Yosemite Falls and Merced River

June 30, 2023

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Photographer: Ray Boren 

Summary Author: Ray Boren

Fed by a bounteous, melting high-country snowpack, the spectacular Yosemite Falls tumble and reflect in the brimming Merced River in a mid-Yosemite Valley photograph, taken on June 1, 2023. In a second image, from the same day, the Lower Yosemite Fall plunges toward the valley floor, generating a persistent mist.

The winter of 2022-2023 was the snowiest ever recorded in Yosemite National Park, with the snowpack at 240 percent of normal on the benchmark date of April 1, and the Merced drainage at 369 percent on June 1, according to the U.S. National Park Service. Repeated winter and spring snows occasionally shut down the park, and flooding rivers and creeks engulfed shoreline trees and swamped trails and boardwalks. Higher elevation traffic routes, such as the Sierra Nevada Range’s Tioga Road and pass, and the park’s rim-top Glacier Point viewpoints, as well as other popular roads and trails, remained closed as the summer season began, due to remaining snow and road damage.

Yosemite Falls — one of the world’s tallest waterfalls — is plural for a reason: The beautiful cascade, which tumbles a total of 2,425 feet (739 meters), actually has three sections. Upper Yosemite Fall slips off the park’s glacier-carved granite cliffs to tumble 1,430 feet (436 m). The multiple Middle Cascades add another 675 feet (206 m). And Lower Yosemite Fall drops and sprays the final 320 feet (97 m), to ultimately feed Yosemite Creek, on its way to the Merced River.


Yosemite Falls, California Coordinates: 37.7566, -119.5969

Related Links:

NBC News Segment About Yosemite's Falls

Yosemite Falls in Winter