Bridalveil Fall became popular after Ansel Adams published his photograph Gates of the Valley featuring the waterfall. Take the short (about 20 minutes round-trip), but steep, hike up to the base to see the falls close-up, but be sure to dress appropriately: You’ll encounter spray in the spring and possibly icy conditions in the winter.
Things to Know Before You Go
Bridalveil Fall is one of Yosemite’s most-photographed sites.
Make sure to wear solid footwear if hiking the trails around the fall, as they can get slippery or icey.
Come at sunrise for the best photos, before the crowds arrive.
The paved trail to the base of the falls is considered too steep for travelers using wheelchairs.
How to Get There
The parking lot at the Bridalveil Fall trailhead, often jammed during the summer season, is accessible via Wawona Road or Southside Drive. A paved trail leads from the parking lot to the falls. To avoid the traffic jams, instead head a little farther east into Yosemite Valley along Southside Drive, park along the side of the road, and hike from there. This trail offers various views of Bridalveil Fall on the way in. No shuttle service is available to the waterfall’s parking area.
When to Get There
Bridalveil Fall is a year-round attraction, though it’s at its most popular in May, when heavy spring rains dramatically increase the flow, and during the summer, when the park’s visitor numbers peak. If you’re hiking in the area, start early to beat the crowds or come late in the day, timing your hike to finish just before sunset.
The man responsible for making Bridalveil Fall famous, Ansel Adams was one of the most celebrated American photographers in history. He was best-known for his landscape photography highlighting the natural treasures of the American West and took many of the earliest images of America's national parks.