If you enter the park through the Arch Rock Entrance and the town of El Portal on Highway 140, you'll enter directly onto the Valley Floor. The first major sight you'll see will be on your right hand side, the tall and misty, Bridalveil Falls. Visiting in early June, the water level was still high and the light spray from the splashing falls was refreshing on an 85 degree day. The parking lot is clearly marked and it's just a short hike to the base of the falls.
You realize that you are about to enter Yosemite Valley when you see Bridal Veil Falls. This is a beautiful waterfall with a designated parking lot. The parking lot was flooded because of the snow melt. Keep in mind that you will get wet once you go further along this trail.
There are many waterfalls in the park and it can be difficult to disquish the falls when you get home to update VT. I suggest keeping a mini travel diary.
Bridal Veil Falls drop 620 feet, which is about a quarter of the size of Yosemite Falls. Given the shortage of water in the summer, the falls themselves were not all that powerful. But the walk to the falls, scrambling along the slippery granite rocks, was a lot of fun.
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.
Bridal Veil tumbles 620' from the top, and one of the few falls in Yosemite to run all year. As you stand at the bottom and look up, the mist created at the top has a wonderful, veil-like quality to it during most of the year. However, it the spring, it thunders with run-off.
...even at the end of Summer, when there's very little water left in and around the valley... there's still enough water to let the veil flow. There's a parking lot at the bottom of the falls for a pretty view, and there are trails that take you on a heck of a hike to the top of the falls. Also, if you're driving to Glacier Point, above the rim of Yosemite you will see a parking lot and trail starting point to take you to the edge of Bridal Veil Falls.
After driving over 300 miles and checking into my hotel just outside the park, I originally had not planned on entering on my arrival day. But....I was just 2 miles from the entrance gate and curiosity got the best of me. I entered and asked the park ranger for a suggestion on a sight that was fairly close since dusk was approaching. He suggested Tunnel View Lookout and I proceeded but turned off at the sign for Bridalveil Falls instead.
The falls were glorious and could be seen from the parking lot. They drop 620 feet and the mist could be felt from a distance. A trail leads close to the falls but I stopped part way or else I would have been drenched. Others returning to the parking area were wet or donned in rain gear.
Indians that once inhabited the region, the Ahwahneechee's called it the "Spirit of the Puffing Wind" due to the winds that swirl about the cliffs blowing the water from side to side.
Restrooms are available at this location.
Bridalveil Fall can be reached by walking a short distance from a parking area through a beautiful grove. It is approximately 620 ft (227 m) tall, formed by the Bridalveil Creek which plunges from a valley above. Though Bridalveil Creek rarely dries up completely, it shrinks to a thin film by late summer.
I went to Yosemite in late July and many of the falls including Yosemite Falls had dried up. However, Bridalveil Falls was still flowing. It's 620 foot drop was a real treat in the absence of the others. The Water fell slowly and the wind that is common in that area blew the water from side to side.
These are the falls closest to the entrance to the park and often is the first stop for many visitors. It is a wonderful short (1/4 mile or so) walk up to the falls past a lovely rushing stream. When you do get to the falls, if it is spring, you will get immersed in the mist.
Well worth the walk.
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