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Yosemite Valley Waterfalls & Dogwoods Are Revving Up!

Warm weather’s spring snow melt is fueling Yosemite’s waterfalls and I couldn’t resist a drive up to Yosemite Valley to check them out. And, what about those dogwoods? Were they blooming yet?

Where: Yosemite National Park
Distance: About 10 miles to drive my Yosemite Valley Loop, but you can also walk it or take the free shuttle to explore it
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Range: 3,888 to 4,129′
Date: April 25, 2019

I headed up Highway 140, following the Merced River into Yosemite Valley and that river was really moving, roaring over the rocks and had spread wide on its banks. I couldn’t help think of how dangerous that river is right now and if anyone fell into it, well, they would be a goner for sure. Such power in those waters! Yet people do get too close to those dangerous waters every year. Please, be extra careful near our rivers and streams. Even if it may look calm where you are, it is deceiving. Those calm-looking waters are ultra-cold waters, moving faster than you think and can sweep you quickly away, into rocks and kill you. Don’t tempt fate, even for a selfie.

My plan was to head into the valley, stopping along the way to take in the views of the valley’s waterfalls from different angles. If you aren’t familiar with the waterfalls, I found a great website with more information with a Yosemite Waterfalls Map. My first waterfall stop was before I headed into the valley and there was a wonderful plaque showing the waterfalls.

That first big waterfall was the roaring and tumbling Cascade Creek. I couldn’t see the entire 500-foot set of falls and cascades from my vantage point at the turnout but it was loud.

My next stop was at a much smaller “waterfall” where Fern Springs tumbles about 6 inches out of its calm pool over the rocks.

Bridalveil Fall drops 617 feet and flows year round although certainly not as much as it does in spring.








Some sources say that the drop that 1,612 foot Ribbon Fall is one of the highest free-leaping waterfalls in the United States. This waterfall is usually dry by fall.







We all love Yosemite Falls from different angles. It is one of the tallest waterfalls in North America, with a 2,425 foot drop. It is actually made up of three separate falls that include Upper Yosemite Fall  at 1,430 feet, the middle cascades at 675 feet, and Lower Yosemite Fall  at 320 feet. It usually is dry by summer. You can check out Yosemite Falls real time with the webcam.

I was really curious about where the dogwoods were in their spring blooming stage and stopped by Half Dome Village (Curry Village). The blooms were just getting started.

I was easily to find some nice trees a bit more plentiful with blooms.

And some of those blooms were so beautiful all by themselves.

Dogwoods weren’t the only trees in bloom. Maples had their flowers.

And the apple trees in the parking lot were showing off their pink and white flowers.

I continued driving through the park, making a stop by the “Gates of the Valley” pullout. No reflections today because the Merced River was really rolling but it was still a pretty look at Bridalveil Fall.

I had planned to stop and park in the Bridalveil parking lot for a closer look at that Fall and maybe feel the mist of it but the cars were backed up getting into the parking lot. It felt a little too peopley to me and I drove on on to Tunnel View for a last look at the valley, Half Dome, El Cap and Bridalveil Fall.

The waterfalls and dogwoods are just getting ramped up. They are beautiful right now and will continue for a while. If you head on up to check it out, I recommend you arrive early. I think the secret will be out soon about just how beautiful things are looking in the Yosemite Valley.

Dog Hike?

Rules regarding dos in Yosemite National Park vary based on where you are. I recommend you check out Yosemite Pet Rules for the latest rules and information.

If you bring your pet to Yosemite, please protect your pet, other people, and park wildlife by abiding by these regulations:

Where Pets Are Allowed

  • In developed areas
  • On fully paved roads, sidewalks, and bicycle paths (except when signed as not allowing pets)
  • In all campgrounds except walk-in campgrounds (e.g., Camp 4) and in group campsites


  • pets must be restrained on a leash not more than six feet long or otherwise physically restrained
  • leashed pets may not be left unattended
  • for the courtesy of other visitors, human companions are responsible for cleaning up and depositing pet feces in trash receptacles
  • remember that pet food is also bear food: store pet food as if it were human food.

Where Pets Are Not Allowed

  • On trails, including the trail to Vernal Fall (however, pets are allowed on the Wawona Meadow Loop)
  • On unplowed roads covered in snow
  • In undeveloped and wilderness areas
  • In public buildings
  • On shuttle buses
  • In lodging areas
  • In all walk-in and group campgrounds/campsites, including Camp 4
  • In any other areas, as signed

These regulations protect both pets and wildlife from disease and each other. The National Park Service has prohibited pets on trails for many years. In particular, some pets chase wildlife, pollute water sources, and can become defensive and dangerous in unfamiliar surroundings. Pet owners have the burden to assure their pet does not damage the park values for others in those areas where pets are allowed.

Yosemite Hospitality operates a dog kennel in Yosemite Valley from approximately late May through early September. Written proof of immunizations (rabies, distemper, parvo, and Bordetella) must be provided. Dogs must be at least 20 pounds (smaller dogs may be considered if you provide a small kennel). You can get more information about the kennel by calling 209/372-8326.


Yosemite Valley Waterfalls (sign located at Cascade Creek)

Yosemite Waterfall Map (TravelYosemite.com)

Prior Blogs in the Area:

Hiking Through Dogwood Blooms at Mirror Lake April 30, 2018

Dogwoods, Waterfalls and Reflections along Yosemite’s Valley Loop May 3, 2017

Mirror Lake Loop Hike April 26, 2016

Leaf Peeping in Yosemite Valley October 23, 2014


Yosemite Waterfalls Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Pet Rules


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