Silver Strand Falls

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

About Silver Strand Falls


Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2003-05-10
Date last visited: 2011-06-03

Waterfall Latitude: 37.70434
Waterfall Longitude: -119.66943

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Silver Strand Falls is perhaps the most overlooked waterfall due to its unfortunate position at the famous Tunnel View Overlook.

While just about everyone fixes their eyes at El Capitan and Bridalveil Fall framing the Gates of Yosemite Valley, very few people bother to look up above the Wawona Tunnel.

Tunnel_View_17_004_06162017 - Silver Strand Falls
Silver Strand Falls

In fact, we were guilty of the same thing, and it wasn’t until our third visit to Yosemite National Park and the Tunnel Overlook did we finally bother to look up and notice this guy!

This waterfall seemed to have a pretty short season.

We say this because we showed up to see this waterfall a merely three weeks too early in the Spring when there was still snow in the High Country and the waterfall didn’t have very good flow.

This waterfall was also said to typically go dry a little after the Summer Solstice occurs given its limited drainage.

Yosemite_Valley_117_06032011 - Silver Strand Falls seen together with Widow's Tears in June 2011
Silver Strand Falls seen together with Widow’s Tears in June 2011

So given all the factors with timing and position, it’s probably no wonder that millions of people may see the Gates of Yosemite Valley from the Tunnel View Overlook.

However, probably less than 1% of them (and this is totally a guess) even notice this waterfall despite being visible from the same overlook.

Authorities

Silver Strand Falls resides in Yosemite National Park near Yosemite Village in Mariposa County, California. It is administered by the National Park Service. For information or inquiries about the park as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Tunnel_View_17_005_06162017 - Looking up at the Silver Strand Falls in the afternoon during our June 2017 visit
Yosemite_Valley_151_06032011 - Silver Strand Falls seen in early June 2011
Tunnel_View_002_04292005 - Perhaps this photo taken in late April 2005 best illustrates why Silver Strand Falls is so overlooked.  Notice how everyone else is looking to the left towards Yosemite Valley, but no one is looking up at this falls
Widows_Tears_009_04292005 - The profile of Silver Strand Falls with Widows Tears in late April 2005
Silver_Strand_Falls_003_06062003 - Silver Strand Falls flowing fairly well during the late Spring thaw on our June 2003 visit
Silver_Strand_Falls_001_05102003 - Silver Strand Falls in low flow photographed in May 2003 as it hadn't benefitted from the Spring Thaw yet

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Silver Strand Falls sat near the foot of Yosemite Valley, which was roughly 6 hours drive from Los Angeles.

Our preferred route would be to drive north on the I-5 then the Hwy 99 through Central Valley to Fresno.

Once we were in Fresno, we took the Hwy 41 through the towns of Coarsegold, Oakhurst, Fish Camp, etc., which ultimately led us to the South Entrance of Yosemite National Park.

Then, we’d follow Hwy 41 all the way towards Yosemite Valley (roughly 45-60 minutes later), but before getting into the valley, we’d stop at the Tunnel View Lookout, which is just east of the Wawona Tunnel on Route 41 (signpost W2).

While Tunnel View is the most obvious place to see the 574ft Silver Strand Falls, it’s also possible to see its profile from the base of Merced Canyon (a short distance west of the Pohono Bridge on Route 140; pay attention to unsigned pullouts).

The drive from San Francisco took us roughly 4 hours or so.

Going that route would mean entering the park either through the Arch Rock (West) Entrance or the Big Oak Flat (Northwest) Entrance.

All the park’s main roads (except the Tioga Road) ultimately reach Yosemite Valley.

Semi-circular sweep starting from the Wawona Tunnel, focusing on Silver Strand Falls, then ending at the Gates of Yosemite Valley


Bottom up sweep of both falls from the Merced River Canyon

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Tagged with: oakhurst, el portal, mariposa, yosemite, yosemite valley, sierra, california, waterfall, fresno, modesto, wawona, tunnel, merced



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Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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