Nevada Falls 2010


Interesting Facts & Highlights


A 594-foot (181 m) high waterfall on the Merced River in Yosemite National Park, California. It is located below the granite dome, Liberty Cap, at the west end of Little Yosemite Valley. The waterfall is widely recognized by its "bent" shape, in which the water free-falls for roughly the first third of its length to a steep slick-rock slope. This mid-fall impact of the water on the cliff face creates a turbulent, whitewater appearance in the falls and produces a great deal of mist which covers a wide radius, which led to its current name (Nevada is an old Spanish word meaning "snowy"). Additionally, when viewed from the left-hand side, its angular shape is suggestive of the western border of the state of Nevada.

Elevation & GPS



2010 Mz first image

The Indian name was Yo-wy-we, signifying the twist or squirm of the falling water. Lafayette Bunnell suggested the name "Nevada" for the waterfall. He wrote, "The Nevada Fall was so called because it was the nearest to the Sierra Nevada, and because the name was sufficiently indicative of a wintry companion for our spring (Vernal Fall)... The white, foaming water, as it dashed down Yo-wy-we from the snowy mountains, represented to my mind a vast avalanche of snow."

The literal interpretation of the Indian name, Yo-wi-we, presented a problem in then modern day society. 'Squirming or Worm Fall' was just too much sexual innuendo for those times and the name was thus set as Nevada so to not offend anyone. Another tidbit of the times came from Albert Snow, the proprietor of "La Casa Nevada", a hotel operated between the flat between Vernal and Nevada Falls. When discovered by the Mariposa Battalion, the Merced River split off a tiny tributary flowing down a gulch just north of the fall. However, Albert decided this was an aberration of nature and built a diversion to return the water to the main channel so that he "fixed the falls." A good example of the ethos of the time, man is set upon the earth to tame nature. I wonder what would have survived to this day with just a small twist of preservation!

Nevada Falls from Glacier Point 2012

Nevada Falls from Glacier Point 2012

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