Yosmite, Bridalveil Falls
The stunning Bridalveil Falls is the first attraction seen from the south as a tourist enters Yosemite National Park. The picture is that of a bright blue sky, the gorgeous cliffs, and the water fall cascading down the cliffs. These falls rival Yosemite Falls for the icon of Yosemite National Park, as visitors find the Bridalveil Falls to be both unusual and appealing.
The falls flow year round, although the volume will decrease after the spring thaw once all the snow has melted. The falls are tucked away in a hanging valley, and stand at 620 feet tall. Formed as a result of the Merced glacier that came through thousands of years ago carving out the cliff, while a smaller glacier that grew out of the larger one carved the outside of the valley.
The trail the takes visitors to the base of the falls is one of the most popular hikes. It is especially popular during the peak season flow, as the water volume has increased with the snow melt, making it plunge over the cliff, creating a large mist. Sometimes the mist is so great and thick, spreading into the forest that the falls seem to be on fire! Actually the whole area is being covered by a fine layer of water. Often hikers can’t see the falls as a result of this mist many times. The sun creates rainbows in all directions because of small water particles that are everywhere. Make sure to bring a rain jacket if your visit during the spring season, because you are guaranteed to get wet!
During the late summer, swimmers may enjoy a dip in the plunge pool. This can also be very dangerous, as the force the plunge creates can pull swimmers under.
It is during the summer months that the Alwahneechee Indian tribe’s name for the fountain, Pohono, meaning Spirit of the Puffing wind can be seen. There are very strong winds in the area, and they create sharp updrafts against the walls of the cliffs, as a result the wind carries the water into the valley in a spray of water. Sometimes the wind can even blow the water back up over the cliffs, making it appear like it has stopped flowing!
You will see wide variety of the conifer trees in this area, as they are the most common type of vegetations. This would include the Douglas Firs, Pines, and spruces. The park is also home to a few groves of the Giant Red Sequoia tree.