As part of an ongoing series, we’ll feature the favorite places of Yosemite community members and park visitors. Bridalveil Fall in Yosemite Valley is a favorite spot of Jennifer Lopez, who lives and works in Yosemite National Park. “Bridalveil Fall has always been my favorite Yosemite waterfall. From 2005 to 2008, I lived in the town of Midpines just outside the park, and Bridalveil Fall always seemed to welcome me with a new look as I drove into Yosemite Valley for work every day. Since I worked varying shifts I was able to see the waterfall in many lights and sometimes under the light of the moon as I drove home. Its beauty and grace is a constant reminder of why I chose to work in Yosemite. Knowing that Bridalveil Fall is my favorite waterfall, my husband Tim proposed to me at its base while we got drenched by the heavy mist on a May afternoon. Of course it was the backdrop for many of our wedding photos, which I had dreamed about for years.”
Though not as famous as Yosemite Falls, Bridalveil Fall is the first waterfall you see when entering Yosemite Valley and makes up one third of Yosemite’s most iconic panorama at Tunnel View along with El Capitan and Half Dome. On windy days, the thin ribbon of this waterfall will appear to be falling sideways and during the low water levels of summer, the fall often doesn’t reach the ground. The waterfall itself also creates wind in the form of downdrafts and spraying mist, causing a lopsided pruning effect on the trees located within the vicinity due to constant exposure. Because of this phenomena, the Native Americans called this waterfall “Pohono”, which means Spirit of the Puffing Wind. By the late 1800s, the name Bridalveil came into popular usage and though its origin is unclear, it is also rumored that inhaling the mist of Bridalveil Fall will improve your chances of marriage.