The crown jewel of Yosemite's waterfalls, Yosemite Falls is one of the tallest in North America and fifth highest in the world. Actually made up of three separate falls, it has a total drop of 2,425 feet. Yosemite Falls is also known for its moonbow display in spring and a "snow cone" that forms at the base of the upper fall in winter.
Fed by snow melt, the peak runoff is typically in May or June, and the roar of the falls can be heard in many parts of the eastern portion of Yosemite Valley. Once all of the snow in the high country has melted away, Yosemite Falls becomes only a trickle and is often dry by August. Visit the Yosemite Conservancy’s Yosemite Falls webcam to see what it looks like right now.
Discover more about Yosemite Falls by watching Yosemite Nature Notes: Yosemite Falls.
Getting to Yosemite Falls
Yosemite Falls can be seen throughout much of the eastern portion of Yosemite Valley, especially in Yosemite Village, but you can get closer! The easy 1-mile Lower Yosemite Falls loop trail will take you to the base of the falls (you might get a little wet in spring and early summer). You can access the trail at Yosemite shuttle stop #6 or across the street from Yosemite Lodge at the Falls The eastern section of the loop trail is wheelchair accessible.
You can also go to the very top by taking the Upper Yosemite Falls trail that begins near Yosemite shuttle stop, but make sure you’re prepared for this is a strenuous, day-long hike.
Swimming and wading near the top of waterfalls is very dangerous. Never enter the water upstream of a waterfall, even if it appears to be calm and shallow!