Vernal Falls Rainbow

Spring is the time for waterfalls! Photos from hiking the Mist Trail and Upper Yosemite Falls

Outdoor Adventures

Yosemite has something to offer in every season but when it comes to its waterfalls, nothing compares to Spring. This year, winter rolled in late and while the overall snow-pack in the high country is sadly well under average (67% as of 4/1/2018), the final storms have made for plenty of snow to melt on down and fill the rivers below. They even had to close the Valley for a few days as it flooded over. With less snow up above, things may not last as long as in great years but it’s there for now! 

It’s been a while since I experienced this view of the park so last weekend, I made the drive up with two stops on my mind: The Mist Trail and Upper Yosemite Falls. I realize these are hardly secret spots and I’ve written about both trails before in detail so I won’t bore you with the details of the routes but sufficient to say there is a reason why literally thousands head to each every day this time of year.

The Mist Trail: Vernal & Nevada Falls

Views on the Mist Trail

River views from along the Mist Trail

Vernal Falls comes into view along the Mist Trail Stairs

Vernal Falls

Vernal Falls from the Mist Trail

Top of Vernal Falls

Looking down from the top of Vernal Falls

Nevada Fall from the Trail

Looking up at Nevada Fall from the Trail to the Top!


Looking out from the top of Nevada Fall

Nevada Falls Viewpoint

Across Nevada Falls: The main viewpoint and the mighty waterfall roaring along side!

The top of Nevada Fall

Straight on down! The top of Nevada Fall

The Nevada Falls Bridge

The river above the falls and the bridge crossing for it

Views from the fall

Of course it's not all waterfalls. Mighty mountain views from Nevada Falls.


Arriving early in the morning as you really always should try for (no line at the gate and far less company on the trail), it was immediately clear even from the road in that now is indeed a great time to head to Yosemite. Even before Yosemite Falls came into view, there was water everywhere — Horsetail Falls, Bridalveil Fall, and a dozen other falls with and without official names were all roaring including several which I’d never seen going before. I spent two days in the park touring it all, first up the Mist Trail and then over to Upper Yosemite Falls. Between it, I spend a night in the famous Camp 4, treated myself to a dinner at the Yosemite Lodge Bar, made a few friends, even spotted a Botcat. 

Upper Yosemite Falls

Upper Yosemite Falls

The upper falls from just past Columbia Rock on the trail to the top.

Half Dome from the Trail

The hike up Yosemite Falls doesn't just have waterfall views, you also get this incredible valley shot!

A treacherous trail down

The steps and an even narrower flight below are the last step to reach the top of Upper Yosemite Falls.

The falls before the falls

Just before you reach the main attraction, you pass by this waterfall leading to the drop below.

Upper Yosemite Falls

Obligatory shot of the river rushing over to the big drop from behind the guardrail.

View from the top of the falls

The top of the falls and the valley far below.

Upper Yosemite Falls

Looking across at the main falls from the trail to the top.

Botcat on the Trail

Spotted this guy (or gal?) just as I was stepping off the trail. A great final part of the adventure.

Bridalveil Fall

One last waterfall view from the drive out of Yosemite.


With waterfalls running nearly as high as I’ve ever seen them myself and a calm, Spring vibe it was a near magical visit. But enough talk, by now I’m sure you’ve taken a look through my photo tour and nothing beats seeing it yourself so if you can make it to the park soon, get on it — before summit dries up the view!

Heading to Yosemite? Be sure to check the park website for current conditions, trail updates, and essentials for a safe & fun visit.

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