It’s appropriate that Yosemite National Park shares its name with Yosemite Falls. Its height alone earns Yosemite Falls top honors in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and in all of North America. From the brink of the upper fall to the bottom of the lower fall, Yosemite Falls measures 2,425 feet high (739 meters), making it the tallest waterfall on the continent (and either the 6th or 7th tallest in the world).
In many spots, you can get a good view of the lower fall, or the upper fall, but it’s tough to find a place where you can see both. At the trailhead, you can see the upper and lower falls at the same time — but further up the trail, the upper fall disappears from view.
The trail to the base of the lower fall doesn’t take long to hike, just a few minutes, and it’s an easy, paved trail the entire way.
You can scramble up the rocks to get a closer look at the waterfall, but it’s not safe. Instead, enjoy the great view of the lower fall from the viewing area, where rocks and a huge log provide an excellent foreground for photos.
Back at the road, snap one more photo of Half Dome, which towers over the meadow.
Lodge at the Falls
As the name suggests, Yosemite’s Lodge at the Falls is within walking distance of Yosemite Falls. Depending on the room you get, you may be able to see (or at the very least, hear) the tumbling water.
The actual “lodge” is a much bigger building — the picture above is where I stayed. The smaller units have four rooms on top, and four on the bottom.
If you get an upstairs room, you’ll have a balcony. Even though I only had a view of the parking lot, it was all beautiful when I awoke on Day 5 to find heavy, wet snowflakes piling up outside. What a great day to learn to ski — which I did, at Yosemite’s ski are, Badger Pass.
[tmt_info =””]All the hotel rooms in Yosemite Valley are expensive during the spring and summer months, but the rooms at the Lodge at the Falls are surprisingly cheap in winter. I paid $79 per night for my room at the Lodge. The bargain was so great, I rearranged my entire trip to include two nights in the valley (and I wish I had stayed a third night). I snagged that great price in 2010, and since then I’ve never seen this room cheaper than $99 to $119.[/tmt_info]
Here’s the time-lapse, dash-cam video that includes three clips from my drive around Yosemite Valley: