Waterfall Guide of Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is well-known for its many waterfalls. If you are planning a trip to Yosemite, the waterfalls are a must for your visit. From the ever-popular Yosemite Falls to lesser-known Sentinel Falls, there is an assortment of waterfalls that you’ll enjoy visiting. Here is a guide to some of the most popular waterfalls in Yosemite National Park. If you are staying at one of our Mammoth luxury vacation rentals, consider adding the waterfalls at Yosemite National Park to your vacation itinerary.

Yosemite National Park in California

Planning Your Waterfall Trip to Yosemite National Park

There is no shortage of waterfalls to experience at Yosemite National Park. With thousands of falls to choose from with varying heights and intensities, Yosemite National Park offers a spectacular natural tourist experience. If you are planning a trip to Yosemite specifically to experience the falls, a bit of planning allows you to thoroughly enjoy the terrain to the fullest.

Popular Waterfalls to Visit

Planning is very important to ensure that you make the most of your trip. The waterfalls are divided into two groups: major and minor. The major waterfalls include the most popular attractions in Yosemite National Park such as Yosemite Falls, Vernal Fall, Illilouette Fall, and Nevada Fall. These particular waterfalls are often easier to get to in terms of hiking, and they also have a more predictable flow, ensuring that you’ll be able to experience the waterfall throughout the year.

Yosemite Falls

This is considered one of the “must visit” waterfalls in Yosemite National Park. Consisting of three sections, this is a double waterfall standing at a height of 2,425 feet. It’s known for its abundant spray that produces a rainbow, frazil ice, and is one of the few waterfalls that can be seen throughout Yosemite Valley.

Vernal Fall

Although it is one of the smaller waterfalls at 347 feet, Vernal Falls offers a year-round waterfall experience. In the summer months, this particular waterfall gives the appearance of several smaller waterfalls in one. The trek there can range from moderate to somewhat strenuous, but it is worth it to experience its beauty.

Nevada Fall

This is another one of the shorter waterfalls at 594 feet, but this year-round waterfall is a sight to behold. Fed by the Merced River, the impact of the water hitting the rocks makes the water appear white. It’s for this reason that the falls got the name “Nevada,” which means “snow-covered” in Spanish.

Close up of Horsetail fall in Yosemite National Park

Lesser-Known Waterfalls are a Hidden Treasure

The minor waterfalls such as Staircase Falls, Wildcat Falls, Horsetail Falls, and Ribbon Falls are less frequented by visitors at Yosemite, either because they are harder to get to or they have less predictable waterfall flows.

If you are staying at one of our Mammoth mountain vacation rentals and looking to experience something one of the less-frequented waterfalls, the following destinations offer waterfall experiences that you’ll enjoy.

Horsetail Falls

This particular waterfall is known not only for its unique horsetail shape but also for the beautiful orange glow it has when the sun hits it just right in mid-to-late February. Photographers come from miles around just to get a chance to capture Horsetail Falls, often called the “Fire Falls.” If you want the experience, plan ahead. This waterfall only flows from December to April.

Wildcat Falls

This waterfall is a hidden treasure concealed by plants and trees. Most people pass right by it even though it is located next to the more popular Cascade Falls. Flowing between March and May, Wildcat Falls is easy to get to and has a lovely tiered waterfall effect, making it appear like multiple mini waterfalls.

Staircase Falls

This waterfall is one that you have to plan to see to enjoy its effect. It only flows noticeably for about three weeks at the most when the snow is actively melting. This is when you’ll get to experience the meandering waterfall effect as the water flows through the granite ledges.

Yosemite National Park is an exceptional place to visit experience one of the most concentrated waterfall locations in North America. For more information about the best lodging near the falls, contact us today!