Vernal and Nevada Falls via the Mist Trail

MODERATE 1,158 reviews
#1 of 175 trails in

Vernal and Nevada Falls via the Mist Trail is a 6.7 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Yosemite Village, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from April until November.

6.7 miles
2162 feet



nature trips






wild flowers





no dogs

Hike to two breath-taking waterfalls along Yosemite Valley's most popular hiking trails. If you only have time for one hike while in Yosemite look no further: the Mist Trail is the hike for you. It is no wonder why this trail is one of the most popular trails in Yosemite Valley. You will hike so close to 2 massive waterfalls that it will be very difficult to avoid the mist from the falls. The best time to hike this trail is in Spring or early Summer, while the snow runoff is high and the falls are full of water. The Mist Trail starts at Happy Isles trailhead (YARTS shuttle stop #16, and within walking distance of Curry Village and parking lot). After a brief stroll along the river, you climb a pretty steep initial accent until you reach the footbridge, which offers the first glimpse of Vernal Fall in the distance (and a water-fountain and restrooms). You will then continue up to Vernal Fall, past Emerald Pool, and alongside Nevada Fall until you reach the high-point for this hike. Then take the alternate route down along the John Muir Trail to see views of Nevada Fall and Liberty Cap in the distance before meeting back up with the Mist Trail near the footbridge. The route back is slightly longer, but offers a change of scenery and is easier on the knees. Before hopping back on the YARTS shuttle, treat yourself to some ice cream or a refreshing drink at the small stand, or head over to Curry Village for a larger variety of choices.

13 hours ago

the stairs really does kick your butt, but the view is worth it!

5 days ago

The stairs will kick your butt... bring snacks and layers!!

6 days ago

This trail is lots of fun but be ready for tons of stairs! Tons is an understatement.. regardless the views are amazing and it is well worth it!!

6 days ago

Love this trail and I’ve hiked it twice already.

7 days ago

loved it

8 days ago

A must do hike!!!!

10 days ago

one of the best view of waterfalls. The sight from the vernal falls was so beautiful that we didn go further for the nevada falls.

13 days ago

This is a beautiful hike that is worth the crowds and effort up the steep cliffs. The mist from the falls will cool you off in the summertime.

17 days ago

Beautiful hike! The falls are amazing. It's a bit steep but worth it. Go early it can get crowded

22 days ago

Was a great hike and would definitely do it again. Dropped down to 4 stars because of trail closures (had to do an out and back and couldn't come back on John Muir Trail), low water flow this time of year, and because of facility issues. The only restroom open (near the trail head, all others on the route were closed) was a mess... urinal literally overflowing.

24 days ago

Great hike. Definitely moderate. There are some decent stairs to climb and if you want a workout—run up the stairs!!! The loop around is beautiful and I highly recommend it!!! Take some water and light snacks!

26 days ago

Great views, beautiful hike. If you go all the way to the top of Nevada Falls, I'm not sure it's rated as a "moderate" hike as it says here.... Yosemite Park rates a notch higher as "Strenuous". Lotttttssss of granite stone stairs to the top. And you gain 1900 ft in 2.5 miles. Most people stopped at Vernal Falls, but definitely worth it to keep going to the view at the top of Nevada Falls.

28 days ago

Amazing Trail 15/10 would do this again!!!
Make sure to bring water and food, and depending on how you approach the trail you could possibly be doing 9-10 miles like we did. However, this trail was absolutely beautiful, if you can, do this trail.

30 days ago

Great hike. Amazing views, especially in winter. I know most people recommend going in spring to see the waterfall in full swing - but, for me there is nothing more beautiful and serene than an ice cold, glacial scenery. The trail is well maintained and relatively easy to follow - however, i would definitely not rate is as moderate. Yes, it’s easy to follow and paved most of the way, but the stairs up and down and very strenuous elevation gain will exhaust even the veterans.

It’s definitely worth it though and would recommend it to anyone!

1 month ago

1 month ago

This is the trail that got as started! My wife and I caught the hiking bug in Yosemite

1 month ago

Spectacular, steep hike with great views of waterfalls along the route. The John Muir trail on the way back was closed today due to icy conditions and falling rock.

1 month ago

Beautiful trail. You get to see alot of waterfalls, two upclose and some from afar. The weather was a little challenging since it was freezing at 37deg. Bring alot of water and snacks, you will need it on the way up.

1 month ago

Started at 7am and only ran into one other person on the way up. Amazing views and two lovely waterfalls that were still flowing pretty good. Hope you like stairs because you will be climbing quite a bit of them to reach vernal falls and even more if you want to reach the top of Nevada falls. Bring lots of water!

1 month ago

This trail is absolutely gorgeous when waterfalls are full. We got fully drenched in the mist. Highly recommended to go in summer when the waterfalls are full as they are the star attraction and can make a huge difference in the experience. We saw a bunch of rainbows. Also made sure to see the waterfalls from distance and not to cross the fence at any cost. The elevation gain gave us a serious workout but coming down was pretty fast ( be careful if you have bad knees ). Be sure to carry a lot of water.

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