Yosemite Falls Moonbow

Lunar Rainbow and Big Dipper Photo by Nancy Robbins - click for larger image
Lunar Rainbow and Big Dipper
Photo © Nancy Robbins

Also known as lunar rainbows, John Muir called the amazing colors seen in Yosemite Falls by the light of the full moon "Lunar Spraybows".  Whatever you call them, make sure you don’t miss this amazing springtime event.  Many factors go into this elusive display come into alignment in Yosemite only a few days each spring. These factors include: clear skies, enough water in Yosemite Falls to create sufficient mist, dark skies, bright moonlight not blocked by the surrounding mountains, and the correct rainbow-making geometry.




Where to see the Moonbow
Although there are other places you can see a moonbow in the world, Yosemite National Park provides moonbow viewing at three locations:
1. The viewing terrace at the west end of the bridge near the base of Yosemite Falls
2. From the parking lot north of Sentinel bridge
3. Along the boardwalk in Cook's Meadow

Nancy got the amazing shot above with the Big Dipper in the sky from the bridge near Yosemite Falls.

When should you go?
The dates below are your best chances for seeing the moonbow in 2015 and 2016:

 2015 Dates
 Apr 3 - 5
 May 2 - 4
 Jun 1 - 3

 

2016 Dates
 Apr 20 - 22
 May 20 - 22
 Jun 19 - 21