My recent trip to Yosemite came at a somewhat odd time in the park - between seasons. The winter snow pack is beginning to melt and feeding the waterfalls, though they were far from their peak flows. While most of the snow was gone from the valley floor, the high country is still mostly buried, and you're left with the feeling that you should be able to explore more than you can, due to the snow at upper elevations.
While in the park we were told, however, that the Four Mile Trail was largely accessible, more that we though for this time of year. Being a trailmy wife and I have wanted to hike we decided to venture up the valley walls towards Glacier Point and see what we could see before the snow made the trail impassible.
One of the more remarkable things about this particular hike is the views that it affords. We made it about half way up the valley wall before we opted to turn back (braver souls ventured further still) and in that time two primary views emerged. The view west into the valley - essentially the reverse of the classic Discovery View, and the views of Yosemite Falls directly across the valley to the north.
Yosemite Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in the world (about 6th overall) and the tallest in North America. Despite its immense size (2425 feet) it's difficult to see the entire waterfall from one place. The Upper Falls (1430 feet) can be seen throughout the east end of the valley, and the Lower Falls (318 feet) are possible to get very close to. But the Middle Cascades are quite difficult to see as they wind their way through a narrow rocky canyon. Even from the Yosemite Falls Trail (which climbs into the frame around the middle of the left side, and proceeds up the left flank of the Upper Falls) it's difficult to see. However, as we climbed the Four Mile Trail we got out of our best ever views of the complete falls, and they continued to improve as we reached each higher opening in the trees. This was one of the highest vistas we reached, which I wanted to capture before the Lower Falls completely disappeared into the shadows. If you look at the base of the Upper Falls you can see the remaining Ice Cone that develops over the winter (as ice falls it forms a cone that can grow hundreds of feet in height).
I quite enjoyed the Four Mile Trail and I hope to hike it again - hopefully with my Large Format camera next time.
Also... Go To Yosemite!
Nikon D90 | Nikon 18-200VR@44mm | f/8 | 1/640s | ISO200 | Handheld
All text and images © Tyler Westcott, All rights reserved, Unless otherwise noted.