Thursday, June 4, 2009


Bridalveil Fall

Bridalveil Fall

Elevation at trailhead: 4,000 feet (1,200 meters)
Elevation Gain: 200 feet (60 meters), more or less

Why Hike to Bridalveil Fall? At 620 feet (189 meters), this cataract is short compared to Yosemite Falls, but we're still willing to bet you don't have anything like it in your neighborhood. It's famous for the mist that wafts off it when the breezes blow and which, according to the poetic, isolation-addled souls who get to name waterfalls, resembles a bridal veil.

Best Time to Visit: In the springtime, when the snowmelt is roaring over the falls and you'll need windshield wipers for your spectacles - sometimes from a quarter mile away.

Hiking Time: 15 - 30 minutes

Crowd Factor: As heavy as the waterflow, generally. Along with Lower Yosemite Falls, this is one place where virtually every tour bus is sure to stop, so crowds will appear in waves.

Difficulty: Easy; we rate it a 1 out of 10. There's some incline and the spray-soaked path can be slippery near the falls, but it's still a hike that almost anyone can do.

Parking: A large lot at the trailhead. It often fills up, but if you drive a few hundred meters into the valley, you'll find a trail to the falls running parallel to the road, and you can almost always find a parking spot somewhere along here, with the added bonus of having a view of El Capitan. We prefer this longer trail anyway. It crosses Bridalveil Creek and some pleasant meadows - and really, the more of Yosemite Valley you walk through, the happier you're going to be.

Nearest Restrooms: In the parking lot.

Nearest Snacks: Assuming that all the cooler-laden cars in the parking lot are out of bounds, your best bet is Yosemite Village, five miles east.

Getting There: From Yosemite Valley, take Highway 41, which heads towards Wawona and the south park exit. You'll reach the Bridalveil Falls parking lot very shortly after turning onto Highway 41. See the trail map for a clearer idea.

Beware of: slippery rocks. The mist that gives the falls their name makes footing treacherous as you approach the falls.

Best Views: They aren't always from the very end of the trail, which is near the base of the falls. During the spring runoff, there's so much mist whipping off the falls that the only people who'll go there are small children who've been ordered by their parents to risk their tiny, expendable lives to pose for pictures, or me. (next time I should have my water-housing or maybe some windshield wipers) =)

Just wanted to say thank you to Phil King who happens to work for Flickr. He picked my buddy Shawn & I up when we got lost after our 12 mile hike to the sequoia trees. We happen to miss our turn to the campgrounds & wound up 3 miles outside of Yosemite.

The Tunnel View

The Tunnel View

The Tunnel View is probably Yosemite's most famous vista. Lots of famous landmarks are visible here, including, from left to right, El Capitan, Clouds Rest, Half Dome, Sentinel Rock, Sentinel Dome, Bridalveil Fall, and a tree.

If you enter Yosemite Valley via Highway 41, this will be one of your first glimpses of Yosemite Valley; you'll see this immediately upon exiting the eponymous tunnel just uphill from the viewpoint. If you entered Yosemite Valley via another route, follow the signs to Bridalveil Fall (or Highway 41), but continue uphill past the falls to this spot.

View On Black

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1 comment:

  1. holy crap you were missing from here so long i quit checking....very sorry, i'm back now though