Bridalveil Fall is a popular waterfall in Yosemite National Park and is very easy to get to via a short trail. If you’re planning a trip to Yosemite National Park, the newly revamped Bridalveil Fall trail should be at the top of your list.
I recently had the chance to explore the popular Bridalveil Falls in Yosemite and was amazed by the grand height and distinct swaying nature of the waterfall, as well as the easy, upgraded, and well-maintained trail.
This is a great hike for anyone looking for a less strenuous but rewarding activity for their Yosemite itinerary.
Bridalveil Falls Overview
Bridalveil Fall is hard to miss. It is the first waterfall you will see when entering the park from the south entrance.
When entering from the west entrance, the signage for Bridalveil Fall is clearly marked at the junction of Southside Dr and Wawona Rd.
Bridalveil Fall itself is a sight to behold. Standing at 620 feet, it’s one of the most prominent waterfalls in Yosemite. The water sways with the wind, similar to a bride’s veil, thus giving it its unique name!
Bridalveil Fall Trail
- Difficulty – Easy
- Trail Length – around 0.5-mile round trip
- Elevation – very slight, if any, mostly flat
- Time needed – around 30 minutes.
This might be one of the easiest and shortest hikes in Yosemite National Park. I found it to be even easier than the Lower Yosemite Falls Trail, which was quite short as well.
You will reach the waterfall with just a quarter-mile stroll along magnificent views.
The initial path was paved, and later, it was on a boardwalk. It was mostly flat, but I did not think it was wheelchair-friendly as there was a slight grade in some places.
The recent upgrades to the trail include improved walkways, added viewing platforms, and informative signage that enriches the experience. The parking lot is bigger, and the restrooms are better.
Towards the end of the trail and at the base of the falls, there is a large viewing area with some stone wall seating to admire the falls.
When I visited during winter, the water flow was quite less, but there was still the swaying of the falls against the wind, and it was beautiful.
The rocks and boulders at the base of the falls were dry. People were going on the rocks and closer to the falls, which seemed unsafe to me.
During Spring, the waterfall flow is at its peak, and the spray of the mist is felt on the viewing platform and even on the trail! You can sometimes see a rainbow on a sunny day!
There are several short paths that branch out from the main trail to explore the surrounding scenery. We explored one and found a beautiful creek flowing next to the trail.
Facilities at Trailhead
Parking – There is a huge parking lot at the Trailhead. I visited this waterfall in winter and was able to easily find parking. If the lot is full, waiting for a few minutes might get you a spot. As it is a short hike, the turnaround time is quick.
You can also park further along Southside Dr on the side of the road and take the alternative trail to Bridalveil Falls from there.
Restrooms – There are restrooms at the trailhead parking lot. The facilities here have been greatly improved after the upgrades made by NPS.
How to get here
Bridalveil Fall is inside the Yosemite National Park and you will need to pay the National Park Entrance fee to be able to enter the park and reach the trailhead.
The parking lot for the Bridalveil Fall Trailhead is north of Tunnel View on Wawona Road. If you are coming from the South Entrance (Highway 41), it will be on the way to Yosemite Valley.
If you are coming from the west entrance (Highway 120 of Highway 140), there are clear signs to take Wawona Rd from Southside Dr to reach Bridalveil Fall trailhead. We took the Big Oak Flat entrance 120 and stopped here on our way to the park.
The free park shuttle does not stop at Bridalveil Fall. The paid Valley Floor tour makes a stop here and at Tunnel View.
Tips for Your Visit
- Best Time to Visit: Spring is ideal when the water flow is at its peak. But I visited during the winter, and there was water in the falls. The crowds are much less in Yosemite in winter season.
- What to Bring: You don’t need any extra gear for Bridalveil Fall as it is a short walk. Wear comfortable shoes. A camera is a must for capturing the breathtaking views.
- Respecting the Environment: Remember, this is a protected area. Stay on the trail and follow park guidelines to help preserve its natural beauty. We saw folks on the rocks trying to get to the falls; if there is a sign that says it’s not safe, please don’t do it.
What else can you do after visiting Bridalveil Fall?
Tunnel View – After you have taken in the amazing scenery and the magnificent Bridalvel Fall, you can stop at the nearby Tunnel View for one of the most epic views of Yosemite Valley.
Yosemite Falls – Yosemite Falls is the most spectacular waterfall in Yosemite National Park, and the Lower Yosemite Falls trail is very easy and almost flat, doable by most people.
Mirror Lake – Mirror Lake is at the eastern end of Yosemite Valley, but a must-see, in my opinion. The Lake is truly like a mirror with the reflection of the surrounding cliffs in it. You can do the full Mirror Lake Loop hike like we did for a moderate hike or just walk the easy paved road from the trailhead to reach Mirror Lake.
Final Takeaways: Bridalveil Falls in Yosemite
I loved visiting the serene and soothing Bridalveil waterfall. You can reach it via a quick stroll and combine it with a visit to Tunnel View. The new trail is paved and is very family-friendly.
Even though it can get crowded, the views are so beautiful that you can still find a corner to be still and admire the falls and the surrounding nature.