Yosemite’s Bridalveil Fall getting long-needed rehab of infrastructure and natural areas

Bridalveil Fall is the first grand waterfall that most visitors encounter upon entering the iconic Yosemite Valley. Long before the 1864 Yosemite Grant Act set the Valley aside as protected public land, Yosemite residents and visitors marveled at the beauty and strength of the 617-foot (188 meters) fall.

Bridalveil Fall typically flows throughout the year, impelling year-round visitation and high volumes of use during spring flows.

For years, visitors to the Bridalveil Fall area have encountered congestion associated with the parking lot, crowded trails and viewing platform, a lack of accessible path of travel to the primary viewing platform, unclear way-finding, and low-functioning vault toilets.

Over time, Bridalveil Fall’s popularity has outpaced surrounding facilities and trails. 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 from scenic vantage points. People trying to get an up-close look have to share the single unobstructed viewing area with crowds of other visitors.

Now, Yosemite Conservancy has partnered with Yosemite National Park to restore the natural environment and public infrastructure to enhance the visitor experience at Bridalveil Fall.

The restoration project for Bridalveil Fall will focus on enhancing the visitor experience and protecting the surrounding habitat. A public process and a shared vision for the area will inform the design development.

The goals of the Bridalveil Fall Area Rehabilitation Project are to::

  • Reclaim the priceless natural beauty, rustic character and riparian habitats of the west end of Yosemite Valley while providing an exceptional and memorable experience for visitors;
  • Enhance visitor satisfaction and safety with a redesigned parking area within the same footprint, accessible pathways and upgraded restrooms;
  • Ensure that visitors of all abilities enjoy unobstructed views of Bridalveil Fall through several accessible vista points and the restoration of historic vistas;
  • Reduce crowding through a realigned loop trail so hikers can focus on the beauty of Bridalveil Fall without distractions;
  • Help visitors easily find their way throughout the area, with arrival information and directional signage;
  • Enrich the Bridalveil Fall experience by sharing the intriguing natural history and compelling human stories of the area.

The restoration work will be funded through a partnership between the National Park Service and Yosemite Conservancy donors.

Featured photo by Asamudra via Wikipedia.

See Yosemite Conservancy website.

See completed restoration plan (PDF).

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