Yosemite National Park: Picturesque Waterfalls

Out of the 58 National Parks the United States has to offer, I have visited four. Arches National Park in Utah, Hawaii Volcanoe’s National Park on the Big Island, and both Rainier and Olympic National Parks in Washington State. There are so many more I’m anxious to explore and California’s Yosemite National Park is high on my bucket list. 

Named a national park in 1864, Yosemite is known for it’s towering pinnacles, incredibly stunning overlooks, rock-climbing and challenging day-hikes that will leave you both breathless and wet. What its most well known for though and what I’m most excited to experience and photograph is its impressive collection of water falls. I recently read the following quote from travel writer, Michael Turtle which said, “the rivers and waterfalls through the park are like veins, bringing life to the park from an unseen beating heart”.

I may not be able to visit Yosemite at exactly the ideal time to view the waterfalls, which is during Spring, but I will get there this year and I can’t wait to witness the power of these majestic falls and feel that heart beating through the park!

Here are a few of the ones I’m most looking forward to seeing!

Bridalveil Falls

"Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0" http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

“Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0”
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

  • 620 ft.
  • Flows year around.
  • One of the most photographed falls in the park.

NEVADA FALLS

"Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0" http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

“Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0”
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

  • 594 ft.
  • Nevada Falls was named from a Spanish word meaning “snowy” due to the forceful mist that comes for the water hitting the slick and rocky slopes on its way down resembling snow.
  • Sits above Vernal Falls and is accessible by hiking the Mist Trail.

VERNAL FALLS

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

  • 317 ft.
  • To get up close and personal with Vernal Falls hike Mist Trail, said to be the best hike in the entire park with some of the best views.
  • Hike to the top of the falls and take in the scenery at Emerald Pool.

HORSETAIL FALLS

Courtesy of originally posted to Flickr as P2160903.jpg via Ambitious Wench http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en

Courtesy of originally posted to Flickr as P2160903.jpg via Ambitious Wench
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en

  • Approximately 2,130 ft
  • Flows seasonally in winter to early spring
  • In February, if conditions are just right, you can witness the waterfall illuminated from the setting sun giving the impression it’s on fire.

YOSEMITE FALLS

"Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0" http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

“Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0”
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

  • Yosemite Falls is the tallest falls in North America at 2,425 ft.
  • Said to be so powerful it actually shakes the ground.
  • Consists of multiple plunges and cascades.

Some other National Parks that top my list are Zion, Bryce Canyon, Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Denali. 

Which National Park would you like to see most?

This post is part of the 2014 A to Z April Blogging Challenge
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Comments

    1. Dsmythe
      Dsmythe

      I haven’t either Lila and can’t wait to spend some time at Yosemite this summer. I hope you get to visit both as well, there’s something extremely calming about being in a National Park. Congrat’s on completely the A to Z Challenge!

    1. Dsmythe
      Dsmythe

      Great tip Corinne, that’s been on my mind. We are going in July this year which means I won’t be seeing the falls at their best but that just means we’ll have to return next Spring. :)

  1. Ann

    We went last September, between the fires and the government shut down. Good timing. I had my two kids with me and we did a part of the Vernal Falls Hike, I had to stop with my son (not blaming my son, I was exhausted) after a certain point and my husband and friends continued with my daughter in her stroller. At some point they couldn’t go any farther with the stroller. I think Yosemite is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been and I can not wait to go back.
    Ann recently posted…Zoos and Science CentersMy Profile

    1. Dsmythe
      Dsmythe

      Ann I’m impressed you even attempted those hikes with little ones, hopefully they had a good time as well. I’m love hearing how much you enjoyed it, I’ve seen amazing pictures for so long and know I’ll love it as well.

    1. Dsmythe
      Dsmythe

      I agree Calli! I’m loving your blog and would love to read what you’d write about Yosemite. I’ll be waiting! :) Now I’m off to read your Z is for Zero Mile… I’m curious.

  2. Lucy

    Yosemite is the closest to heaven I have ever become! I’m lucky that I have been there several times and each visit takes my breath away! Your pictures are calling me to re-visit the park soon!

    1. Dsmythe
      Dsmythe

      Charlie, I think all parks can be full of tourists which is why it’s so important to go early in the morning to see the things you’d like to see. I’ve never ventured off the beaten path to hike, but haven’t had any problems hiking at any park I’ve been to. I love them!

    1. Dsmythe
      Dsmythe

      Oh Krista… I highly recommend it. Arches is incredible, I often find myself speechless when I’m there. Be sure to hike through the park early in the morning before it’s too hot and too crowded. It’s truly majestic.

  3. Jen

    I live in Switzerland (expat) and the biggest waterfalls in Europe are fairly close. Hoping to get there.

    Though, I’m always amazed at richness of beautiful places the US has to offer. No place like home.

    1. Dsmythe
      Dsmythe

      Those would be fun to see and then you’d have a comparison to the ones at home. The US is incredibly beautiful, I’m hungry to explore more and more of it each year.

    1. Dsmythe
      Dsmythe

      Same here Dave and how exciting it would be to get a great photo of it. I love photographically mapping out my adventures. I’m a visual person so that’s what works for me. And I’m passionate about photography!

    1. Dsmythe
      Dsmythe

      I have only seen this great park in pictures as well, that’s why I’m planning a trip this summer. It will be great to have my own pictures to share. :)

    1. Dsmythe
      Dsmythe

      I have a feeling that when I go this summer I will also want to go back again and again. National Parks are so large it’s hard to see everything you’d like in one trip, especially if you enjoy seeking out the great hiking trails.

    1. Dsmythe
      Dsmythe

      I love them as well which is why I’m focusing on seeing more of them. Zion is extremely high on my list for many reasons and now I need to reheard Kenai Fjords more in Alaska. Thanks for letting me know it’s one of your favorites.

    1. Dsmythe
      Dsmythe

      My son is a rock climber, have you been to any of the National Parks in Utah to climb? When I look at his pictures I realize how much better he sees the parks than me, once he gets to the top. Great views from up high!

    1. Dsmythe
      Dsmythe

      Thanks Christina! What time of year did you go? I know I’ll miss a couple of the falls because I’m going a bit late in the season but I’m sure I’ll catch a few.

    1. Dsmythe
      Dsmythe

      There’s so many great parks in the US it’s hard to pick which to see and I live here. Glad to be heading to Yosemite this year, I know I’ll love it!

    1. Dsmythe
      Dsmythe

      Thanks for the suggestion Bob… I love a good tip! I have wanted to visit Maine for quite some time so I’ll start looking into this for sure and get it added to my list. :)

    1. Dsmythe
      Dsmythe

      I’ve only driven through Big Sur and each time think I need to check it out more. Hopefully we can do that this summer. Sounds like you’re planning to be back in this area sometime this year, that’s exciting!

  4. Katie

    We went to Yosemite in the fall a couple years ago and there were no waterfalls at any of the falls we went to and mirror lake wasn’t as much of a mirror. BUT, the park was still gorgeous! Glacier Point is especially beautiful. The valley is very very crowded, but just about anywhere else was peaceful with a lot less people.
    Katie recently posted…Thailand RoundupMy Profile

    1. Dsmythe
      Dsmythe

      Great tips Katie, I will look into Mirror Lake and Glacier Point more. Thanks! Since we live so close hopefully I can visit more than once and see the park at different times of the year. I for sure have to go during the Spring though to see these falls and know it will be very crowded. I love to hike so I’m counting on it being more peaceful, like you said, once you get on the trails.

  5. Hailey Hirst

    When you finally make it to the park I recommend taking the Mist Trail up to Vernal Falls and continuing all the way to Nevada Falls. Both are amazing! If you want a good view of Nevada falls from a distance you can hike back down the John Muir trail. It gives a good change in scenery and is an easier walk downhill. Enjoy! :)
    Hailey Hirst recently posted…Yosemite National ParkMy Profile

    1. Dsmythe
      Dsmythe

      I love visiting National Parks and some that you mentioned are high on my list. Canada is stunning and I know I’ll want to visit them all. You’ve mentioned some I haven’t heard of, thanks!

    1. Daidri
      Daidri

      We share the same hopes! I have visited a couple National Parks in UT and they are stunning. I’m ready to see more and Yosemite is high on my list this year. I love how National Parks ground me, they are so grand and peaceful!

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