Yosemite waterfalls are gushing for Free Park Week

FRESNO, Calif.

Visitors to Yosemite National Park may get a bit wet from the mists coming down the water falls.

Jason Doolittle brought his students to experience the flowing waterfalls on Sunday, and the views have just been getting better since. "We noticed starting Monday night, Tuesday morning, the water fall started picking up and it has gotten louder and throwing a lot more water over the last day or two."

Kari Cobb with the National Park Service says the falls won't be at their full peak for another month. "Typically peak water flow season is roughly around Memorial Day, so it's definitely starting to pick up, especially with this warm weather that we're having."

At Bridalvail Falls, water is gushing down from the top but park rangers say sites like this aren't expected to last too long this year. Cobb said, "This year, we're at about 50-percent of normal precipitation, so the waterfall is probably going to start to dry up mid-summer, end of June, early July."

Park officials are expecting bigger crowds this season. They've already seen a 25-percent jump in visitors in the first few months of 2012 compared to last year.

Visitors coming into the park via Highway 140 through the Merced River Canyon, may notice the colorful hillsides. Cobb said, "You come in and you see these bright green hillsides with all these poppies covering them, it's really beautiful."

As the sunny days melt away the mountain snow, visitors will continue to experience a majestic view.

Free Entrance Days in the National Parks

January 14-16 Martin Luther King Jr. weekend

April 21-29 National Park Week

June 9 Get Outdoors Day

September 29 National Public Lands Day

November 10-12 Veterans Day weekend

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