Vernal and Nevada Falls via the Mist Trail

MODERATE 1,299 reviews
#1 of 203 trails in

Vernal and Nevada Falls via the Mist Trail is a 6.4 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.

DISTANCE
6.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2188 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

snow

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.

hiking
1 hour ago

Strenuous hike but with beautiful views. Did this hike on 4/21 and it was very crowded including lots of out of shape people and children. This made the 600 step section harder and somewhat unnerving. Came down via the John Muir Trail which I highly recommend so you avoid the crowded slippery steps and also get some nice views of the valley.

hiking
1 day ago

A very nice trail! A must to go when you are in Yosemite Vallet. I enjoyed myself all the way up and down. Expect steep sections but it’s still pretty good as long as you get some rest. Go clockwise - highly recommend. Restrooms are closed during winter, so when I went this time it was still closed. The nearest restrooms will be by the shuttle bus stop.

hiking
1 day ago

Hiked at the end of March went up John Muir trail and down the mist trail. Really lovely challenging hike with views of the valley and waterfalls. Also great views of half dome. Enjoyed it better than Yosemite falls.

hiking
2 days ago

Beautiful..

2 days ago

Steep parts with the 600 steps, which also gets pretty slippery. Wear a rain jacket, pack a protein-filled lunch, and bring at *least* 24 oz of water per person. I would say it’s on the harder end of moderate.

hiking
4 days ago

Great hike not too bad even with 12 and 8 year.. lots of traffic though.. must do hike

hiking
5 days ago

A great first hike in Yosemite, was a little more difficult than anticipated...we went up Mist Trail and down John Muir (which I recommend because the views are UNREAL and it's less crowded). The MT was cool but very crowded with reckless people...infant babies, flip flops on slippery surfaces...just very unnerving. But if you can wake up early enough to beat the crowd it will be much more enjoyable. You will get wet! I recommend early summer when the falls are full and flowing.

7 days ago

I did this two days ago. Although grueling on the way up, humbling along the way, mesmerizing at the top!
I will do this again!

hiking
8 days ago

Incredible hike! I struggled getting to the top, cramping and sore muscles going up. Very wet, so be careful of slippery rocks. The falls are amazing and breathtaking!

hiking
10 days ago

Hiked 4.11.18 - stunning hike!! more on the hard side of moderate for sure with all the stairs and boulders, but worth it at the top!! Plenty of runoff so bring waterproof shoes or shoes you won't mind getting wet and dirty. Take your time on the wet rocks - they are so slippery! I was so thankful I thought to bring a poncho as the mist from Vernal Falls was BRUTAL. Again, WORTH IT ALL- absolutely breathtaking views!

hiking
13 days ago

Wow. I have hiked around the world and seen the worlds largest waterfalls but this place is truly special! Just did it 4/8/18 after heavy flooding in the Yosemite valley and vernal falls was PUMPING. It was absolutely brutal to walk up the steps getting beat in the face with mist. Additionally, most people stopped well before Nevada Falls (I think because they couldn't find the trail). Keep on going for an additional treat. What a spectacular spot. Much better than Yosemite falls!

14 days ago

Great hike. Incredible views. Bring plenty of water and snacks as you will need it. Hiked it twice. Both times in May, a year a part, not too cold nor too hot.

hiking
17 days ago

Great hike. Be aware though that the Mist Trail is primarily steps, and lots of them. We took the longer route back to avoid going down the wet stairs and it was really nice. The John Muir loop was still closed from Nevada Falls.

hiking
22 days ago

This was one of the most rewarding hikes I have ever been on. There was always a breathtaking view at every turn. The trail was very congested and people very friendly. I would highly suggest hiking shoes and cool clothing. You are going to sweat and get exhausted from the steep sections on the hike. I would rate this as a hard to moderate hike. Footing on some sections was sketchy. Very worth heading to the top of Nevada falls. Bring water and snacks. We were not able to make the loop once at the top because the trail was closed.

hiking
23 days ago

Gorgeous views of the waterfalls, lots of hikers going up and down and please wear proper shoes /clothing as the trial contains both water and mist.

hiking
27 days ago

Great trail with nice views. Could only make it up to the 5th switch back from the Mist Trail as the next few switch backs were really icy (bring your Yaktraks).

hiking
1 month ago

Picturesque hike! Wow.

During snowy conditions, Yaktrax shoe chains are definitely worth it, as it gets pretty icy! You can by them for ~ $25 in the shop in Curry Village.

hiking
1 month ago

This was a great trail would definitely recommend it.

hiking
1 month ago

I’ve done this hike without snow & ice & its totally different. Still a great hike, but icy/snowy & slippery in spots. Especially past the base of Vernal Falls. See pics :)

Nice trail even in winter. Yosemite in March is awesome.

1 month ago

LOVE it!! Go early in the morning though.

hiking
1 month ago

Oh my goodness. This was my first trail at Yosemite and it was incredible. You can’t beat the view from the top of Nevada Falls. Definitely recommend this hike! Just make sure you pack plenty of water!

1 month ago

This is the most amazing trail. You get to hike right next to the water fall, which is beautiful, but prepared to get VERY wet! The steps going up the waterfall are very slippery, so you need shoes with good traction. Also, I would call this trail difficult rather than moderate. Many people were turning back half way up. Definitely worth it though!!

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing, high elevation so you need to be prepared and be in shape for this trail. Wear appropriate hiking shoes! I’ve seen people in flip flops and sneakers and they did not make it on the last leg of the trail.

hiking
2 months ago

Epic!

2 months ago

Sunday Feb 11, 2018. Awesome hike with many tourists in street shoes.for a couple mile hike was unexpected ...

waterfalls running strong and the descriptions of steep grade with many steep steps is 200% accurate. One tricky part is walking alone rock face holding on for dear life with a 2ft wide walkway. Be ready for changing weather.

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail! We went in February and the weather was great. It was a difficult hike for me with the uphill climb but completely worth it!

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike did it with my two kids 6 and 3 it’s a killer hike but the water is freezing bring a good rain parka !!

3 months ago

Great trail the stairs can be tricky with people going up and down at the same time on the same tiny slippery stairs..

3 months ago

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

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