Bridalveil Fall Trail

Bridalveil Falls is one of the most prominent waterfalls in Yosemite Valley and also one of the easiest to access (bonus!) which is why it’s one of the best hikes in Yosemite. At 620 feet tall, Bridalveil is different from most other Yosemite waterfalls because it doesn’t have a direct drop from a glacier-carved hanging valley. Instead, Bridalveil drops at a curve, looking like a streaming veil (hence the name). It’s often the first waterfall you see as you drive into Yosemite Valley. Unlike many waterfalls in Yosemite Valley, it runs year-round.

Bridal Veil Falls
Bridalveil Falls is one of the few falls in Yosemite Valley that reliably runs year-round, seen here in fall.

Enjoy the windy views and cool off in the mist of Bridalveil Falls

On a windy day, the water on Bridalveil appears to not even hit the ground, moving almost horizontally at times. For that reason, the Ahwahneechee Peoples that are native to the valley called it “Pohono,” meaning “Sprit of the Puffing Wind.” This is a neat natural phenomenon, so if it’s windy, it’s well worth seeing.

If you’re wondering, “can you day hike in Yosemite?,” the answer is a resounding “yes!,” and Bridalveil Trail is one of my top choices for shorter day hikes in the park. It’s a short quarter mile from the parking area to the base of Bridalveil Falls. I like to visit these falls on a hot day because it’s a short walk and the mist of the hike is refreshing. Kids may enjoy playing at the rocks at the bottom and observing pools of water (I certainly did as a youngster). Watch them, though, as the river can be swift and the rocks slippery. This hike can get crowded. Early morning and evening see the fewest visitors.

About the author

Liz Thomas

Liz Thomas

Professional hiker and guidebook author

Liz Thomas is thru-hiker and guidebook author best known for breaking the women’s self-supported record on the Appalachian Trail. She’s the author of the National Outdoor Book Award winning Long Trails: Mastering the Art of the Thru-hike, which won the National Outdoor Book Award in 2017. When she’s not backpacking, Liz is a motivational speaker who has presented on Capitol Hill, corporate retreats, national non-profit donor events, and colleges and universities including Yale and MIT. You can find her at www.eathomas.com or @lizthomashiking and Facebook.

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