Explore West Coast - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

West Coast Map
VIEW FULL MAP

My girlfriend and I did this hike on Sunday (12/2) after having arrived in Yosemite the night before.

We camped in the Upper Pines Campground and made the short drive over to the small parking lot closest to the trail. We began our trek around 11:30 am and arrived back at our car around 4 pm.

From the very beginning of the trail it was incredibly icy. We saw a multitude of "tourists" attempting to climb up the steep walkway leading to the Vernal Footbridge in sneakers and other forms of unseasonable footwear. However, after this point we saw only three or four other groups of hikers on our way up Nevada Falls.

The initial staircase to the top of Vernal Falls wasn't too unsteady, until the very end, and that's when it became very slick. Luckily, my girlfriend and I were wearing our Yaktrax and that allowed us to maneuver our way up the stairs without too many issues.

Although neither one of the falls were gushing (as they do in the spring and summer) enough to give us the spray that The Mist Trail gets its namesake, it was probably for the best, as the vast majority of the trail was in the shade and I don't think it got above freezing in the shadows. However, that didn't deter us from thoroughly enjoying this majestic hike with the stark contrast of the sun reflecting off the many granite rock faces against the fresh coat of snow on the shaded riverbank, which made for some magnificent photography opportunities!

This hike definitely lived up to the hype!

My girlfriend and I did this hike on Monday (12/3), and it totally kicked our butts!

We had originally planned on just going up to Columbia Rock and back. But after making it up in just 45 minutes, and with it being such a nice day, we decided to push forward and see how far we could make it up to the top.

This ended up being an incredible idea, as we encountered only three or four other hikers on our way up, and the views from the overlook were truly unforgettable!
However, in the deep snow (over a foot in places), the zig-zagging back and forth through the switchbacks made me question our decision at times …

But this is a truly incredible hike with breathtaking views of Half Dome and the Upper Falls leading up to the summit.

CAUTION: Make sure you are cognizant of your surroundings (i.e. falling ice), as there were some massive chunks that came cascading down the mountain side and landed within an arm's reach of us.

The climb to the top is absolutely worth it though, just be prepared to feel that 3,100 feet-plus of elevation gain on your way up.

We thoroughly enjoyed this hike for its solitude, challenge and beauty. Would love to come back in the summertime when the falls are gushing!

I would rate this as moderate due to the consistent steep grade. The snow is currently pretty hard packed so you can snowshoe or hike the trail if you prefer. Kids need to be used to hiking to make this a fun family outing. Views are spectacular on clear days, but can be very foggy and windy at the top if the weather comes in. We did the standard trail, with a total of 4.8 miles. This is one of my favorite spring hikes, much easier then also.

nature trips
2 days ago

great work out still feeling it. some snow up top also

Definitely a work out on the way up!

hiking
3 days ago

chilly but beautiful day hike.

pretty views and great trail for beginner to intermediate hikers

The road was fine. Some potholes, but manageable. Started at the lower trailhead. Four cars when I arrived at 11AM. Heavy overcast day with some fog. It was still a very nice and of course very challenging hike. Steep obviously. Trail through the forrest was in good shape. I like old growth. Snow on the trail on the way up. A bit slushy in parts. Used microspikes about 2/3 of the way up and to the top. Took the Summer route. Fair amount of snow on the ground during the main ascent. Maybe 5". Met two guys who had hiked up with skis but they were only able to do a short run at this time. A few dramatic cloudy views on the way up, but at the top it was heavily fogged in. I loved being there anyway. Great and tiring hike. I saw about 18 people over the course of the hike, but had some quiet time. I'll be back on a clear day, but I would recommend it even if it's not.

Always a fun family hike and enjoy the beautiful views!

way to over crowned its like the pumpkin spice latte of hiking.

Very beautiful love it!! I will be climbing it again in the summer. I went two days ago made a video of my climb. You be the judge of this mountain. Here’s the link
https://youtu.be/e2Wf0KKeEmY

Great hike! It was chilly today and we didn’t bring enough layers but still very fun!

Awesome hike! I completed it yesterday 12/6/18. The last third of the trail gets quite slippery with hard packed snow. I put my microspikes on at the lookout at the top, but should have put them on sooner. The final path down to the lookout is very exposed and covered in loose sheets of snow and ice, though the metal railing made it passable. I was grateful for gloves, as well as sunglasses and sunscreen - the snow glare was bright. I continued another .8 miles past the falls to Yosemite Point - it was a great view but a lot of trouble (deep snow) to get there. If you aren't up for it, you can still take the short walk out that way to the wooden bridge. It's picturesque :)

Over crowded trail.

3 miles of dirt road up to trail head. There was ice on the road and we got up in an Impreza but I wouldn’t try it without a 4WD vehicle. Once on the hike the first half is In the trees but once you get further up there are good 360 views of the valley. Up top is awesome with a fire lookout tower and more 360 views! There was about 2 feet of snow on the upper mountain but it was still easy to do.

hiking
8 days ago

We did this hike on a Sunday morning (got to the trail head around 9 am) and had the place essentially to ourselves. There was no permit required since it's now wintertime, either. It was snow-free and not too muddy, either -- our dogs loved this trail and it was a beautiful way to start our morning.

We did this hike on Sunday 12/2 between 10am-2pm, the actual road to the hike was uphill and lots of potholes in the beginning but it does get better and turn into an actual road closer to the top of the trail. Snow on the entire trail, gets a bit deeper closer to the top about 1 inch of snow. Not very crowded, saw more people as we were coming down than going up. The last section of the hike is like a mini rock climb to get to the tower you have to climb up some rocks and then climb the ladder to the tower, bring good snow gear if you plan on going to the very top at this time very cold and icy! Great hike overall, one of our favorites. Bring northwest forest pass!!

Wonderful hiking trail! A bit challenging with the incline but worth every step. Spectacular view of the waterfall and Yosemite rock structure.

The hike starts with a pretty steep incline, but after a mile or so it actually gets very pleasant. There was quite some snow on the trail already. The views, especially at the end, are spectacular. We only encountered a few other people. Really enjoyed this hike!

Always a fun hike to do! Scenic and a fun discovery each time. Go down the coastal trail and end up at China Beach! A must!

Hiked this trail today. Easy, well groomed, creek- side hike. Snow line was just above the falls allowing easy access to the base. The falls were raging while snow flurried. Some puddles and mud but easy to walk around. Light traffic.

One of my favorites of the Seattle Tinder pic circuit. The views at the top are so so amazing and the hike is a bit challenging.

An easy, short hike with a beautiful waterfall. We went during the fall rains and the waterfall was swollen and raging.

Great hike all around! Bonus was at the top had several birds eating nuts right out of my hand with snow flurries :)

BEAUTIFUL Hike! Worth the destination AND the journey. There are three ledge lookouts. Most people just stopped at the first before turning back. It's worth hiking another 1/4 mile or so to the next two ledges. the All Trails Topo map makes it easy to find them. I went on a Thursday. There were definitely others on the trail, but not nearly as crowded as it appears to be on the weekend. If I lived in the area, this would be a reocurring hike for me.

Hiked Ellinor on 11-24-2018 and there is snow! it doesn't begin until about a mile in, but as you got higher it got deeper. I would definitely bring trekking poles, krampons and any extra pair of gloves. I've never hiked Ellinor in the summer, but with the snow it really didn't get too hard until the last half mile heading up to the summit, but once you're up there, it is magnificent!! we felt like we were on top of the world!

hiking
12 days ago

Great views

it was an amazing hike. fell down coming out of the cave.

Trail isn't too tough to get to super cool and unique scenery and views on the way to the cave.

hiking
13 days ago

Hiked 10/27. missed the beautiful larch colors, but was still an amazing hike. Breathtaking views. Note....drove past trailhead was looking for NF-600. thinking it would be marked as such. It is actually at the Rainy Pass rest stop area.

Load More