Visit in the Spring and you will experience a thundering Yosemite Falls. Stop by in July or August and you'll see just the merest trickle sliding down its side. One of the world's tallest falls just sort of fizzles out in the summer!
While my husband and grandson hiked to the Merced River, I set my sights on Yosemite Falls. Our base was Yosemite Village that afternoon, so we headed out in opposite directions.
After walking about ten minutes, I came to a viewing sight containing benches upon which a number of people were seated.
This area overlooked huge boulders strewn about a dry creekbed, which led to the base of Yosemite Falls. Several people were climbing their way to the falls, so I joined in (picture 4).
Being of short stature and having legs to match, stretching myself up and over these BIG boulders was a real effort!
After about 25 minutes, I had managed to get close enough to the Falls to take photos 2 & 3. Enlarge them and look closely, you'll see thin ribbons of water dribbling down its steep sides.
FYI: Snowmelt primarily feeds Yosemite Falls, whose ample flow peaks in late May and dries up in the hotter months of the year. Around November, the snows come and supply the falls with vast volumns of water once more (picture 5).
Three falls actually comprise Yosemite Falls:
Upper Yosemite Falls-1,430 feet
Middle Cascades 675 feet
Lower Yosemite Fall 320 feet
You can do a really quick and easy hike to the base of the Lower Yosemite Falls or the more strenuous and time consuming hike to the Upper Falls, but we just pulled the car to the side of the road and let our camera lenses do all the work when we were driving through the Valley. From this angle at Glacier Point, you get an idea of the enormity of this place, but even from a slight distance, the falls are impressive. The water is flowing from winter through early to mid-summer.
Arguably the highest falls in North America, Yosemite Falls is actually a cascade with three sections. The total 2425-foot (739-m) distance from the top of the upper falls to the base of the lower falls qualifies Yosemite Falls as the 6th highest waterfall in the world, according to Wikipedia. In Spring when the snow is actively melting within the Eagle Creek Meadow watershed that feeds the Yosemite Creek, the Upper Yosemite falls project off a V cut in the granite precipice in an impressive show of force and spray. The Upper Yosemite Falls (1430 ft; 425-m) themselves qualify as one of the top 20 of the world's highest falls, depending upon the method of measurement. In the middle section, well hidden from below by granite cliffs, is a casade over rock of another 675 feet (205 m). The Lower Yosemite Falls (320 ft; 97-m) provides the final drop that is easily viewed by tourists from a viewing platform and bridge below. The Lower Yosemite Falls are surprisingly broad, and can generate a larger volume of mist below, as the water crashes onto a a jumbled assembly of huge boulders at the foot of the falls. The paved trail and boardwalk from the parking lot make the falls accessible by wheelchair, and there are a variety of spur viewing spots from which great images can be taken.
There are so many vista points in Yosemite and the scenery is magnificent but the one sight that stood out for me was the sight of Yosemite Falls, one of the tallest falls in the world, the tallest waterfall in North America at 2,425 feet. Only the upper and lower falls are visible from the valley, with the center section hidden from sight. Easy to get to and you will know why this fall is named after the valley. It describes the essence of Yosemite. Wild and carefree, beautiful and exhilarating. You can stand, sit, or lay down and just watch the mesmerizing water drop off the top of the shear cliff and plunge to the pool below. The highest volume of water occurs in the last weeks of May and the first weeks of June, making for the best viewing.
This is quite a strenous hike in itself, especially if you are not used to it. There are sandy narrow, steep switch backs that can be absolutely grueling in hot weather. As you approach the falls, you will be refreshed with a cold mist. The views of the Valley are wonderful just schedule time to enjoy the whole trail.
The trail is 3.5 miles, but 80% is mountain switchbacks. Look for trailhead behind Camp 4 parking lot.
Shown are the Upper Yosemite Falls, 1430 ft. which plunges to the Yosemite Creek. The creek continues and drops another 675 ft. and continues to the lower falls of 320 ft. The 3 falls combined are the parks tallest for a total of 2425 ft and the tallest series of waterfalls in North America. Best viewing is in late spring and I've heard by early autumn the falls dry up.
Hiking trails lead to the falls in the Yosemite Valley and start near the Yosemite Lodge.
Some of the meadow areas and boardwalks were flooded due to the large amout of rain received in late 2004, early 2005.
If you count this beautiful display of falling water as one waterfall, then Yosemite Falls is the fifth largest in the world at 2425 feet. Actually it can be looked at as three separate cascades. The Upper Yosemite Fall drops most impressively from the granite face a distance of 1430 feet. The middle cascade falls another 675 feet and the Lowe Falls drops the final 320 feet.
Yosemite Falls are some of the world's largest. I forget where they are specifically ranked, but that is not important. There are trails leading to both upper and lower Yosemite Falls. The latter is a pretty easy and short stoll and the former is far steeper, as you would expect.
The picture was taken at the spot of Lower Yosemite Falls. You may be surprised, as I was, to find that there is no water. I walked right past it on the first go round. Apparently, drought conditions and insufficient snowmelt may cause the water flow to be substantially less and to dry out lower Yosemite Falls. Pretty strange for one of the world's tallest waterfalls.
Probably, next to Half Dome, the most photographed thing in the Valley. As with other falls, this one is very seasonal, with a torrent in the spring and a trickle in the late summer.
The walk up from the road is quite short and enjoyable. In my younger days we would swim in the pool at the bottom of the falls in the summer, but in the spring, that is really much too dangerous. The rocks are slippery from the ever-present mist.
The picture here is taken from the Yellowstone lodge.. a short walk to the falls.
Yosemite Falls are the highest waterfalls in US with a height of 2425 ft (740m) divided into two parts, the Upper Yosemite Fall and the Lower Yosemite Fall, some very inspired names :-). To get to the base of the falls, follow the short trail (0.5 miles) that starts at Yosemite Village Center. The top of the Upper Yosemite Fall can be reached by hiking a 3.5 mile (about 5 km) strenous trail.
Like all the other falls in the park, Yosemite Falls are at their peak in May and early June when the winter snow melts and the flow of the falls increases. The flow decreases in July and often even disappears in August and September.
From Yosemite Center, we took a bus to Yosemite Falls, right when you get off, is the beginning of the hike path, it's an easy one, cemented, perfect if you have small children in strollers. The highest waterfall of the U.S, Yosemite Falls, can be seen about a minute after you start walking, it's amazing! The Area is just beautiful, we stopped to have lunch next to this little river and took great pictures with the whole family!!
The top of Yosemite Falls may be reached by a steep and strenuous 3.5-mile (5.6-km) trail of switchbacks near the Sunnyside Walk-in Campground. The top of the falls may also be reached via several routes from the Tioga Road to the north. Near the top of the falls, spray often generates a rainbow effect. Walking across the bare granite trail, one can find an overlook with railing that can also be seen using binoculars from the viewing platform at the base of the falls. While some have argued that Yosemite Falls is merely a "seasonal" falls, because it may dry up between late August and early September, this criticism is unfair given the granite strata of the Eagle Creek Meadow from which the water flows. Granite provides a very fast run off of snow melt, in contrast to earth soaked soils that feed other rivers and falls. In any case, Yosemite Falls is this parks most outstanding falls, and are best viewed between April and July.
UPDATE: See my other tip for Yosemite Falls, April 2011 for spectacular waterfall volume.
The most popular waterfall in Yosemite National Park is Yosemite Falls. There is an upper portion and a lower portion of the falls. It is also the waterfall that has the highest volume of water flowing down it. It is seen in many pictures and paintings. I even saw a portrait of Yosemite Falls being sold for quite a bit of change on the day I wrote the page.
You can get up close to Lower Yosemite Falls. The best place to get a picture of both the Lower Yosemite and Upper Yosemite Falls is on the path that takes you the Lower Falls. The upper falls are accesible to climbers.
One of the longest drop falls in the world - I think it ranks number three. The total drop is 2425 ft. These falls are the most easily approached in Yosemite, just an easy stroll through the trees from the parking area near the Yosemite Lodge to the base of the lower falls.
This was taken in December when the volume of water was very low. In spring when the meltwater is flowing the viewing area can get very wet.