A waterfall refers to a section of a river or stream where the flow of water drops vertically or over a number of steep vertical or near-vertical drops. Aside from a stream or river, it is possible for a waterfall to form after an iceberg or ice shelf melts and the water drops vertically off the edge. Waterfalls exist all around the world and have the potential of reaching some incredible heights. In the world, the highest waterfall is the Salto del Ángel in Venezuela with a height of about 3,230 feet. About 2,647 feet of this height is water dropping uninterrupted. In the United States, the highest waterfall is Yosemite Falls, which is located in California’s Yosemite National Park. Yosemite Falls has a height of about 2,425 feet.
This waterfall in the Sierra Nevada of California is a major attraction for tourists from all around the world. The water usually peaks in the later stages of spring, which is usually between May and June, after the melting of snow. Within the same area, on the valley’s south side, the Sentinel Falls also drops from a height of about 2,000 feet between March and June with May being the peak flowing season. In other months of the year, some of the waterfalls in the area, including Yosemite Falls, have little water or dry up completely by August. In fact, this waterfall dries up altogether every year except for years that are extremely wet. Late fall usually arrives with some storms that may rejuvenate the waterfall, which freezes in the winter. People can observe the fall from several areas around the park such as Yosemite Village and Yosemite Valley Lodge. The waterfall comprises three subsections namely the Upper Yosemite Fall, the Middle Cascades, and the Lower Yosemite Fall.
Upper Yosemite Fall
This section has a height of around 1,430, which makes it one of the twenty tallest waterfalls on the planet today. Hikers wishing to get to the top or to the bottom of this section can gain access from trails that start at the base of the Yosemite Valley. The waters that form this upper section come from the fast waters of the Yosemite Creek and then taking the plunge at tremendous speeds. Before getting to Yosemite Creek, the water passes via Eagle Creek Meadow.
The Middle Cascades
This section is less obvious that the other two sections since it is actually a series of smaller waterfalls. Together, these smaller waterfalls add up to a drop of about 675 feet, which is at least twice as tall as the lower section. These falls occur in narrow and constricted gorges in the valley, which is why they are not visible from the bottom. In addition, they do not have access paths. For this reason and others, hikers usually steer clear from this section.
Lower Yosemite Fall
This part is the final and most accessible section and has a height of about 320 feet. The pool at the bottom of the fall is quite stunning although dangerous talus jumbles are around. Adding to the danger is the high humidity, which creates treacherous slippery surfaces for unsuspecting people.