Friday, November 30, 2012

Today's Photo


Old Man of the Mountains flowers- This picture was taken on Lizard Head Plateau in the Wind River Range, Wyoming. July 2012

With flowers so large they often obscure the stems and leaves, Old Man of the Mountain cannot be missed -- unless you don’t hike above tree-line. On the open alpine tundra, this plant is abundant and very obvious. Flower stalks range from just a few inches tall, to ten inches tall in July and August. Old Man of the Mountain is often abundant on alpine tundra and it is a treat to see its huge sunflowers, most of which always face east. The stems and leaves of Old Man are a distinctive very densely hairy green.

Obstruction Point Parking lot/Trailhead

Obstruction point and its Trails:
Obstruction Point is the trailhead for a handful of trails in Olympic National Park. For our 8 day backpacking trip we planned on starting at obstruction and ending way on the other side of the park. However, I got hurt and refused to be rescued to we slowly hiked back out the the way we came. One day we will go back to Olympic and finish this amazing trip! For information on the backpacking trip we had planned on doing click here to view that post.

Closest City:
Port Angeles, WA

Driving Directions:
For our backpacking trip we parked our car at one trailhead then payed someone to drive us to Obstruction Point, a 4 hour drive. The following direction are from Point Angeles. To see the driving directions on a map click here or view the map section of this blog. Starting on the 101 West freeway through Point Angeles, turn Left on North Race st. drive 1.1 miles and make a slight right onto Heart O the Hills Rd. follow for 17.5 miles. Keep track of how many miles you have gone the next turn is hard to see! Make a sharp left onto Obstruction Point Road. Make sure your vehicle can handle driving on a dirt road. This road is not very wide and on coming traffic makes for a scary ride. Follow the dirt road for 7.5 miles till it ends at a large parking area with a bathroom.

Fees/ Permits/ Reservations:
Hiking or backpacking in the Olympic National Park area you will need a permit. The list prvided is all the passes the park excepts. Overnight passes are required to stay overnight in the park. Permits and reservations are required to stay in Grand valley.
-Olympic National Park annual Pass
-Golden Age Passport
-Golden Eagle Passport
-7 Day Pass
-National park Pass

Obstruction Point Trailhead- 6,150ft

None- The only water available is from rivers and lakes, filter or treat your water before drinking!

The Obstruction Point Road is open from late Spring until the first road covering snow in the Fall. Check road closure information before heading up there.

Hiking in Olympic National Park

Deer Park- 7.5 miles
Badger Valley- 0.3 mile
Grand Lake- 3.7 miles
Moose Lake- 4.2 Miles
Grand Pass- 5.9 Miles

Olympic National park Visitor Center
Heart O the Hills Road
Port Angeles, WA, 98362
(800) 833-6388

Never leave your gear outside of the tent at night

    Hiking in Olympic National Park in Washington I spraining my ankle about 10 miles in, so my boyfriend and I decided to cancel our trip and hike back out to the trailhead we started from. On our last night in the backcountry, camped in Grand Valley near the ranger station, we were warned by the ranger that there were mountain goats in the area that harass campers. We were told to yell at them to scare them off, we could even hear other campers in the distance yelling "GET OUT OF HERE!" throughout the day and into the evening.

    That night I woke to a noise right outside my side of the tent, assuming it was a mountain goat I unzipped the door and looked around, no goat. As I was about to zip up the tent and go back to sleep the light I was holding crossed over my trekking pole sitting just outside the tent door. In an instant I realized there was only ONE pole on the ground, at one point I had two... Looking around again I noticed a deer standing in some tall grass a few yards away. I shined the light at him and as I did he raised his head to look at me with, YEP, my  other trekking pole hanging out of his mouth! Well, I had a sprained ankle and was in no condition to race out of the tent to save my trekking pole. So I started throwing some small rocks at him while yelling to "GIVE ME BACK MY POLE!" However, this did not work, instead the deer started to walk away, trekking pole dangling out of his mouth by the strap. Luckily all the noise I was making woke Eric, who ran out of the tent and saved my trekking pole from the deer. From then on I have never left anything outside the tent and I never got a new strap for my trekking pole, I kept the chewed up one as a reminder of what happened the night I forgot my trekking poles outside plus looking down at it makes me laugh.

"A day without laughter is a day wasted."
Charlie Chaplin

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Olympic National Park- Washington

About Olympic National Park:
From approximately 70 miles of wild Pacific coast and islands through densely forested lowlands to the glacier-crowned Olympic Mountains, the park protects several distinctively different and relatively pristine ecosystems. These places shelter a unique array of habitats and life forms resulting from thousands of years of geographic isolation. Olympic National Park is a place unmatched in the world. The park can be divided into four basic regions: the Pacific coastline, alpine areas, the west side temperate rainforest and the forests of the drier east side. Olympic is a beautiful area that offers endless route opportunists for every level of hiker. The list below is the route we took, to see the pictures I took along the trail visit my photo gallery! Funny Story from this trip :)

Fun Facts About Olympic:
- 922,651 acres
- 73 miles of wilderness coast
- Over 3,00 miles of rivers and streams
- 60 named glaciers
- Over 1,200 native plant taxa
- 37 native fish species
- 300 bird species
- 56 mammal species
- 22 species listed as endangered
- 64 trailheads
- 661 miles of trail

Itinerary: August 1- 10, 2012
Day 1
Grand Valley
Grand Lake
Moose Lake- Camp
Day 2
Grand Pass 
After going over Grand Pass and dropping down the 2,000 feet into the valley I sprained my ankle in an animal hole hidden by growth on the side of the trail. We camped there for a day to let my ankle rest then spent the next 3 days hiking/ limping back out the way we came in. We then hitched a ride out of the park from a very nice couple from Canada.

Driving Directions: 
The trailhead we started at is located in the northern part of the park, for driving directions, maps, and day hike/ backpacking information from this trailhead click here.

What I Think You Should Know:
1. Weather-  At any time of year, visitors should come prepared for a variety of conditions. Rain gear and layered clothing are a must.

2. Mosquitoes- During warm weather mosquitoes along with black flies, deer flies, and horse flies can be a major nuisance. Wearing insect repellent, long sleeved shirts and long pants may help, but I strongly recommend at least a head net.

3. Bears-There have been several instances of aggressive bears in the Olympics. If you meet a bear on the trail, give it plenty of space. If a bear comes into camp, make noise to scare the bear away. When hiking in the Olympics always keep your food in a bear safe canister and never leave anything with food unattended.

4. Safety in Numbers- Over and over again I have been told "never hike alone", and yet every trail I have hiked on I pass countless solo hikers, I even hike alone at times! Bring a friend, they may just save your life.

5. Know how to GO in the woods- Yes, you will need to be able to poop in the woods. There are no bathroooms in the backcountry, so make sure you brought your trusty trowel and plenty of toilet paper! Learn more at Leave No Trace.

6. Mountain Goats- Hikers feeding mountain goats and allowing the animals to lick their swat-stained gear for salt  are the reason the park has to close popular trails. NEVER feed wildlife! Hiker killed by mountain goat.

Park Management: 
Olympic national Park Visitor Center
3002 Mount Angeles Road
Port Angeles, WA, 98362

Wilderness Information Center (Backcountry Permit Office)
3002 Mount Angeles Road
Port Angeles, WA, 98362
(360) 565-3100

Forks NPS/USFS Recreation Information Center
551 S. Forks Ave. (Highway 101)
Forks, WA, 98331
(360) 374-5877

Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center
31 Miles south of Forks off Highway 101
(360) 374-6925

Olympic National Park Fire Management Office
(360) 565-3120


Thursday, August 30, 2012

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Glacier National Park- Lake McDonald to Gunsight Trailhead

 Backpacking in Glacier National Park was amazing! I have been there twice already and I can't wait to go back and see more of the park. We went for the usual eight days in the backcountry, but this trip was split into two different hikes. Our first hike was August 14- 18, 2012, starting at Lake McDonald Trailhead and ending at Gunsight Trailhead. The second hike was August 19-22, 2012, starting at Two Medicine Lake and ending just up the street at North Shore Trailhead. This was an amazing trip! We saw tons of beautiful waterfalls, mountain goats, and glaciers! This was also the trip that has forever made me terrified of Mountain Goats! Read

Itinerary Part 1:
Lake McDonald 
Sperry Chalet (Campground)
Day 2- 
Day hike to Sperry Glacier
Back to camp to pack 
Lake Ellen Wilson
Day 3- 
Leave Lake Ellen Wilson Campgrounds 
hike over Gunsight Pass to Gunsight Lake 
end at Gunsight Trailhead (Car waiting)

How to get there:
From he US-2 toward Glacier Rout 1 rd/ Going-To-The-Sun Rd. Turn left onto Glacier Rout 1 rd/ Going-To-The-Sun Rd follow for 2 miles the turn right onto Glacier Rout 8 Rd/ Going-To-The- Sun Rd, Continue to follow Going-To-The-Sun Road for 8.5 miles the turn left into the parking lot for the Lake McDonald Lodge. To see it on a map click here 

Day Hikes:
Lake McDonald to Sperry Chalet- 12.3 miles round trip
Sperry Chalet to Sperry Glacier- 5 miles round trip

Glacier Part 2
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Glacier national Park- Two Medicine Lake to North Shore Trailhead

This is the second half of my first ever trip to Glacier National Park in Montana. It was such a great trip! I am really looking forward to going back in the future to see more of this amazingly beautiful park. About two weeks before this backpacking trip we were backpacking in Olympic National Park and I sprained my ankle, because of this, my ankle was still giving me trouble in Montana. During this part of our trip to Glacier I started having some pain in my ankle so I decided to hike back out to the trailhead from No Name lake two days early while Eric and Steve continued the rest of the loop. Luckily we had camped with a lovely young couple from Boston who happen to be hiking out the same way I was, so for about 8 miles I got to listen to them chant "HEY BEAR! HO BEAR!" over and over again... When I finally got back to Two Medicine Trailhead I drove over to the campsites near North Shore Trailhead and car camped for a night then waited the next day for Eric and Steve to finish the rest of the hike. As usual I had a blast, and the huckleberries were a major plus!

How to get there:
From the Mt- 49 north/ Looking Glass Hill Road toward 2 Medicine Road, turn left onto 2 medicine Road and park in the parking lot at the end of the road.

Itinerary Part 2:
Day 1- 
Two Medicine Lake Trailhead
Cobalt Lake
Day 2- 
Cobalt lake 
No Name Lake
Day 3- 
No Name Lake 
over Dawson pass to Campsite
Day 4- 
Leave Campsite 
Hike to North Shore Trailhead (car waiting)

Day hikes from Two Medicine:
Cobalt Lake- 11.2 miles
No Name Lake- 5.4 miles
Dawson/ Pitamakan Pass Loop- 20.6 miles

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fern Canyon- Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

On our drive back to Southern California from Olympic National Park in Washington we stopped in Redwoods, Oregon Caves, and hiked Fern Canyon Trail in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. This was a great little hike deep into a canyon with beautiful green ferns covering its walls. Whats nice about this trail is there is no elevation gain so any age can do it! Hiking in canyons is one of my favorite types of hiking, I love the challenge of getting past obstacles blocking the way. When we got back to the car we were treated to stunning views of the Northern California coastline and some large elk grazing in the field.

From the parking lot its a short walk down the signed trail to a trail junction with the James Irvine Trail. Take the trail leading to the right and hike in to the canyon by following the wood planks placed along the trail. Eventually they seemed to stop and we were left to navigate around fallen trees and large rocks. The added challenge made for a very fun hike!

August 15, 2012

Nearest City:
Crescent City, CA

How to get there:
From US-101 South/ Redwood Hwy turn right onto Davison Rd, after 0.3 mile continue onto Gold Bluffs Beach and follow for 6.5 miles to the road ends at a large dirt parking lot with bathrooms.

Fern Canyon- 2 miles
James Irvine Trail- 9 miles round trip

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Oregon Caves National Monument

August 15, 2012

Nearest City:
Cave Junction, OR

Getting There:
From the 5 Freeway- take exit 58 to merge onto NE 6th st/ OR-99/ Redwood Hwy. Continue to follow Redwood Hwy for 3 miles. Turn right at US-199 to Cave Junction, 28 miles. Make a left onto OR-46, there's a gas station on the corner. Follow OR-46 for 20 miles to the parking lot.

From Crescent City, California- take a left at US-101. Drive for 4 miles and take exit 794 to merge onto US-199 toward Grants Pass/ I-5, follow for 49 miles then turn right at OR-46. Follow OR-46 for 20 miles to the parking lot.

Winter Weather Driving- During October through April be aware of snow hazards when driving to the caves. Chains or traction tires may be required.

Hours and Seasons:
Spring- March 23 to May 24 Open 10am-4pm
Summer- May 25 to September 2 Open 9am-6pm
Fall- September 3 to October 7 Open 9am-5pm
Winter- Cave tours are not offered in the winter. However, Oregon Caves national Monument is always open to visitors.

Entrance/ Parking Fees:
There is no fee to enter the Monument but there is a cave tour fee. The Annual Pass does not apply for cave tours. The Interagency Access and Senior Passes get the cardholder half off a general cave tour. 

General Cave Tours-
$8.50 Adults, ages 17 and over
$6.00 Juniors, ages 16 and under

Group Rates (12 or more people)
$6.00 Adults
$4.00 Juniors

Candle Light Tours (Memorial Day through Labor Day)
$8.50 per person, ages 12 and over only

(More information on hiking trails, includes maps and trail directions)

Cliff Nature Trail- 1 mile
No Name Trail- 1.3 miles
Old Growth Trail- 0.5 mile
Big Tree Trail- 3.3 miles
Bigelow Lakes/ mount Elijah Loop- 9.2 miles
Cave Creek Trail- 1.5 miles

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Crater Lake- Oregon

Crater Lake National Park is located in Southern Oregon. Established in 1902, Crater lake is the fifth oldest national Park in the United States and the only one in the state of Oregon. The lake partly fills a nearly 2,148ft deep caldera that was formed around 7,700 years ago by the collapse of the volcano Mount Mazama. There are not rivers flowing into or out of the lake. 

About our trip:
We took a trip here in early August on our way home from a backpacking trip in Olympic national Park, Washington. I got hurt on our backpacking trip so I was unable to do any hikes but we did stop at a few of the view point along the main road going around the rim of the lake. Along with a visitor center theres a restaurant/ cafe, lodge, and gift shops. Theres a beautiful waterfall, Vidae Falls, boat tours and tons of trails for the whole family to enjoy. This was a fun stop on our way home and I'm looking forward to visiting Crater Lake in the future to complete all of the trails! Once I complete the trails around the lake the trails listed below will become links to more information on that hike.

Getting to the Trailhead:
  • From the South (Year Around)- From Medford Take rout 62 North and east to the parks west entrance.
  • From the North (Summer)- The parks north entrance is closed in the winter and spring. Dates can very, but typically the north entrance is closed from early November to June. From Roseburg take rout 138 east to parks north entrance. From Bend take rout 97 south to rout 138 west to parks north entrance.
  • From the North (Winter)-  From Roseburg take rout 138 east to rout 230 south to rout 62  east to parks west entrance. From Bend take rout 97 south to rout 62 north and west  to the parks south entrance. 
Entrance Fees:
Car- $10.00 (7 day pass)
Motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians- $5 per person (7 day pass)

Sun Notch Viewpoint- 0.5 mile
Castle Crest Wildflower  Garden- 0.5 mile
Godfrey Glen- 1 mile
Watchman Peak- 1.4 miles
Cleetwood Cove- 2.2 miles
Annie Creek Canyon- 1.7 miles
Garfield Peak- 3.4 miles
Mt. Scott- 5 miles

-Crater Lake Lodge
-Mazama Cabins

-Mazama Campground
-Lost Creek Campground

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Photo For Today

Cordillera del Paine, also referred to as the Torres del Paine (Towers of Paine) are located in Pantagonia.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Wind River Range- Wyoming

The Wind River Range is a mountain range of the Rocky Mountains in western Wyoming. The range runs roughly northwest for approximately 100 miles. The Continental Divide follows the crest of the range and includes Gannett Peak  which is 13,804 ft., the highest peak in Wyoming. July3 through July9 in 2012 I spent seven days backpacking through the winds. The Wind River Range is a beautiful area that offers endless route opportunists are every level hiker. The list below is the route we took, to see the pictures I took along the trail visit my Facebook Page!

Big Sandy Campground- Parking Lot
Big Sandy Trail
Big Sandy Lake
North Lake- Camp
Day 2:
Big Sandy Pass/ Jackass Pass
Lonesome Lake
North Fork Trail
Lizard Head Meadows- Camp
Day 3:
Zero Day
Day 4:
Lizard Head Trail
Bears Ears Trail
Valentine Lake
South Fork Little Wind River
Grave Lake- Camp
Day 5:
Zero Day
Day 6:
Hailey Pass Trail
Hailey Pass
Twin Lakes
Mae's Lake- Camp
Day 7:
Pyramid Lake Trail
Skull Lake
Marms Lake
Fremont Trail
Dads Lake
Diamond Lake Trail
Big Sandy Campground- Parking lot

Driving Directions:
The trailhead is located at the parking lot for Big Sandy Campground, for driving directions and camping information follow the link. Click Here.

The high country usually opens up around mid July and remains open through mid September. Snow can occur at any time, and visitors should be prepared for the possibility of subfreezing temperatures even in the summer. Afternoon thunderstorms, with lightning and rain showers are common during the summer. Daytime summer temperatures in the high county reach the 70s- 80s with nighttime lows averaging in the 30s.

The Winds are known to have a small Grizzly Bear population, primarily in the northernmost areas, the black bear however lives throughout the park. Bear vaults are strongly suggested but proper hanging techniques can also be used to protect your food from hungry bears.

Though there are bears in the range, the most notorious pest is the mosquito. The Winds are a range of massive amounts of water in the form of thousands of lakes, pools, meadows, marshes, and waterfalls. While attractive, it makes the area a mosquito breeding ground. It all depends on location, time of day, time of year and the year itself. Typically, the bugs (including biting Horse. Deer flies and Gnats) are at their peak from mid June to mid August- the wettest periods. They are less in numbers if there has been a freeze or a lot of wind. I recommend bringing lots of bug spray but if you are like and that stuff only seems to attract them, long sleeves and pants are your best bet for not getting eaten alive!

What I think You Should Know:
1. Mosquitoes SUCK!- No amount of bug spray keeps those annoying pests away. They seem to love my blood, within six days the mosquitoes had a feast and I was covered head to toe in bites.
2. Let it RAIN- No matter the forecast when you leave home, it will rain at least once on your hike. Each morning the sun was out, fluffy white clouds in a bright blue sky, the birds were singing and all was great! For a little while... around noon the sky would become dark and the rain would start.
3. You WILL have to cross a river, know the correct way to do so. Backpacker Magazine: How to Cross a River. Prior to this trip I had never crossed a river without rocks or fallen logs to balance on. Luckily I had someone there to assist me.
4. You want me to go WHERE?! Yes, you will need to be able to poop in the woods. There are no bathrooms in the back country, so make sure you brought your trusty trowel and plenty of toilet paper! Leave No Trace.

Park Management: 
The entire west side is managed by the Bridger-Teton National Forest. North and south of the reservation and the mountains wast of the Continental Divide are managed by Shoshone National Forest. A large portion of the range, east of the Continental Divide is park of the Wind River Indian Reservation (Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapahoe tribes)

Bridger Wilderness
Bridger-Teton National Forest
Pinedale Ranger District
29 E Fremont Lake Road
PO Box 220
Pinedale, WY, 82941
Phone: 307-367-4326

Popo Agie Wilderness
Shoshone National Forest
Washakie Ranger District
600 North Highway 287
Lander, WY, 82520
Phone: 307-332-5460 or 332-9071

Fitzpatrick Wilderness
209 East Ramshorn
PO Box 186
Dubois, WY, 82513
Phone: 307-455-2466

Sublette County Chamber of Commerce
Sublette Visitor Center
PO Box 176
Pinedale, WY, 82941
Phone: 307-356-2242

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Big Sandy Campground

Big Sandy Campground

Big Sandy Campground and the Wind River Range:
Big Sandy, also known as Big Sandy Entrance and Big Sandy Trailhead, it is the most popular trailhead of the southern Wind River Range. The reason for this, is because it is the easiest access point to the Cirque of the Towers and Big Sandy Lake is an easy hike for day hikers, backpackers, and fishermen. In the summer expect the parking lot to be full, crowds on the trail, and crowds at Big Sandy Campground.

Closest City:
Pinedale, WY

Driving Directions:
There is no easy way to get to the trailhead, and the drive can be daunting for the directionally impaired. If coming from the north Pinedale, Wyoming, drive 11 miles south on U.S. 191 to Boulder. From Boulder drive approximately 18 miles southeast on highway 353 on a paved road. Upon reaching a junction, shortly after the pavement ends, bear left for 2.9 miles. At 2.9 miles bear right. After 6 miles you will come to a signed intersection. Turn left (east) following the sign to Big Sandy. After 7.5 miles you will find another signed intersection where you turn left to Big Sandy. This winding road is steeper and rockier but is still fairly good. Follow this road and signs for 10.5 miles until reaching Big Sandy Campground and trailhead.Not RV friendly.

If coming from south Rock Springs, Wyoming drive north on U.S. 191 to the town of Farson. 2 miles east of Farson on highway 28, there is a sign to Big Sandy. Turn left and drive 40 miles of dirt road to the intersection described above, continue to follow above directions.

RV pull through

Fees/ Reservations:
No fees, permits or reservations are required to hike or camp in the area.
Camping is available for $8 a night
Maximum stay (days)- 10

Campground- 9080'

No- The only water is available from rivers and lakes, filter or treat your water before drinking.

Open seasonal- June 15 through October 15

Hiking in the Wind River Range

Dads Lake- 6 miles
Big Sandy Lake- 6 miles
Cross Lake- 15 miles
Little Sandy Lake- 20 miles
North Fork Lake- 24 miles

Operated By:
Bridger Teton National Forest
Pinedale Ranger District
29 East Fremont Lake Road
PO Box 220
Pinedale, WY, 82941
(307) 367-4326

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Glacier Point- Yosemite

June 20, 2012

Location in Park:
Located at the end of Glacier Point Road.

Driving Directions:
From the south entrance of Yosemite, turn left and drive 17 miles to Glacier Point Road. From Yosemite Valley find Highway 41 valley exit and take it 9 miles to Glacier Point Road. Once you're on Glacier Point Road follow it all the way to its end at the Glacier Point parking lot.

Parking/ Entrance Fee:
There is no parking fee. However there is an Entrance Fee to get into Yosemite national Park.

Sunrise to sunset- gift shop and cafeteria 9am- 7pm during summer


There is relatively no elevation gain and the trial is paved.

Trailhead- 7,200ft.
Total Gain- None that you'd notice

Glacier Point Road is closed in the winter months so make sure to check current road closures.

Glacier Point- 1 mile rt
Four Mile Trail- 4.7 Miles

Trail Condition:
Excellent, very easy to follow, paved the whole way and well signed.

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Jessie's Thoughts:
Extremely easy and paved I wouldn't even classify this as a hike. I do however recommend this destination as it has stunning views of the park and some of its most popular landmarks.


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Bridalveil Falls- Yosemite

June 18, 2012

Location in Park:
5 miles East of Yosemite Village.

Driving Directions:
From Yosemite Valley take highway 41 toward Wawona and the south park exit. You'll reach the Bridalveil Falls parking lot very shortly after turning onto highway 41. To see exactly were to park on a map and get driving directions Click Here.

Parking/ Entrance Fee:
No parking fee but there is an Entrance Fee to get into Yosemite national Par.

Sunrise to sunset


The trail has very little incline and is easy enough almost everyone.

Trailhead- 4,000ft.
Total gain- 200ft.

Waterfall Height:
620 ft.

The best time to view the falls is after the snow melt in the springtime.

Bridalveil Fall- 1.2 miles rt

Trail Condition:
This trail, like the rest is in great condition, very easy to follow and well signed.

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Jessie's Thoughts:
Great hike for families with young children. easy to get to and extremely easy to hike.


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