At a height of more than 2,425 ft (739 m), Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in Yosemite National Park and even one of the tallest waterfalls in the world. It can be seen from many vantages in the park. I’m especially fond of this view from across the valley, although the perspective from Glacier Point is also pretty terrific.
Yosemite Falls is a popular attraction, especially in May-June when it’s at peak flow from the melting snow pack in the Sierra Nevada mountains, as it was when we visited this past spring.
Yosemite Falls is actually made up of three separate falls:
1) Upper Yosemite Fall (1,430 feet) comprises half of the fall’s vertical drop. The upper fall is formed by the waters of Yosemite Creek.
2) Middle Cascades (675 feet). Difficult to appreciate from the base of the valley, but not from a higher vantage such as Glacier Peak. It’s a series of four smaller drops which you can partially appreciate in the following photo.
3) Lower Yosemite Fall (320 feet). The most appreciated portion of the falls as it is easily accessed. Yosemite Creek emerges again from the base of the Lower Fall and flows into the nearby Merced River. The area around the Lower Falls is usually wet and slippery and you need to be very careful when walking here — especially if you wander off the trail and bridges.
It’s a relatively short (but often wet) hike to the falls. Photography is a little tricky because of the moisture that will soon coat your lens. Really it’s best just to enjoy the visual beauty and thunderous roar of this magnificent waterfall.
The brave can hike from the valley floor to the top of Upper Yosemite Falls on a very steep and strenuous hike. You’re frequently exposed to sheer drops, heat and exhaustion, but the views are incredible. I’ve never done this hike and never will.
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