About Bridal Veil Falls
Bridal Veil Falls was basically a drive-to waterfall with a chance to stretch out the legs while making the high-speed yet twisty drive along Hwy 50 between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe. In fact, it doesn’t get much easier than this where you pull over to a very large pullout right in front of the falls, then get out of the car and pretty much stand right in front of its roughly 80ft drop. During our visit in late June 2016, the falls was flowing fairly well though it was definitely waning (it would probably go dry not far into Summer), and the morning sun didn’t help matters as it definitely created high contrast areas to conspire against taking meaningful photos of it. That said, we were able to scramble down besides the highway bridge right next to the falls to get right down to its bottom (despite a sign here warning about a possible sudden increase of water down here).
It was hard to see the full context of this waterfall from so up close. However, earlier on, we were able to pull over to the shoulder to glimpse the waterfall from the opposite side of Hwy 50. While it was tempting to cross the four-lane Hwy 50 by foot, I would highly recommend against it because cars and trucks whiz by at over 60mph and it would be difficult for anyone to suddenly stop for pedestrians as they round the blind turns around here. The better bet would be to get back in the car and find a more suitable place to make the wide turn (when safe) then get out of the car and enjoy in relative peace (though the motor vehicles passing by definitely disturb the peace).
The side of Hwy 50 heading to South Lake Tahoe (going east) had the very wide pullout, which was mostly in shade in the morning. This would be the preferred side to pull out and walk right up to the waterfall. The side of Hwy 50 going to Sacramento was narrower shoulders and not a whole lot of room to move around other than along the highway.
The key thing about experiencing this waterfall was making sure not to miss it while whizzing by along Hwy 50. From South Lake Tahoe, we drove about 44 miles west on Hwy 50 to the falls (taking just under an hour). Going in this direction, we had to settle for pulling over to the shoulder opposite Hwy 50 from the falls. It was not wise to try to cross Hwy 50 across four high speed lanes by foot. However, when there was no traffic around, we did manage to quickly make a U-turn then park the car in the much larger pullout adjacent to the eastbound lanes.
Speaking of eastbound lanes, from Sacramento, we’d drive east on Hwy 50 for roughly 62 miles (or 5.5 miles east of Pollock Pines or 19 miles east of Placerville) reaching the aforementioned wide pullout right in front of the falls.
For overall context, South Lake Tahoe was 62 miles (about 90 minutes drive) south of Reno, Nevada, 104 miles (2 hours drive) east of Sacramento, 139 miles (under 3 hours drive) north of Mammoth Lakes, 188 miles (about 3.5 hours drive without traffic) from San Francisco, and 443 miles (7.5 hours drive) north of Los Angeles.
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