The Merced River is the main watershed for Yosemite Valley. The river divides the valley and is one of the scenic and recreational highlights in the valley. As the river descends from the High Country flowing as Nevada Falls and Vernal Fall, it then winds its way through the valley floor. Along its banks are dogwood, oak, and cottonwood trees that turn beautiful shades of gold, yellow, and red in the autumn. In the spring, dogwood flowers and fresh budding leaves radiate with beauty. From the slow meander of summer, through the colors of autumn, with ice-filled banks of winter and torrents of raging water in spring, the Merced River is the lifeblood of Yosemite Valley. Its ever changing character creates many varied photographic opportunities.