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Vernal and Nevada Falls via the Mist Trail

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Yosemite National Park

Vernal and Nevada Falls via the Mist Trail is a 8.8 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Yosemite Valley, California that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from May until October.

Length 8.8 mi Elevation gain 2,191 ft Route type Loop
Hiking Forest Partially paved River Views Waterfall Wild flowers Wildlife Bugs Rocky Snow No dogs
Description
Waypoints (6)
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Getting There

Please note: As of September 2020, The park has decided to reroute this trail and make a one way loop which starts shortly after the bridge below Vernal Falls and continues on the John Muir Trail after the top of Nevada Falls and back down to the bridge. During the winter months, portions of the John Muir Trail in Yosemite are closed. Visitors can still visit the falls, but you must return on the stairs, instead of returning on the John Muir Trail. 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.

If you visit the park in the off season you can normally park at the Happy Isles trailhead parking area and hike to the trailhead. During peak season park anywhere you can that is near the shuttle route, then take the shuttle to stop #16.

Public Information Office P.O. Box 577 Yosemite, CA 95389 Call: 209/372-0200; press 3 then 5. Time: 9 am to 5 pm Pacific Time (closed for lunch)

There is a water fountain at the footbridge, but you will need to bring at least 1L of water to hold you until you get back near the end of the hike.

Follow the link for information about travel to Yosemite. http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/driving.htm

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Reviews (2739)
Photos (7066)
Recordings (1393)
Completed (12839)
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Krystina Barahona
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Samantha Jean
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HikingGreat!

Did this hike to Vernal Falls & Nevada Falls in October 2017. Crowded, but one of the most spectacular hikes I’ve ever done! Beautiful views from the top of Nevada Falls, which was a great place for a small picnic before heading back down.

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Victoria Nguyen
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HikingBugs

Did this hike a few days ago the hike is completely washed out from the fires. Ended up leaving Yosemite but was glad to get something under my belt. Lots of bugs.

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Jereme Pheasant
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Tris Roland
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HikingGreat!

we did this trail like a year ago we been there for almost a week and didn't finish the trails it's so much to see and hike here but we enjoyed a few trails love it now with this fire is not good to hike i hope i can make it and winter i really want to how looks with snow the valley

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Marcelo Lopez
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Joey Brown
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Hiking

I highly enjoyed it but due to the wildfires you couldn’t see very much. Still a wonderful trail at a wonderful place.

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Joseph Parazo
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HikingRockyScramble

We went out on the trail in early August, the crowds were a lot thinner than expected, but there were still plenty of people leading up to Vernal Falls. The park had decided to make a one way loop which started shortly after the bridge below Vernal Falls and continued on the John Muir Trail after the top of Nevada Falls and back down to the bridge. Many people were not following the loop which made it hard to socially distance on the Giant Staircase as well as on the rock trail below Liberty Cap. The falls were still flowing, but the staircase was dry. It took us about 6 hours round trip and the last bit is a push getting up Nevada Falls, but worth it! One of my favorite hikes in the valley by far, but can be crowded in the spring and summer months.

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Tina Andres
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Very hard but very worth it. Took 5 hours of hiking and a 30 minute break and waded top of Nevada falls was incredible! The right side is longer up to Nevada but much less difficult then left side steep steps and switch backs

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James Li
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Hiking

Great trail with lots of excellent views. There is a water refill station shortly after starting. Stay well hydrated, there is decent elevation. Pay attention to the signs for closures. The waterfalls are likely not as impressive as they could be since it’s late in summer. Found a nice spot by the river for lunch break about half mile past the top.

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Jorge Martinez
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Vernal falls side of the loop is closed for trail improvements. You have to go up to Nevada falls via the John Muir trail. Note this trail is considered hard as there is elevation gain from start to finish and hard on the knees all the way down. Overall views are amazing and so are the falls.

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Tim Ashe
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Hiking

Amazing experience. Smoke dissipated much more than the previous day. Stunning views throughout.

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Conrad Kaczmarek
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Amazing trail. Definitely lots of elevation but very worth it. Bring lots of water & some snacks.

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Stephen Listrom
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Hiking

Great hike. Mist trail is closed so it adds time to Nevada falls. Still wonderful views and soaking in Nevada pools.

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Helen Marks
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Kaizan Gripman
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Riana Kulkarni
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Hiking

We are not avid hikers by any means so were a bit worried at first given the elevation gain. We took our time and made sure to stay hydrated and fueled with food. Almost the whole half of the trail is basically uphill, so make sure to be prepared for that! It’s also very rocky especially going past Nevada Falls to the top lookout point. Also, the stairs at Vernal Falls were a bit treacherous and they weren’t wet, so make sure to take extra care especially if there’s water on the steps from the falls. Also keep in mind from the parking lot you have to walk about a mile (mostly uphill on a paved path) before you even start the trail. There are 3 bathrooms along the trail which was super nice. Highly recommend!

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Carlos Quiroz
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Hiking

As you keep walking into the trail the views just keep getting better and better love this hike.

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Travis Miller
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HikingGreat!Rocky

One of my favorites for views in Yosemite.

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Aaron Tropf
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Hiking

Eh Feels like Runyon canyon with an edge

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Amy Ortiz
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Hiking

Tough one but experience!!

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Hanna F
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HikingGreat!

Amazing hike, make sure to bring as much as water as u can! Start early to avoid heat. Many amazing views!

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Adrianna Cabrera
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HikingGreat!Rocky
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Sebastian M
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HikingGreat!

Great hike, get there early to avoid the heat. If you can start it at sunrise you can avoid most heavy traffic.

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Melinda Smith
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Hiking

One of my favorites hikes in the park. We started early and got to the Vernal Falls footbridge just as the sun was starting to come up. We were pretty much the only ones on the Mist Trail and only came across maybe a dozen other people. The hike down via JMT it was much more crowded, but not bad. When we started on the last leg back at the footbridge to get back to the valley floor it was pretty packed so I’m super glad we got an early start. The bugs were pretty ruthless (late August) so I’d recommend bug spray. We did the loop back down to Vernall Falls at the fork and then went back up to continue our descent so our hike ended up being a little over 10 miles with 4 hours and 25 mins of moving time.

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Tiffany Sarkisian
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First of all, the ascent is tough due to the rapid incline. Well worth the effort though. I probably would’ve given this trail 5 stars had it not been so crowded. Went on the Friday before Labor Day and there were many groups (4+) hiking. About 25% of hikers wore masks, but with such a narrow trail at points, I was hoping more people would be wearing masks.

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Ferran Rodenas
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HikingGreat!
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