Yosemite Creeks & Lesser Known Waterfalls

Especially during the warming months of spring, waterways all through the park swell up and cascade down into the valley. In addition to photos of Yosemite creeks, I’ve also included some small (but scenic) creek waterfalls that few people know about.

Yosemite Creeks - in the high country along Tioga Pass

Yosemite Creeks – Photo Index

Yosemite Creeks – Tioga Road

Although the valley is more well known, Tioga Road has some beautiful high country water features.

Tenaya Creek

Meandering Tenaya Creek and green Meadow, with Tenaya Peak
Meandering Tenaya Creek and green Meadow, Tenaya Peak Above

Once you reach Olmsted Point on Tioga Rd, you’ll find peaceful Tenaya Creek about 5 miles later. This photo shows it cutting through a vibrant June meadow. Additionally, you’ll notice Tenaya Peak looming overhead. This location is just upstream of beautiful Tenaya Lake.

Peaceful, Clear Tenaya Creek in June, Tioga Road - Yosemite Creeks
Peaceful Tenaya Creek in early Summer

Although it’s not the most accessible, I recommend it to photographers who want to explore a bit off the beaten path.

Yosemite Creek – Feeding the Beast

Yosemite Creek Near Tioga Rd - Flowing Long Exposure - Late June
Flowing Long Exposure in a Pine Forest

Of course, the most well known is the mother of all park tributaries – Yosemite Creek. This beauty collects snowmelt in the high country and hurls it over the valley rim – a.k.a. Yosemite Falls.

Yosemite Creeks – The Valley

Even though it gets crowded at times, Yosemite Valley is where the waterfall magic happens. Here, all water converges after tumbling over the rim of the valley, thousands of feet above.

Tamarack Creek

Cool, Tamarack Creek Canyon + Falls in August, Long Exposure - Yosemite Creeks
Lush, Cool Canyon – With Falls in August

Tamarack Creek is particularly beautiful in late summer, when the green Indian Rhubarb fills the canyon. The lower water flow is also better for long shutter effects. I loved these scenic little waterfalls.

Cascade Creek + Waterfall

Rock cairn stack at Cascade Creek Falls - August Long Exposure
Rock cairn stack at falls & pool – August

As I have mentioned previously, Cascade Creek joins Tamarack Creek – creating highly underrated Cascade Falls.

Bridalveil Creek

Small rock waterfalls in Bridalveil Creek - Near base of the big falls
Small rock waterfalls near base of the big falls

While it’s parent falls get the lion’s share of attention, there are some picturesque little cascades and pools along Bridalveil Creek as well.

Fern Spring Creek

Flowing Fern Spring Creek in shady forest
Shady Forest Stream

Though Fern Spring was made famous by Ansel Adams many years ago, I wandered up the hill nearby and found this charming forest scene. Not sure what the name is, but I call it Fern Spring Creek.

Yosemite Creeks – Wawona Rd (Highway 41)

If you keep an eye out as you exit the park on Wawona Road, you’ll notice quite a few lush canyons and streams on the way. I did my best to compile a few below.

Meadow Brook

When hiking to Inspiration Point, you can take the short route from Tunnel View parking lot, or the longer one from the Bridalveil Fall parking lot.

Flowing Meadow Brook along Inspiration Point Trail
Meadow Brook along Inspiration Point Trail

The latter includes not only this beautiful creek scene above, but quite a few more as you continue on your way. Indeed, Meadow Brook is probably worth exploring more at some point in the future.

Avalanche Creek Falls

Mossy Avalanche Creek Falls, Long Exposure in August - Yosemite Creeks
Mossy Avalanche Creek Falls – Long Exposure

Undeniably the most beautiful of the series, sadly the Ferguson fire came through here the DAY AFTER I took these photos. Since then, these stunning, stringy waterfalls have been completely transformed.

Avalanche Creek's enchanting mossy canyon + long shutter falls
Avalanche Creek’s enchanting canyon + long shutter falls

This cool, mossy canyon is (at least for now) a dead, charred wasteland. By the way, I also have a main waterfalls page.

Alder Creek Falls

Alder Creek Waterfall - Flowing Heavy in Late Spring
Alder Creek Waterfall – Flowing Heavy in Late Spring

Surprisingly, I just recently learned about these falls at Alder Creek. Also visible right from the road, it was raging when I took this shot in mid May. Definitely will be returning to explore this canyon more soon.

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– Nathan Allen

About Me

Photographer Nathan Allen

I’m Nathan Allen, photographer / creator of YosemiteParkPhotos.com (Yosemite Photos) and international travel site I Dreamed Of This. In truth, I lived in San Francisco, New York, & Singapore…but nothing compares to life in the mountains. I share my experiences HERE.