Waterwheel Falls

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Waterwheel Falls

Waterwheel Falls in Yosemite.jpg

Waterwheel Falls
Location Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California, USA
Coordinates 37°55′38″N119°27′32″W / 37.92722°N 119.45889°W / 37.92722; -119.45889 Coordinates: 37°55′38″N119°27′32″W / 37.92722°N 119.45889°W / 37.92722; -119.45889
Type Slide

Waterwheel Falls is a waterfall in the Sierra Nevada of California, located in Yosemite National Park. It is the largest of the many waterfalls of the Tuolumne River. Its upper part contains a series of small ledges, each of which creates a small plume as the water is deflected away from the rock face. An extraordinary phenomenon appears at the first and largest of these ledges during the high-water season of early summer. Strong gusts of wind can lift part of the spray and blow it back upward, causing it to reenter the falls above the ledge. [1] This cyclic "waterwheel" gives the falls their name.

Waterfall Place where water flows over a vertical drop in the course of a river

A waterfall is an area where water flows over a vertical drop or a series of steep drops in the course of a stream or river. Waterfalls also occur where meltwater drops over the edge of a tabular iceberg or ice shelf.

Sierra Nevada (U.S.) mountain range

The Sierra Nevada is a mountain range in the Western United States, between the Central Valley of California and the Great Basin. The vast majority of the range lies in the state of California, although the Carson Range spur lies primarily in Nevada. The Sierra Nevada is part of the American Cordillera, a chain of mountain ranges that consists of an almost continuous sequence of such ranges that form the western "backbone" of North America, Central America, South America and Antarctica.

California State of the United States of America

California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and fifth-most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second-most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.

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Yosemite National Park National park in California, United States

Yosemite National Park is an American national park located in the western Sierra Nevada of Central California, bounded on the southeast by Sierra National Forest and on the northwest by Stanislaus National Forest. The park is managed by the National Park Service and covers an area of 747,956 acres and sits in four counties: centered in Tuolumne and Mariposa, extending north and east to Mono and south to Madera County. Designated a World Heritage site in 1984, Yosemite is internationally recognized for its granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia groves, lakes, mountains, meadows, glaciers, and biological diversity. Almost 95% of the park is designated wilderness.

Tuolumne Meadows sub-alpine meadowy section of the Tuolumne River

Tuolumne Meadows ( "twaluhmee") is a gentle, dome-studded, sub-alpine meadow area along the Tuolumne River in the eastern section of Yosemite National Park in the United States. Its approximate location is 37°52.5′N119°21′W. Its approximate elevation is 8,619 feet (2,627 m). The term Tuolumne Meadows is also often used to describe a large portion of the Yosemite high country around the meadows, especially in context of rock climbing.

Hetch Hetchy valley, reservoir, and aqueduct in California, USA

Hetch Hetchy is the name of a valley, a reservoir and a water system in California in the United States. The glacial Hetch Hetchy Valley lies in the northwestern part of Yosemite National Park and is drained by the Tuolumne River. For thousands of years before the arrival of settlers from the United States in the 1850s, the valley was inhabited by Native Americans who practiced subsistence hunting-gathering. During the late 19th century, the valley was renowned for its natural beauty – often compared to that of Yosemite Valley – but also targeted for the development of water supply for irrigation and municipal interests.

Merced River body of water in California

The Merced River, in the central part of the U.S. state of California, is a 145-mile (233 km)-long tributary of the San Joaquin River flowing from the Sierra Nevada into the San Joaquin Valley. It is most well known for its swift and steep course through the southern part of Yosemite National Park, where it is the primary watercourse flowing through Yosemite Valley. The river's character changes dramatically once it reaches the plains of the agricultural San Joaquin Valley, where it becomes a slow-moving meandering stream.

Tuolumne River watercourse in the United States of America

The Tuolumne River flows for 149 miles (240 km) through Central California, from the high Sierra Nevada to join the San Joaquin River in the Central Valley. Originating at over 8,000 feet (2,400 m) above sea level in Yosemite National Park, the Tuolumne drains a rugged watershed of 1,958 square miles (5,070 km2), carving a series of canyons through the western slope of the Sierra. While the upper Tuolumne is a fast-flowing mountain stream, the lower river crosses a broad, fertile and extensively cultivated alluvial plain. Like most other central California rivers, the Tuolumne is dammed multiple times for irrigation and the generation of hydroelectricity.

Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne also in Yosemite National Park

The Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne is the notable canyon section of the river valley of the Tuolumne River, located within Yosemite National Park, in Tuolumne County and the Sierra Nevada, California.

<i>Waterfall</i> (M. C. Escher) lithograph print by M. C. Escher

Waterfall is a lithograph by the Dutch artist M. C. Escher, first printed in October 1961. It shows a perpetual motion machine where water from the base of a waterfall appears to run downhill along the water path before reaching the top of the waterfall.

Clavey River river in the United States of America

The Clavey River is a tributary of the Tuolumne River in the Sierra Nevada, located in the Stanislaus National Forest and Tuolumne County, California. The river is 31.3 miles (50.4 km) long, and is one of the few undammed rivers on the western slope of the Sierra. Via the Tuolumne River, the Clavey is part of the San Joaquin River watershed.

Aberdulais Falls

The Aberdulais Falls are found on the River Dulais at Aberdulais, near Neath in the county borough of Neath Port Talbot, Wales. The falls are formed as the river plunges over beds of hard Lower Pennant Sandstone just before meeting the River Neath flowing down the Vale of Neath. They are home to Europe's largest electricity-generating water wheel.

Mount Lyell (California) mountain in California

Mount Lyell is the highest point in Yosemite National Park, at 13,114 feet (3,997 m). It is located at the southeast end of the Cathedral Range, 1.2 miles (1.9 km) northwest of Rodgers Peak. The peak as well as nearby Lyell Canyon is named after Charles Lyell, a well-known 19th century geologist. The peak had one of the last remaining glaciers in Yosemite, Lyell Glacier. The Lyell Glacier is currently considered to be a permanent ice field, not a living glacier. Mount Lyell divides the Tuolumne River watershed to the north, the Merced to the west, and the Rush Creek drainage in the Mono Lake Basin to the southeast.

Linville Falls Waterfall located in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Linville Falls is a waterfall located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina in the United States. The falls move in several distinct steps, beginning in a twin set of upper falls, moving down a small gorge, and culminating in a high-volume 45-foot (14 m) drop. It is named for the Linville River, which goes over the falls. Linville Falls has the highest volume of any waterfall on the Northern Edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Shellburg Falls

Shellburg Falls is a waterfall that measures 100 feet (30 m) high and has an average breadth of 10 feet (3.0 m) in the watershed of Stout Creek. It is in the Santiam State Forest in Oregon, on a small stream named Shellburg Creek, which relies on rainfall to flow. The falls flow over an overhanging Basalt ledge. It is about 500 feet (150 m) upstream from Lower Shellburg Falls.

Fairy Falls (Oregon) Waterfall in Oregons Columbia Gorge

Fairy Falls is a 20-foot waterfall on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge in the United States. As part of a tributary of Wahkeena Creek, Fairy Falls is located upstream from the much larger Wahkeena Falls. While small, this fan-shaped waterfall is a destination for photographers, mainly because of the scenic view. The creek cascades through a mossy rock slide lined with ferns, until rocky ledges of basalt break the water into various lacy streams.

Geography of the Yosemite area

Yosemite National Park is located in the central Sierra Nevada of California. Three wilderness areas are adjacent to Yosemite: the Ansel Adams Wilderness to the southeast, the Hoover Wilderness to the northeast, and the Emigrant Wilderness to the north.

Emperor Falls waterfall

Emperor Falls is the largest and best known waterfall on the Robson River in Mount Robson Provincial Park. It is located a short distance downstream of and southwest from the outlet of Berg Lake.

Havasu Creek stream in Arizona, United States of America

Havasu Creek is a stream in the U.S. state of Arizona associated with the Havasupai people. It is a tributary to the Colorado River, which it enters in the Grand Canyon.

High Sierra Camps

The High Sierra Camps are nine rustic lodging facilities located in two national parks and a national monument in California's Sierra Nevada mountain range. Open most years from June or July to September, they are staffed camps with tent cabins and food service facilities. The backcountry camps receive their supplies by pack mules.

LeConte Falls is a waterfall in the Sierra Nevada of California, in Yosemite National Park. It is a 229 ft. high cascade on the Tuolumne River and the second largest falls on this river. It was named in 1894 in honor of Professor Joseph LeConte by Robert M. Price; however, Price's original intent was to designate what is now called "Waterwheel Falls" as "LeConte Falls" but a mapmaker assigned the name to what was once called "California Falls" and the mapmaker's mistaken designation was adopted as the standard.

Return Creek

Return Creek is a stream in the northeast part of Yosemite National Park, in Tuolumne County, California, and is a tributary of the Tuolumne River. About 13 miles (21 km) in length, it is the first major tributary to join downstream of Tuolumne Meadows. The creek begins at Return Lake on the Sierra Crest, near Virginia Pass, and flows initially east before turning southwest and joining with McCabe Creek and Spiller Creek. On its path to the Tuolumne River the creek has carved out the 2,000-foot (610 m) deep Virginia Canyon, which was enlarged to its present shape by glaciation. After its confluence with Matterhorn Creek it flows south-southwest to its confluence with the Tuolumne River, about a quarter mile below Waterwheel Falls.


  1. "Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp to Waterwheel Falls". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-07-27.