Got a thing for water flowing down giant slabs of rock? If so, get thyself ASAP to Yosemite National Park. It's water, water everywhere, and all the celebrity waterfalls are putting on the biggest show of the season: starring Bridalveil, Vernal, Nevada, Illilouette and Co. If this isn't peak waterfall season, I don't know what is. That's Nevada Fall above, raging next to Liberty Cap, as seen from the John Muir Trail on June 4.
We spent a day in Yosemite Valley, hiking out of the Happy Isles trailhead. The spray from Vernal Fall about 1.5 miles in soaked us to the skin on the Mist Trail, and it was another mile to Nevada Fall. We hiked another mile to check out Little Yosemite Valley, then headed back past Nevada to the John Muir Trail, to complete a beautiful 9-mile loop (with about 2,100 feet of elevation gain) back to Happy Isles.
The next day we headed to Glacier Point, where the main road was still lined with snow. There was too much snow to hike to Sentinel Dome, so we took the Panorama Trail to catch a view of Illilouette Fall. If ever there was an appropriately-named trail, it's Panorama. With extensive views of Half Dome, Vernal and Bridalveil falls, our necks were stiff on the left side heading out and on the right side going back. Illilouette can be viewed from a trail turnoff about 2 (steep) miles in and can't be seen from any road.
To avoid the madness that is Yosemite Valley on weekends, try to enter the park on a weekday. When we came out the southern entrance (near Wawona) on Sunday at 10:30 a.m., the line at the entrance booth must've been a half-mile long, and growing. The cables to Half Dome were put in place today, and permits are now required on weekends for the Half Dome hike.
Photo credit: Julie Sheer / Los Angeles Times
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