Several locations around the valley work well for capturing this image. The two most popular are a picnic area on the Northside Drive (see A on the map) and along the Merced River near the Four Mile Trailhead (see B on the map).
The most popular spot is from the picnic area (see A on the map) located on the Northside Drive 2.5 miles west, where the Northside Drive turns one way heading west. At this location, you are only seeing the upper portion of the fall as it leaps over the cliff edge (see figure 10.1). The famous adventure photographer, Galen Rowell, popularized this view. When I was at this location in 2009, there were so many people trying to park that the park service had to send a ranger out for traffic control. There were over 200 photographers there! And to top it off, it clouded up at the last moment that day, so the natural firefall never even occurred.
The best locations from which to photograph Horsetail Fall: (A) Northside Drive picnic area, (B) Merced River near Four Mile Trailhead. Other photo ops: (2) Bridalveil Fall, (4) Cathedral Rock, (6) El Capitan, (22) Three Brothers.
A favorite location of mine is along the Merced River on the Southside Drive between Cathedral Beach and Sentinel Beach picnic areas, near the Four Mile Trailhead (see ...