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United States: Yosemite waterfalls

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Yosemite waterfalls > United States > Americas

[Visited: April 2018]

Our first stop in Yosemite is at Tunnel View, which offers one of the most typical landscape views of the park: El Capitan, Half Dome and several other landmark formations, with on the right hand side, Bridalveil fall coming down an abrupt cliff. It is only the first of the many waterfalls we will see in the next days. We have come at a perfect time: early spring, when the snow at higher altitudes is melting and water is coming down in abundance, finding its way over rocky surfaces and around boulders to reach the edges of the dramatic landscape where they inevitably and majestically tumble into the abyss below, into the green valleys of Yosemite. It seems that in summer, most waterfalls are reduced to a trickle, leaving only the traces of their mightier times on the surface of the rocky cliffs.

Picture of Yosemite waterfalls (United States): Nevada fall thundering into the valley below

Shortly after seeing Bridalveil fall, we stop to look up at El Capitan, and spot the delicate Horsetail fall, a seasonal stream of water blown into the air off the vertical grey wall, and indeed, resembling the curving shape of a horsetail. On our way up the Four Mile Trail, we get great views of the Upper and Lower Yosemite falls, until we reach a spot where we can see a rainbow in the chasm into which the latter thunders. We will get a closer look of both when we walk up from the valley floor, right into the spray of the Lower Yosemite fall, but unfortunately don't have the time to hike up all the way to the top of Upper Yosemite fall. There is simply too much to discover in Yosemite to be discovered in one visit; surely a good excuse to come back one day, and climb all the way to the top of El Capitan, too.

Picture of Yosemite waterfalls (United States): View of upper and lower Yosemite falls

From Glacier Point, a panorama unfolds before our eyes, and on the right of Half Dome, we see Nevada and Vernal falls. We will reach their very edge, but first get a close-up view of elegant Illilouette fall on our way down Panorama Trail. In its spray, the sun projects a rainbow, and with the Half Dome towering high above the fall and its valley, it is one of the top sights of Yosemite. When we arrive at the edge of Nevada fall some time later, we are able to stand on the rocky edge, just next to where the white water thunders into the valley below - a truly spectacular sight. When the water reaches the rocks some 180 metres below, a big spray is constantly catapulted into the forest. We now understand why this trail is called Mist Trail. A little lower, we walk past Vernal fall, which rains down on us on the way down to the valley. There are a couple other falls: Ribbon fall, and several others which I see from the trail to Inspiration Point. We later walk up to Bridalveil fall; getting really close means getting really wet here. Our farewell view of Yosemite is the one where we started: Tunnel View, with Bridalveil falls tumbling down as it has done for centuries.

Picture of Yosemite waterfalls (United States): Powerful water at the bottom of Nevada fall
Picture of Yosemite waterfalls (United States): Nevada fall in spring seen from across the valley
Picture of Yosemite waterfalls (United States): Half Dome looming over Illilouette fall
Picture of Yosemite waterfalls (United States): View of Nevada and Vernal falls from Glacier Point
Picture of Yosemite waterfalls (United States): Upper Yosemite fall seen from across the valley
Picture of Yosemite waterfalls (United States): View of Nevada fall from above
Picture of Yosemite waterfalls (United States): The spray of Nevada fall enveloping the trees of the forest below
Picture of Yosemite waterfalls (United States): The powerful spray of Nevada fall seen from below
Picture of Yosemite waterfalls (United States): Side view of Vernal fall
Picture of Yosemite waterfalls (United States): Bridalveil fall seen from a distance
Picture of Yosemite waterfalls (United States): The powerful lower Yosemite fall in springtime
Picture of Yosemite waterfalls (United States): Bridalveil fall with spray and raging river in the valley
Picture of Yosemite waterfalls (United States): Ribbon fall, on the side of El Capitan, the longest single-drop waterfall in North America

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