Yosemite National Park

Yosemite's Waterfalls Splash Into Springtime

Horsetail Fall may make a famously fiery showing in February, but the big fall-tacular is still to come.

Charles Davies / Getty Images

WATERY WONDERS: It's no surprise that the season of fall arrives in, you guessed it, the fall, but when is the "fall"-iest time of year around Yosemite National Park? Answer: Falls are major in the springtime, specifically around May and June, when melting snow from higher peaks begins to add epic oomph to the celebrated waterfalls of Yosemite Valley. Those sights of falling water are plentiful, and devoted waterfall followers all have their favorites, but some of the valley standouts include Yosemite Falls, that segmented superstar that is "one of the world's tallest" per the National Park Service, and Bridalveil Fall, a wonder that "thunders" in the springtime.

FALL FANDOMS: Each of the valley's waterfalls is famous, each has its particular quirks, and to claim that the various fall fandoms are incredibly passionate? There are hikers, cyclists, and nature observers who quickly gravitate to the fall they love best as soon as they enter Yosemite Valley. But wherever people go first, and whatever waterfall has captured their fall-obsessed fancies, it's the springtime when these behemoths summon their ultimate might. Add in the extreme height of many of Yosemite's falls — a number of them stand at well over a thousand feet — and the damp grandeur of this glorious scene has a way of making jaws drop, hearts swell, and the cares of the world drop away.

A FEW THINGS TO KNOW? A free day is coming up on the Yosemite National Park schedule (and, indeed, at all the fee-charging national parks). It's April 16, 2022, and everyone may enjoy complimentary entry, in honor of the kick-off of National Park Week. Also? If you plan to call upon the Big Y from May 20 through Sept. 30? A reservation will be required (unless you've booked lodging, or have a wilderness or Half Dome permit; read up on the caveats and must-knows here). And if you hope to catch a fall-made moonbow, that shimmery spectrum created by mist and moonlight? Before your jaw can drop, and your heart can swell, you'll want to get some tips about when to go.

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