The Forgotten Waterfalls of Yosemite
As we discussed in a previous post about the waterfalls of Yosemite, Yosemite National Park is rich in spring—and many of the falls are surprisingly low-profile despite their size and grandeur. Seeking out some of the park’s lesser-known cataracts is a great excuse to familiarize yourself with the full breadth of the Yosemite landscape. Quaking Aspen Falls You won’t usually see the name “Quaking Aspen Falls” on a map of Yosemite, but this handsomely splayed waterfall beside the Tioga Pass Road is worth appreciating. Informally named for the presence of a quaking aspen near its head, the 25-foot cascade can be seen from a pullout a couple of miles from the North Dome trailhead. Ribbon Falls Set within the magisterial beauty of Yosemite Valley—and right across it from the celebrated Bridalveil Fall—Ribbon Falls is probably semi-obscure among the waterfalls of Yosemite only because of the sublimity of its surroundings. This waterfall, however, is among the tallest single-drop plunges in the world, with a straight freefalling descent of 1,612 feet. Despite that epic height, Ribbon Falls is another of Yosemite’s many ephemeral ones, usually best appreciated in May. Royal Arch Cascade On the north side of Yosemite Valley, Royal Arch Cascade is a seasonal streamer of water staining a massive granite wall—one spectacularly weathered right nearby into the yawning recesses called the Royal Arches. Coupled with the loom of North Dome, the setting is—characteristically for Yosemite—spectacular. Silver Strand Falls This striking, 560-foot waterfall is Yosemite Valley’s most westerly, representing the plunge of Meadow Brook off the highlands to the south. Easily visible from the Tunnel View Overlook, it’s overshadowed by the world-famous prospect of the valley to the east. Take a day—take a week!—to explore the forgotten waterfalls of Yosemite, and hole up with Scenic Wonders between treks.