Bridalveil Fall is a mesmerizing sight, no matter how many times you’ve seen it. From Tunnel View, the 620-foot waterfall immediately draws your gaze, a bright streak of rushing water against Yosemite Valley’s granite walls.
While most Valley waterfalls are seasonal, Bridalveil Fall flows throughout the year. When the water peaks in late spring and early summer, the strong spray soaks the trail that leads to the base of the fall, creating damp, and sometimes difficult, conditions. During the rest of the year, the fall is known for its light, swaying flow.
For many visitors, Bridalveil Fall is the first major feature they see upon arriving in the park and their first stopping point on the Valley floor. Over time, however, the fall’s popularity has outpaced surrounding facilities and trails:
- The flood-prone parking area is ill-equipped to handle the flow of cars and pedestrians, leading to hazardous conditions.
- Upon arrival, visitors encounter rundown restrooms, as well as a lack of wayfinding and educational information.
- Some parts of the trail system are paved, but steep sections and uneven walkways prevent it from being universally accessible.
- Overgrown vegetation has obscured views of the fall, and people trying to get an up-close look have to share the single unobstructed viewing area with crowds of other visitors.
With major support from our donors, the project to restore Bridalveil Fall is enhancing the visitor experience and protecting surrounding habitat, based on a design informed by a public process and a shared vision for the area. Planned improvements include a redesigned, more efficient parking area, accessible pathways and viewpoints, new signs to help visitors navigate and learn about the area, and more.
Watch the video to learn more:
The project to restore the area around Bridalveil Fall officially broke ground in 2018, and trail work began in 2019. To facilitate continued restoration work, the Bridalveil area will be temporarily closed to visitors in summer 2020.
Improvements to the trail system, including a new raised boardwalk and viewing platforms, will provide visitors with safe access to stunning views of the fall while reducing pedestrian congestion. When complete, the restructured loop trail will link the parking area, a historic carriage road and vista points, enabling people to enjoy the beauty of the iconic feature in an easy-to-navigate, uncrowded setting.
Additional work planned for 2020 and beyond includes:
- Upgrading utilities and visitor facilities, including by installing electrical conduit, adding a water system, and replacing vault toilets with modern restrooms.
- Ameliorating the parking situation, by improving efficiency and water drainage in the existing lot, and by adding nearby roadside parking and turning lanes.
- Designing and installing signs with wayfinding and educational information to help people explore and learn about the Bridalveil Fall area.
Ultimately, this restoration aims to reclaim the priceless natural beauty, rustic character and riparian habitats of a popular part of Yosemite Valley, while providing an exceptional and memorable experience for visitors. Thank you to our generous donors for supporting this project!