National Parks Tips

Best time to see Yosemite Falls

green field below gray granite peaks
The best time to see Yosemite Falls is in the Spring months. Thanks to the melting snow from the winter, the waterfall is at maximum capacity raging wildly typically during May and June. The snow melt allows for the waterfall to flow generally between November all the way through July. As the months wear on, the waterfall slowly dwindles and eventually dries up. It is hard to believe such a massive waterfall dries up, but due to the hot weather and melting snow, it is possible to see no water flowing from Yosemite Falls.

Is Yosemite Falls dry now?

Now that you know the best times to see Yosemite Falls, the waterfall typically dries up around August. The amount of heat and the disappearing snow lead to a completely dry waterfall. Generally between August to the end of October the waterfall is dry. If you are planning to visit Yosemite to see the waterfall, the best time to go is May or June when it is at peak flow. Yosemite Falls is the most well known, however there are other waterfalls in the park.

Is Yosemite Falls the tallest waterfall in Yosemite?

waterfall in yosemite next to gray mountains

Yosemite Falls stands at a staggering 2,425 feet and is one of the tallest waterfalls in the USA. Yosemite falls is the tallest waterfall in Yosemite. Yosemite falls is actually split up into three sections. Lower Yosemite Falls at 320 feet, the middle falls at 675 feet and the tallest section is Upper Yosemite Falls towering at 1,430 feet. There are nine other waterfalls in the main valley and this waterfall trumps them all. The top five tallest waterfalls in Yosemite are:

  • Yosemite Falls: 2,425 feet
  • Sentinel Falls: 2,000 feet
  • Ribbon Falls: 1,612 feet
  • Horsetail Falls: 1,000 feet
  • Bridalveil Falls: 620 feet

Can you hike to the top of Yosemite Falls?

When you enter the Yosemite Valley you can see Yosemite falls in the distance. You can hike to the top of Yosemite Falls and look down into the valley. The views from the top of the falls are absolutely breath-taking. You get to see near panoramic views of the sweeping Yosemite Valley landscape while the flowing river and falls continue to flow right next to you.

How difficult is the Yosemite Falls Hike?

There are actually two main trails for Yosemite Falls. You can choose to either hike to the base of Yosemite Falls or to the top of Yosemite Falls, each with its own unique adventure.

Lower Yosemite Falls
person walking away from mountains in a green field

Distance: 1.0 mile (loop)
Duration: 30 minutes
Elevation Gain: 50 feet


This short hike features amazing views of Yosemite Falls. This hike takes place on a well paved trail and leads you right up to the base of the falls with various vantage points of both the lower and upper falls.

Keep in mind:

Lower Yosemite Falls is very popular hike so expect the trail to be very crowded and the base of the falls to be incredibly busy.

Top of Yosemite Falls
hiker looking off in the distance at gray mountains

Distance: 7.2 miles (round-trip)
Duration: 6-8 hours
Elevation Gain: 2,700 feet


The difference between the lower and upper falls hike is night and day. This is a very strenuous and challenging hike that will take you up numerous switchbacks from the floor of the valley to one of the higher viewpoints. The end views are certainly worth it as you are rewarding with gorgeous views of Yosemite Valley and the cascading waterfall right next to you.

Keep in mind: This is a very strenuous hike so bring enough water and food to help keep your body energized and hydrated.


green field with granite peaks and waterfall in the background

Yosemite Falls is a memorable landmark in Yosemite National Park. This massive yet beautiful waterfall is one of the many beautiful natural formations in the park. Whether you’re visiting late in the Fall or in the Summer months, the waterfall is an amazing sight to see and well worth the visit. Its energy will humble you and if you are adventurous enough to hike to its top you will be rewarded with serene views.