Hetch Hetchy Photos
Interesting to think about what this valley looked like before the dam was built. What’s now a large high Sierra lake was once a scenic, granite valley – complete with waterfall – and not unlike Yosemite valley itself. Well, either way, this area is undeniably beautiful. Here are my Hetch Hetchy Reservoir photos.
You know what’s funny? I had been to Yosemite a full 50 times (yes, you read that correctly) before I finally made the journey to this reservoir. For some reason it wasn’t much of a priority for me…I think learning about how the are was “ruined” by the dam turned me off to a visit.
Well, it turns out that Hetch Hetchy is much more beautiful than I thought. Actually, I tried to head up Tioga Pass the day it opened (late) in July. However, it was a weekend…and the lines to get in Yosemite were quite long. I ended up losing my patience and turning onto Evergreen Road instead.
It was actually the staff at Evergreen lodge that suggested I go to Hetch Hetchy instead. Turns out hordes of park goers had the same idea – the ranger at the entry gate told me the parking was already full.
At the time of this writing, it was early July, after a particularly snowy winter. Wapama Falls were flowing so strong that I was warned about the dangerous (flooded) crossing to get there. Fortunately for me, my zoom lens helped me “cheat”. I got a feel for the waterfall from a good distance away.
O’Shaughnessy Dam – Hetch Hetchy Photos
It’s incredible to witness the power and ingenuity of this structure. I remember watching a documentary on WWII once…it mentioned how the Japanese considered blowing up this dam, to flood and disrupt the communities all the way to San Francisco. Seeing what a large, imposing dam it really is helps me understand the effectiveness of such a plan. Let’s hope it’s well protected in the event of any future conflicts.
The Glaring Downside To Hetch Hetchy
While not a concern for everybody, this area is brimming with poison oak. I am particularly allergic to this toxic plant, so it was enough to give me a bit of anxiety while exploring here. It only grows to about 4,000ft, so the abundance here makes me think this valley must be lower in elevation than Yosemite valley, where I very rarely see the plant.
Learn more about poison oak in Yosemite.
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About My Photos
The images on this website are available for licensing and/or sale as framed prints. If you’d like to purchase them for a blog, news article, or gift, feel free to contact me with the specifics. This way you’re supporting photographers such as me directly (as opposed to buying from a faceless stock photo corporation).
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– 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.