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Phenomenon: Glacial Relics

The Ice Age left its mark from Acadia to Yosemite. Here's scenic evidence.

Hanging Valley
Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite Falls

Hanging valleys form when small tributary glaciers erode shallower troughs than those made by the main ice flow. The result is a U-shaped notch high on the wall of the main valley. When the ice is gone, streams plunge as waterfalls from the mouths of these high, often vertical gorges, creating spectacular cascades.

>>Yosemite Falls
Glaciers excavated Yosemite Valley a million years ago when ice from the Sherwin glaciation eroded the central chasm much deeper than smaller, adjacent troughs. Yosemite Creek flows over a hanging valley and plunges 2,425 feet in a series of cataracts to the floor below. To see the cascade up close, hike the steep, 7-mile Yosemite Falls Trail from the Camp 4 trailhead.

Yosemite Falls
UTM 11S 0271194E 4181809N

Yosemite National Park
(209-372-0200; nps.gov/yose)

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