnel view, your next stop will be Bridalveil fall. You see the fall as you drive down towards the tunnel, but from the parking lot, the falls is giant and so close. From the parking lot, it is a 0.5 mile hike to the bottom of the falls. The giant drop creates a loud noise as the water drops down on giant boulders at its base and then is let our through a river that flows down hill.
It is impressive to see it up close. You actually do not need to leave the parking lot to see the falls. For those who do not like hiking or think 0.5 miles is long, you need not worry, you can literally stay in your car and see it just as well. It is located within the valley and close to the great views of El Capitan and the beautiful Tunnel view and Valley views.
This year, I didn't walk up to the base of the falls like I usually do because I was chauffeuring my elderly parents. But, I did get several good pictures of the big flowing falls, plus images of Cathedral Peaks and Leaning Peak nearby.
The trail to Bridalveil falls is easily accessed from a pulloff area on Southside Drive or a parking area off of Wawona Drive. From Southside drive it is less than 1/2 mile of easy walking. From Wawona it is shorter. A beautiful fall but timing is everything. We were here in July and you can see from the photos there is not much water. Spring is the best time to see the falls.
Once at the falls it is possible to scramble off trail at the end to get closer. The rocks can be slippery due to the water and mist so be careful if you venture up.
In the Yosemite National Park are several spectacular waterfalls. Many of them are in the park's backcountry and are only to be reached after a days hike. In the valley and "available" by car or the park's tourist"train". However, you must be lucky to see the highest (North) American waterfall: Yosemite Falls, as the larger part of the year it is dry. We also could only see the place where it should fall down, but there was no water.
Nevertheless we did see the wonderful Bridalveil-falls. Even if it was only because of it's name, this is a very beautifuanl and especially romantic sight.
Coming from afar I had limited knowledge of Yosemite but had heard of Bridal Veil Falls. Most of the time it's a delightful waft of spume that tumbles over a cliff. However, when I was there you literally couldn't get within 100 metres of the Vista Lookout without getting drenched. The flow from snow melt was so powerful that as it dashed itself on the rocks it had to go somewhere and that place was horizontally towards the tourists.
The noise, the moisture and the cliffs were all overwhelming. Nature running amok in this great spectacle of her forces. The shot I got from the lookout was a pure fluke. I covered my camera with my spray jacket and my back to the falls then suddenly whipped it out, hit the butoon and retreated.
I knew there'd be water all over it but at least I could say I'd been there; yet, when I finally downloaded the picture there'd been a momentary break and I had taken a clear shot. (pic 2)
At other times this fall can be almost nothing at all save a cliff face so you have to pick your time if you actually want to see volumes of water going over it.
At 188 metres (617 ft), it's not the tallest in Yosemite but it's certainly one of the two most popular.
Because of the heavy precipitation in the Sierras during 2010-2011 winter, Bridal Veil Falls was particularly spectacular in April 2011. The asphalt trail leading to the base of the falls overflowed with water, and the base of the falls was down right rainy from the raging mist created by the falls.
Volumes of water cascade over the granite wall as the spray of water falls all around you as you stand at the base of Bridalveil Fall. The Ahwahneechee, Native Americans, called it "Pohono", "Spirit of the Puffing Wind". This waterfall drops 620 feet and is very impressive, near or far. Best viewing is late May and June, for then the water is at it's peak due to snow melt. There is an easy path from the parking lot within a short distance from the fall. The term "Bridalveil" is self-evident as you watch the water swirl from left to right during it's fall.
The walk to Bridal Veil Falls takes hardly any energy at all. It's maybe the equivalent of a city block, and suddenly, there you are.
The sun shining through the spray of the waterfall created a rainbow. Beautiful!
For another view of the falls, see my Yosemite overview page.
My husband & I went on a photography workshop to Yosemite in October 2007. It was really magical and I think everyone should visit there at least once.
Be sure to check out Bridalveil Falls, Half Dome, Glacier Point and the Ansel Adams Gallery. There are so many things to see and so much wildlife around you, staying for more than 5 days is recommended!! Speaking of wildlife, we saw a coyote, bear and a bunch of deer in one day. Being from the city, it was a big deal to us. ha ha Keep your distance and enjoy them from afar, yes, they can run faster than you!!! :) Take a walk out to Stoneman Meadow to get a good look at Half Dome around sunset, the colors in the sky are awesome!!! To catch a glimpse of the rainbow at Bridalveil Falls, arrive between 4 to 5pm...the colors will be the brightest and most vibrant...it's worth the wait! The feeling and view are beyond magical.
Also, check out Foresta Barns and Mariposa Grove! A little piece of history, just waiting to be discovered.
Don't be afraid to ask for help at the Visitors Center. Everyone is super friendly and glad to assist you in any way they can. They really go out of their way to make you feel welcome and at home. Getting around is pretty easy, you can travel around the park by car, bike or the bus. We enjoyed parking the car and walking around for 11 hours a day!! We experienced fantastic weather. I would suggest going in October, everything was perfect!
Bridal Veil Falls is one that keeps going all summer, even in a very dry summer. It's the one that you see to the right at the canyon entrance, to the right of Half Dome.
To get the most out of your visit, I recommend seeing the Falls once early in the morning and once more in the late afternoon. Notice the contrast in light and shadow, how it changes. You get a different perspective each time.
This is probably the first "big-ticket" site to see on your way into the Valley. There's a good sized parking lot here, followed by about a quarter mile paved trail leading to the base of the falls. You can see the falls from the parking lot, but the better views are from the viewpoints, so take the time to stretch your legs and head on up. This is a thinner stream, but that is made up for by the fact that it is over 600 feet tall. Apparently, Bridalveil also doesn't dry up, so you should get a chance to see it if you're there in the fall.
I am a Yosemite Indian and when viewing Bridal Veil Falls, which we Yosemite Paiute people call Pohono there is a tale that goes with the falls. While many visitors see it as a very beautiful place we Yosemite Indians (Paiutes) have several spooky tales concerning Bridal Veil Falls.
Some non-Indians have translated our name for the place as "Spirit of the Puffing Wind", but in reality it means more like "Spirit of the blowing mist, which is evil". In olden days we Indian people were actually afraid of the falls and would quickly walk by it.
If you Google Pohono Falls Legend and Modesto Hive, you can see a great story on the Modesto Hive about the falls. It explains a lot. So next time you go to visit Bridal Veil Falls remember that there is a Paiute story behind the the beauty of the falls and enjoy your visit to our ancient homeland, Yosemite. You can also hit the link in "Contact" if it works to see the story.
From the valley floor you can see the entire falls, from top to bottom, but as you approach the trees begin to obscure your view. From the parking lot it is a short hike to the base, or at least NEAR the base of the waterfall, but you cannot see the falls until you are almost upon them. You come out upon a boulder strewn area, not far from the cliff and if the wind is right you begin to feel the moisture from the spray kicked up by the waterfall. The boulders at the base break up the falls into some tiny rushing streamlets which you can get close to if you are willing to scramble over wet and slippery boulders. As you can see, Tal and I took that chance to get up closer.
Pohono, the Spirit of the Puffing Wind, is better known as Bridalveil Fall. The Ahwahneechee of Yosemite Valley believed that the the voices of those who drowned in the fall could be heard at the base of the falls, and that those who slept near them would die. Whatever you think of the falls, they are certainly very beautiful; this slender year-round waterfall drops 620 feet from a hanging valley in the Cathedral Spires. The fall was created by a hanging glacier that once flowed into the larger glacier in Yosemite Valley. This created the cliff which the fall now plunges down. For the best view of the falls, park on Southside Drive at the Bridalveil Falls lot. From the parking area, a trail leads 1000 feet to a viewpoint at the base of the falls. You'll get wet from the spray of the falls. Other good views of the falls can be found from Tunnel View, Valley View, the El Capitan turnout, and from Northside Drive.
One of the wonders Yosemite NP is famous for is the large number of waterfalls. One of the most beautiful is this one, called Bridal Veil Falls. Like many of the falls within the park, you can hike up close for some great views, or watch from a greater distance as in this shot.