Fern Springs is located in Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park. While not hidden, it is often overlooked by visitors, tourists and even many photographers. This small natural springs with cascades flowing over rocks and eventually into the Merced River is almost always my first stop as I enter Yosemite Valley and serves as my own private welcoming center. I find the quiet, gurgling sounds a soothing greeting after a four and half hour drive while listening to Willie and the Boys.
Fern Springs is located as you make the transition from a two-way road to a one-way road and cross over the Pohono Bridge. About a third of a mile past the bridge there is a small paved pullout. Most visitors bypass Fern Springs as the nondescript pullout is on the right side of the road and has the mammoth, over-powering and beautiful El Capitan off to the left. Easy to miss as you drive pass looking out your left window.
Fern Springs flows heaviest in the late spring when the snow pack begins to melt. During the late summer it generally becomes nearly, if not completely, dry. I stopped in February, 2018, when I made a short three day get-a-way to Yosemite. I expected to find it totally dry or, at best, barely flowing. While it certainly wasn’t at its heaviest, the cascading water and vibrant green moss welcomed me to Yosemite Valley and made me smile.
On your next trip to Yosemite do stop by Fern Spring for a few minutes. You will enjoy this welcoming, quiet retreat as you prepare to experience the gander of Yosemite National Park.