Giant Stairway and Tenaya Canyon Waterfalls (Yosemite)

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The Giant Stairway and Tenaya Canyon Waterfalls essentially sat in a pair of converging drainages at the head of Yosemite Valley at its eastern end. While we were able to appreciate this section of the park from the great panorama at Glacier Point, an up close look by foot was the way to go to see its enormous waterfalls.

The Giant Stairway is the name describing the granite steps over which two giant waterfalls tumble: Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall. The rugged Tenaya Canyon boasts waterfalls unfamiliar to most Yosemite visitors such as the elusive Snow Creek Falls and the Pywiack Cascade. Illilouette Fall is also a major waterfall that escapes the attention of most visitors due to its somewhat hidden location.

In addition to these waterfalls, this area is perhaps most famous for Half Dome. Easily the most recognizable landmark in Yosemite (and perhaps the United States for that matter), many visitors attempt the very strenuous 16-mile return hike to its summit. Beneath the shadows of the face of Half Dome is the serene and beautiful Mirror Lake. As we walked amongst these quintessential Yosemite landmarks and the excellent waterfalls, we were richly rewarded with unforgettable scenery and experiences.

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To get a glimpse of what each waterfall looks like, check out the table below. Click on the waterfalls to read more about them.

Vernal Fall viewed from the Clark Point 4 Vernal Fall

Looking up the Merced River towards Nevada Fall with rainbow 4 Nevada Fall

Illilouette Fall viewed from a cliff edge along the Panorama Trail 4 Illilouette Fall

Snow Creek Falls viewed from the summit of Half Dome 3 Snow Creek Falls

Pywiack Cascade viewed from the high country near the Snow Creek Trail 2 Pywiack Cascade

An unnamed waterfall viewed from just beyond Mirror Lake 1 "Mirror Lake Falls"

The hardly-ever-flowing Glacier Point Falls 1 "Glacier Point Falls"

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