Explore the most popular partially paved trails in Yosemite National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Woah! Great hike, straight up at some points but worth it. Some ice on the steps toward the top. Amazing views, wonderful waterfall and less than 10 people!

My girlfriend and I did this hike last Tuesday (12/4) and thoroughly enjoyed being surrounded by some of the oldest and rarest trees in the world!

The only reason I gave this hike four stars instead of five is because of the road closure to the upper parking lot that added an additional mile to our hike on a paved road. I understand the need to close certain roads when they became dangerous or undriveable, but there were multiple national parks vehicles driving back and forth on the road, and the lot would have been easily accessible for even a front-wheel drive vehicle.

Having said that, this was a magnificent hike and it was quite impressive to be in the presence of these towering giants. My personal favorite was either Grizzly Giant or Fallen Monarch. At 209 feet tall, Grizzly Giant reaches for the sky with its gigantic branches like some magical tree out of Harry Potter. The Fallen Monarch almost looks like an octopus with its massive tentacles reaching out to touch you.

We didn't complete the entire loop (because of time constraints) and instead turned left at the road roughly 0.7 miles in. We then turned left again after encountering The Faithful Couple, making our round-trip on the trail about 2.5 miles (not including the mile on the road).

I would love to return in the summertime to complete the entire loop, but I felt as though we made the most of our time!

My girlfriend and I did this hike on Sunday (12/2) after having camped in the Upper Pines Campground the night before.

After watching sunrise at Tunnel View and exploring the Yosemite Valley Village, we 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 our hike it was incredibly icy. We saw a multitude of "tourists" attempting to climb the steep walkway leading to the Vernal Footbridge in nothing more than 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, all adequately prepared to take on the elements.

The initial staircase to the top of Vernal Falls wasn't too frozen over, 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 issue.

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. However, that didn't deter us from thoroughly enjoying this majestic hike with the stark contrast of sunshine reflecting off granite rocks 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!

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

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.

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

We walked this trail back in July. It was a pretty quick walk so we decided to go off the regular trail. We went over the rocks and right up to the falls. It was still flowing in July.

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

hiking
19 days ago

Great hike! Did it in November on a rainy day. If that’s what you’re planning to do, then be aware that trail and stairs are wet and slippery. If you have appropriate shoes, it is absolutely fine. Views are spectacular, the only downside is how crowded this trail is. Once you reach last third of the trail, it is pretty narrow on the stairs, due to which you have to stop and get off a bit in order to let people come up or down. We really enjoyed it regardless of crowds and rainy weather. Didn’t go further just because we did not pack enough water with us and initially planned it to be a short trip. However, you can continue to Nevada Falls and and other spectacular trails.

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!!

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.

hiking
21 days ago

Try to get an early start. The trail was very crowded until the half way point where most people turn around.

hiking
21 days ago

Hiked from the fall down this trail as part of a loop, The view from the falls is amazing

Had to park at the visitor center and take the free 10-minute shuttle bus up to the trailhead (apparently only cars with handicap stickers can drive all the way in). The trail is very clean and well developed with educational signs about the grove. There are many options for different trails and loops. After about 1 mile, people thinned out which was nice. A peaceful and easy walk!

If you take the shorter route up, be prepared for STAIRS FROM HELL- but super worth it. We took the shorter (but harder) route up, and the longer route down so it would be easier on the knees going down. Amazing views!!

hiking
24 days ago

Really fun with a nice view, make sure to bring alot of water

Beautiful! Amazing views all around. It was a tough climb for sure but I highly recommend it. Both waterfalls were still gorgeous even though they aren’t flowing at full capacity. We saw a mama bear and her two cubs as well as a bobcat on trail, pretty amazing!!

Awesome hike, definitely strenuous going up some of the steep areas. But it was worth it going up to Nevada Falls. Took the John Muir trail on the way down, much easier on the knees. Careful, There were some icy patches at the top of that trail. Took us 4 hours to hike, we covered about 8 miles.

Mind blowing Forrest! Those giants are impressive!

hiking
29 days ago

MGT is the road to the top. Plenty of side trails to use if you want. 4mi to the top and crowds thin after the main area. View at Wawona Point is worth it if you have 3hrs for the up & back plus pics along the way.

hiking
30 days ago

Nice hike but only 4 stars as the falls have dried up until snow melt in late spring. I’ll be back then.

1 month ago

Kinda hard. Steep. Good.

Awesome! Still had water at both Vernal and Nevada Falls. We took the entire route listed but didn’t take the “shortcuts” on the recorded map (short stairs to curb the corners on the switchbacks) and our route total walking from the Half Dome Campgrounds was over 10 miles! The stairs at Vernal Falls were tough but the stairs to the top of Nevada were tougher. Single ledge “more natural stairs” were definitely more unnerving than the Vernal Falls portion. Total flights of stairs recorded were 180! What a great way to spend a Sunday morning!

Great hike. I recommend starting around 8 to beat most of the crowds. We went on Nov 11 and it was COLD in the morning so bring layers. This hike is not challenging if you are in shape but there are a lot of stairs around the two falls which can make it difficult.

Good. Some parts were super easy, a few right before Nevada falls were steep and technical for the average person.

Short easy paved trail. The waterfall was non-existent this time.

Great trail, hard work. Wife was absolutely spent after we got down - stairs prior to both falls, but especially Nevada were a killer. Great view all the way. Saw deer, Mumma Bear and 2 baby bears!

It was a wonderful hiking. The best part is after the California tunnel, where the crowds stop hiking. We saw many dears on the way back, around 6pm.

This hike was CAKE with an amazing view over the valley. Two water falls. Hit it early and make sure to go up vernal then Nevada and John Muir Trail on the return.

Best and most rewarding hike I've ever done. Train for this hike.... I'm 36 and in shape, and this kicked my a**. Last visit was OCT 2017. Been twice and plan on going back.

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