Vernal and Nevada Falls via the Mist Trail

HARD 1390 reviews
#1 of 230 trails in

Vernal and Nevada Falls via the Mist Trail is a 6.4 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, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from April until October.

DISTANCE
6.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,191 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

partially paved

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

snow

no dogs

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.

1 day ago

gorgeous trail area. strongly commented.

1 day ago

Did this hike today. I wouldn't say you need to be an experienced hiker because all trails are well marked and easy to traverse. You do need to be physically fit though as it is continually steep... both difficult getting up and slippery/hard on the joints coming down. My partner and I are fairly fit and did it in 6 hours...that was with a lunch stop and heading down JMT after Nevada Falls but then turning back because it was too wet (snow is melting!). Go early. It was so busy on our way back down at 1pm.

hiking
blowdown
1 day ago

Awesome awesome hike. Pretty strenuous - especially if you are continuing all the way to Nevada Falls as we did. Incredible vistas of the area along Glacier Point and Liberty Cap, more great waterfall views than you can shake a stick at, lovely flowing creeks. I’m glad we left early in the morning because by the afternoon the trail up to Vernal was crammed with hikers. I suspect most of them didn’t continue past Vernal, which is a big mistake. One of my very favorite hikes!

hiking
blowdown
1 day ago

Awesome awesome hike. Pretty strenuous - especially if you are continuing all the way to Nevada Falls as we did. Incredible vistas of the area along Glacier Point and Liberty Cap, more great waterfall views than you can shake a stick at, lovely flowing creeks. I’m glad we left early in the morning because by the afternoon the trail up to Vernal was crammed with hikers. I suspect most of them didn’t continue past Vernal, which is a big mistake. One of my very favorite hikes!

4 days ago

here in late April. huge water!

hiking
rocky
snow
5 days ago

Extremely beautiful trail. JMT is covered with snow, be prepared.

hiking
rocky
scramble
snow
6 days ago

Did this yesterday and i could only say big “WOW” the reviews previously are so true if you only got 1 day to visit yosemite and your up to a big challenge do this and you will never forget and you will say i’ll do this again and again.... toughest trail i did so far but the most rewarding.. since this is a very popular trail do it early i would say before 8am and enjoy.. on our way back did John muir trail there’s a steel gate that says the trail is “ close “ because of danger in rock falling but we saw a couple with an 8 year old daughter just coming through and said it was doable so we went and truly enough it’s “ doable” parts of the trail was covered with snow trees fallen and by the look of it still in the process of clearing the trails, good thing i’m always ready had my sticks and spikes with me I have just started hiking last year and still conquering my fear of heights and ridges yesterday was a scary challenging experience i was fearful i would slide into the cliff but thank God we made it through... and i would say i’ll do it again .

6 days ago

I did this in September 2017 and I wasn't an avid hiker. It was strenuous (600+ stairs!!!), but so worth it! We hiked on to Nevada Falls and it was breathtaking. I suggest giving yourself extra time if you're not the best hiker, the 2,000+ elevation gain is no joke! Its also heavily trafficked until you get to the top of Vernal, then it breaks up quite a bit.

18 days ago

to reach the falls spikes are needed currently

The top is very difficult when covered in snow but the view is beautiful.

hiking
snow
20 days ago

hiking
snow
20 days ago

Short version

hiking
25 days ago

Done this a few times now with my family. First time we did it my daughter was almost 3 and she crushed it. One of the best around. Love it!

hiking
rocky
26 days ago

hiking
27 days ago

I’ve done this trail 4 times,I’ll do it again. Mist trail going up,John Muir down is the safest way but I usually do the opposite,since the John Muir is more strenuous.

hiking
1 month ago

If you visit Yosemite and did not do this moderate hike, you wasted your time and money. The best view of the most gorgeous water fall can be seen and felt via Mist Trail. Vernal Fall is huge and since the trail runs right next to it, you’ll have front row seats to the beauty of Yosemite. Very crowded though. Once you get to the top of Vernal Fall, continue on to Nevada Fall. Most people turn back after getting to the top at Vernal Fall. Though most have decided to turn back, there’s still quite a few that will venture forward to Nevada Fall. Once you get to Nevada Fall, there will be a restroom there. Though not hard, the elevation gain and length is enough to encourage you to take several breathers. Bring plenty of water (a liter per person minimum). I’ve done this hike about four times and enjoyed it each time. Would do more if not for the steep entrance fee into Yosemite that keeps going up. It usually takes me about 6 hours to complete the hike. It is kid friendly and though hiking gear is recommended, I have done just fine with running shoes.

1 month ago

Nothing compares to hiking in Yosemite!

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

This trail is beautiful and worth the time doing it. Just make sure you leave early (Dawn) and I would suggest taking one of the other trails down because later in the day it becomes a zoo ( like waiting in line at Disneyland instead of hiking)

hiking
snow
1 month ago

Did this hike 03/09 on a sunny day. The closed trail in the winter makes it a lot longer than what the signs advertise at the beginning of the hike - plan lots of time to do it. We started at 8am and finished at 2pm with lots of breaks and losing the trail a couple times. With the trail closure you can only get to the viewpoint at the top of Vernal fall, and the hike up is very steep and snow covered currently. Spikes are highly reccomended. The last section of the trail leading to Nevada falls was not marked and snowed over so we had to somewhat guess the way. Very beautiful hike but not for the faint of heart in the winter. Give yourself lots of time, dress warmly, and plan to do more sliding than walking on the way back down.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike. Those waterfalls... love the sounds and views, Crowded. If doing this hike consider making this hike into the Yosemite Grand Tour, you've already completed the most challenging part and there are not crazy crowds and you'll get to see glacier point among other views.

hiking
2 months ago

This is nice but heavily travelled with A LOT of people. If you can get to the 'Horse Trail' aka John Muir Trail, you can avoid the long lines going up the Mist Trail. These trails are the 'gateway' to Little Yosemite. Once in Little Yosemite, you can head up Half Dome or Cloud's Rest.

hiking
2 months ago

This is nice but heavily travelled with A LOT of people. If you can get to the 'Horse Trail' aka John Muir Trail, you can avoid the long lines going up the Mist Trail. These trails are the 'gateway' to Little Yosemite. Once in Little Yosemite, you can head up Half Dome or Cloud's Rest.

hiking
2 months ago

Did this hike in mid December and it was great- some icy patches along the way at the time but navigable in hiking shoes alone. Beautiful view from the top of the falls!

hiking
3 months ago

We went up to Nevada falls via the Mist Trail and then looped back down the John Muir switchbacks. If you like to hike you must do this - it’s beautiful and rewarding. I love this hike. We went when the falls were just thundering and we were soaked so be prepared for that possibility depending on how Vernal falls is running. If you’re in Yosemite and have not done this hike just do it you will not regret it! Spectacular views.

hiking
3 months ago

JM trail was closed so we couldn't do the loop in mid october. Ended up doing out and back on the mist, still a great hike. Definitely one of the more popular trails in the valley, so be prepared for lots of traffic on trail.

hiking
3 months ago

We did this hike in mid-December. While cold on the valley floor, we quickly warmed up with both the elevation gain and increased exposure to the sun. Really busy at the base of the hike but thins out as different path options are made available. Beautiful views of the valley and two legendary waterfalls. Great places to stop for lunch or enjoy a beer. Easy to follow, although we weren't able to do the full loop due to trail closures from rockfall risk.

3 months ago

Challenging hike but the views are worth it. I'd definitely like to check it out in the Spring. Trail got pretty busy on the way down so start early.

hiking
3 months ago

Awesome trail that is almost completely uphill out and downhill back. This is a do not miss hike when in Yosemite. The views get better and better as you go. Completed it over New Years so it was a little icy on the stairs by the top of the falls but there is a little side route to avoid the ice if you need.

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