Photograph Yosemite Falls at Swinging Bridge in Winter

Rate this Adventure Swinging Bridge Parking Area

Swinging Bridge offers one of the best views of Yosemite Falls. It is accessible during winter while some parts of the park are closed. It is also a vantage point to catch a sunrise. Be sure to pick up tractions for your car and your boots!

This is a drive up and shoot adventure in winter. The spot is at Swinging Bridge area. This area is also a picnic area and hiking trail but, in my opinion, the best spot to capture Yosemite Falls is a few steps walk after you park the car.

One of not so many places that you still can go in winter, Swinging bridge is located on the Southside Drive. The exact coordinate is 37.736968, -119.600316 on Google map. The parking lot is 0.372 miles after the Sentinel Beach Picnic area and 1.98 miles away from El Capitan Bridge where it connects between Northside Drive and Southside Drive, however, if you approach Sentinel Bridge, that means you already missed it.

There are 3 best spots I have found:

1. One in front of the bridge where you can compose your pictures without the bridge and get full reflection.

2. One on the bridge.

3. One behind the bridge where you can compose your pictures with the bridge.

The best time of the day, of course, is during a sunrise or sunset. The pictures I took are all from the sunrise where the sun lightened up the falls. Please note the the angle of the sun is vary depending on what time of the year you go.

To set the camera, I would recommend you keep the ISO as low as you can go to burn some noises while the aperture around 8 to 11 to get the deep depth of field. I would also recommend you bring a CPL filter if you manage to get reflection shots.

The lens I found suitable for this area is wide angle lens (anywhere around 21-35 mm).

In winter, the parking lot will be covered by snow. I would recommend you attach snow chains to your car before parking as it would need some traction when you back it up.

Pack List

  • Park map
  • Car tractions
  • Shoes tractions
  • Camera
  • Ultra-wide to wide angle lens
  • Telephoto lens (close up shot)
  • CPL Filter (for reflection)
  • Tripod
  • All layers that make you warm
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Activities Photography
Skill Level Beginner
Season Winter
Features
Easy Parking
Picnic Area
River
Scenic
Waterfall

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