Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls

The Yosemite Falls are located in Yosemite National Park, in Sierra Nevada, California, United States. The tiered waterfall is the highest in the park, is located at an elevation of 1647 meters, and has three drops. From the highest point to the furthest drop, the distance is roughly 740 meters. This waterfall is one of the more popular natural attractions in the park, and is especially impressive in the spring, which is usually when the falls have the most water flow. Because the falls have three drops, they are usually separated into three sections. These are known as Upper Yosemite Fall, the Middle Cascades, and Lower Yosemite Fall.

The Sections Of The Falls

Yosemite Falls
Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls.

Upper Yosemite is a 440 meter drop, and is by far the largest of the three drops in the Yosemite Falls. This portion of the falls is formed from the Yosemite Creek, which runs through Eagle Creek Meadow then plunges over the edge of a hanging valley.

The Middle Cascades are a smaller section of the falls between the two more prominent drops. Here, there are four small descents which together measure a height or drop of 206 meters. Unfortunately, this part of the falls is very hard to see, because the gorge narrows, and also easy access points are restricted in the area. Though the Yosemite Falls trail -which connects the ground level to the top of the falls does have some views of this portion of the falls, areas leading more closely to the cascades can be treacherous and it is not advised for hikers to go off path.

The most easily accessed portion of the falls is the Lower Yosemite Fall. It falls some 98 meters directly across for an accessible viewing point, meaning it is the most popular and most viewed section of the waterfall. Here, the Yosemite creek calms and flows into the Merced River. Though enticing, the plunge pool at the bottom of the falls is not accessible for visitors as it is surrounded by loose, slippery rocks that would be dangerous for travellers.

Visiting The Yosemite Falls

Tourists enjoying the spectacular view of the Yosemite Falls.

For those travelling to the falls, it should be noted that they do not flow year round. In late summer and fall, which is usually the driest times of year for California, the waterfall completely dries up. The best time of year to see the falls is in the spring, as this is the wettest time of year, and snowmelt from nearby mountains will increase the water flow in the creeks and rivers. A 1.6 kilometer hiking loop runs to the base of Lower Yosemite Fall from the Yosemite Village and Yosemite Valley Lodge. Similarly, there is a steep and advanced trail that runs from the lower fall to the Upper fall, and measures a little for 5 kilometers in length. 

Yosemite Falls
View from above the Upper Yosemite Falls.

There are a large number of large waterfalls in Yosemite National Park, and even more small cascades and meandering creeks, but Yosemite Falls is by far the largest. Featuring its roaring waters in peak season, it is a sight to see, and a very popular natural attraction for tourists and hikers visiting the area. Whether viewed from the lower vantage point, or explored from on high, the falls are a great example of the natural wonder and beauty of this northern California park region.


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