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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!

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 :)

Beautiful hike, perfect For This Time Of The Year, !

Beautiful day with gorgeous view of Mt! A bit windy but otherwise perfect, no crowds easy parking. Our dog loved it!

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

backpacking
9 days ago

Backpacked one night (Dec. 1-2nd). This was my third time on this trail. I was hoping to reach the top of the first lake, between the first and second, to get a good morning photo. I got a late start and the snow kept me from even making the first lake. I ended up camping at the Cabin and didn't have enough time to continue on. Can't say what the conditions are after the Cabin, but expect deeper snow. It was about knee deep in most places and deeper after the first falls. Its all fresh snow and soft.
Overall amazing trail in summer and winter. Temps were around 1-5F at night with a negative wind chill, but the wind died down. It was about 11F this morning around 8am. Nice easy hike down after plowing.

I was wearing outer shells and snow shoes. I'll post some pics. Happy backpacking.

Nice fairly quick hike. Little bit of elevation to get to the lake, but the loop around it is flat. Expect it to be busy during summer weekends.

Recent snowfall from Nov 29/30 will make your trek longer if you decide to do the full loop...not sure what the conditions look like as I only hiked a mile in to scope out the trail and will return in the spring! It is gorgeous. If someone does the full loop with the current snow let us know the conditions and time!

hiking
10 days ago

Easy but beautiful trail. All I want to see is the second lake!

Son of a gun, this trail was tough. This was due to the rock stairs and almost constant steepness. It got my knees on the way down - I had to stop and stretch those knees out from time to time. I split off to check out Little Yosemite at the top intersection because it was only 1 mile away, but then I got about halfway and saw the trail headed down which meant I'd have to go up again to come back. By then, I reached a "nope" point so I turned around and just went to Nevada. The falls were beautiful and the views from the top of Nevada were breathtaking. I had my snack on a ledge overlooking the fall edge. It was the best. I headed back down on John Muir Trail. I felt like both routes were equally steep.

hiking
14 days ago

Some of the most stunning views I’ve ever seen while hiking. Constant amazement at the unreal beauty of the surrounding waterfalls, cliffs, rivers. A magical experience. Highly recommend hiking past glacier point to sentinel dome. Was lucky enough to be the only person atop sentinel dome in late November (Glacier Point driving road closed.)

Easy and fun hike and amazing 360 degrees view of Yosemite at the end. Loved it!

Hiked to the Backpacker’s camp. It was covered it snow. So beautiful. The hike is grueling but worth it.

Hard ascent( especially the ice and snow on the upper part of the trail). With the road closed, a good way to access the awesome views from Glacier Point.

hiking
16 days ago

I LOVED this hike. It's about 11 mi round trip if you go to lakes 1-3. We went on November 23 which was the day after the first snowfall, and it was gorgeous -- I could see it getting slippery in certain places once the snow has a chance to melt and refreeze a couple of times. Nothing insurmountable, but hiking poles could be helpful in the winter.

As far as the level of hike -- I was bracing myself because people have been citing it as a pretty challenging hike, but there was not any particularly challenging moment -- the distance makes it tiring and by the end I was feeling my legs running out of steam, but neither my partner nor I are overly active (we've recently been doing a 2-3 mile hike maybe once a week and yoga maybe once or twice a week, in addition to daily walks with our dog) and it was totally doable with enough water, snacks, and layers. The way up is pretty consistently uphill, but you're not climbing boulders the whole time or anything; it's just a mountain!

Timing -- I think that for the average healthy person, 7-8 hours is probably a good amount of time to give the hike if you want to stop for photos, food, exploration. We left just before 8:30, got to the 1st lake around 11 AM, meandered to the 2nd and 3rd lakes and back to the 1st again, stopped for some food and chatting (and some dog play between our dogs and other awesome dogs on the trail), and were on our way down around 12:45, then back to the car by 3 PM.

I can't wait to come back and see how the lakes look in other seasons. Can't recommend this hike enough.

Good hike with decent incline... However, it is longer than 3.7 miles. Prepare for atleast 5.8 miles.

We completed part of this trail on July 25, 2018 before our mandatory evacuation due to fires. We had to be out of the park by 9:00 so we knew we had to start early and hike fast. Due to the early evacuation, we were the only hikers on the trail. We moved as fast as we could in order to see as much as possible. The switchbacks definitely get the heart rate up and I went through quite a bit of water and the sun wasn’t even out. The steps were dusty and dry, but very slippery at times. Start early and bring plenty of water! Even though our hike was cut short due to the mandatory evacuation, this was my favorite hike!

Stunning hike but we got a bit lost between Lakes 5-7 as the ground was covered in snow and we couldn’t find the trails (hiked November 24th). Might be advisable to turn around after lake 3 in snowy conditions if you’re not familiar with the route.

hiking
17 days ago

Switchbacks all the way up and all the way down. Gorgeous views at the top, which were made even better by the recent snowfall. Bring water and real shoes — I saw too many people in tennis shoes struggling on the ice and snow.

Great hike! Did this in mid October, the waterfalls weren’t at full volume but the weather was great. Saw a momma bear and 2 cubs between Vernal and Nevada falls, and the views were incredible. Challenging but worth it. Came back the John Muir trail to change the scenery a bit. A must do

We hiked to Nevada Falls vía this trail back in September and absolutely loved it! The hike starts with an uphill on a paved trail for a few miles and the crowd of people starts to diminish once you get closer to Vernal Falls. The uphill is tough but don’t get discouraged, it’s worth the effort!! Vernal fall was not as strong during September which was helpful because there’s a few slippery rocks going up to Vernal. Once you pass Vernal and start reaching Nevada Falls the views are even more spectacular with Half Dome looking larger because you’re closer to it! Hiking shoes are helpful but you’ll get by with some running shoes. Take plenty of water, and a flashlight in case you get caught in the dark like we did. The hike took us about 7 hours round trip with sightseeing and lunch. Get out there and have fun!!

Spectacular views.

This hike was my first hike in Yosemite during my first visit to this amazing National Park. As others have mentioned, the stairs are challenging but well worth the views at Vernal Falls. During the Fall/Winter season the falls are not flowing as Spring/Summer but a beautiful sight nonetheless. Amazing hike, highly recommend.

Hands down one of the best hikes in Yosemite. I’ve done everything in the valley floor and driving up out of the valley to do this hike is absolutely worth it.

This is a solid climb with beautiful vistas along the way. At some points it feels like just trudging uphill. I definitely recommend doing it when Glacier Point road is closed, the viewing spots at the top were relatively uncrowded as it was just those of us who had hiked up. I hiked back down the 4 mile trail but would have preferred to go down the panaroma trail for a less steep incline. Happy to report my knees are just a little sore today and Im feeling good after the climb! Take plenty of water and snacks.

hiking
19 days ago

It was great hike however be ready for a steep switchbacks. There were stunning views of the valleys going up and down the mountain.

Great workout and wonderful views along the way up. I completed this trail in September 2016. The only disappointing thing about this trail is that the view at the top is shared with a whole bunch of people who just drove up and parked.

hiking
20 days ago

This was the perfect hike! A little challenging due to the distance and carrying about 25 pounds, but definitely doable. It was a gradual incline so nothing too brutal. After the first mile, you are walking next to a beautiful river the entire time. Got to see a waterfall, then Lon Cheney’s cabin, and then the lakes were gorgeous. We only made it to lake 2 due to time, but we will be back to do the entire thing. HIGHLY recommend, one of my favorite hikes.

hiking
21 days ago

Beautiful, one of my favourite lakes in the basin. Steep climb up but fantastic views

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