Above Bridalveil Fall is the upper valley of Bridalveil
Creek. The creek once flowed down an incline to join
the Merced River. Ice Age glaciers filled and widened
the main canyon, sheered its granite walls, and
bulldozed away the lower stream channel. When the
ice melted. Bridalveil Creek was left hanging - with a
620-foot drop to the river. Around the Valley are
similar glacier-chopped sidestreams such as
Yosemite, Ribbon and Sentinel Falls.
The last glacier to enter Yosemite Valley reached as far
as Bridalveil Fall. When the ice receded, a 5-mile-long
meltwater lake formed behind a dam of broken rock
carried by the glacier. Gravel and cobbles visible in the
opposite bank are glacial outwash - debris washed
down from the morainal dam just upsteam.
The post-glacial process is ongoing. The Merced River
continues to slice into the Valley floor, eroding sediments
that once filled-in Ancient Lake Yosemite.