Vernal and Nevada Falls via the Mist Trail

MODERATE 1,411 reviews
#1 of 207 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
2 hours ago

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hiking
2 hours ago

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22 hours ago

Stunning views all the way to the top! Save your knees and take in different views and perspectives by taking the John Muir trail down! Truly breathtaking! Note: we saw lots of bear poop on the way down but zero bears:/

1 day ago

Beautiful views. The trail work is amazing! Hats off to the trail crews.

1 day ago

Outstanding hike, be prepared to climb and get wet. The steps to Vernal falls on the Mist trail will leave you drenched from the water fall mist. The views are fantastic.

hiking
3 days ago

Only did the Mist Trail. Didn’t go all the way to Vernal Falls. It was difficult. Uphill the whole way. Spectacular views of the waterfall. I highly recommend!

hiking
4 days ago

I thought it was very hard but totally worth it. I was with 20 somethings and they had to wait for me a lot but since it was Mother’s Day they were very kind. I loved the challenge and felt very accomplished when we were done. Beautiful waterfalls but very crowded.

4 days ago

Quintessential Yosemite trail!
Very enjoyable despite the heavy traffic.
Early to mid May (on a weekday) best for more impressive waterfalls with Spring thaw and lesser throngs of other hikers.

hiking
6 days ago

Definitely hit the trail early, as others have said it gets really crowded. A hundred feet from the trailhead a bobcat walked right by me. The trail and views are phenomenal, especially the rainbows from Vernal Falls. As you ascend up Vernal the steps get pretty crazy, but the view from the top is so worth it. I continued on up to the top of Nevada Falls. Let me tell you, it’s no joke! Quite a work out, but when you get to the top of Nevada Falls you forget all the pain of going up. I opted to descend the John Muir Trail to skip the steps I hiked up. Ended up being about 9.5 miles (from trailhead parking), 2500’ elevation gain, and a little over 5 hours for me... that includes several breaks! Watch your step, take plenty of water, and know your limits and you’ll be fine.

6 days ago

Get their by 7 if you don't want to be overwhelmed by the crowds. You don't get soaked though. You get misted, moistened, sprayed, or damp but unless you fall in the river you're not getting soaked. I dried off in 15 min of sitting in the sun. The stairs are huge so take John Muir if you're short or have problems with stairs.

hiking
7 days ago

One of the most popular trails at Yosemite and an awesome one. Was my girlfriends first big hike. Plenty of people on Vernal falls mist trail but fun getting wet and enjoying the scenery. You get a break between the two trails as it is more flat, then a sharp ascent to the top of Nevada Falls. Took us a 8 hours to do Vernal and Nevada up with John Muir trail down. This was an easy pace with stopping for lunch for 45 min at Vernal Falls. As we were coming back around 7 pm, we saw a bear about 5 minutes from the base of the trail. My first time! Although looking back the bear seemed more afraid of me than me from him. I made myself Big and yelled. He went away. But was very cute looking back. Highly recommend this great trail!

hiking
9 days ago

We did the hike last march. It was amazing to hike up to the top. Because it was still spring, there was still ice on the trail and the trail was slippery. A lot of people had to stop and went back down. We decided to come forward to the top and it was the best decision because the view is super beautiful. Just be careful of the water and slippery trails!

9 days ago

The views from this trail are incredible! On a sunny day, the light reflects off Vernal Falls and creates breathtaking rainbows over the waterfall. Be prepared to get WET though, and the trail itself is steep and slippery- definitely a 7 out of 10 difficulty wise. We did not go all the way to Nevada falls, but took a “shortcut” following the John Muir trail to get back to the trailhead to avoid descending the slippery steps. If I were to do it again though, just brave it and go down the wet steps, as the John Muir way takes about 2 miles longer to get down.

10 days ago

What a place! Spectacular!
We did the whole trail and found it to be 12 miles with 2100 feet of ascent. Worth it! Be sure to visit Glacier Point afterwards to see where you hiked. So cool!

hiking
10 days ago

A very well maintained path which was quite busy up to Vernal Fall and much quieter above, towards Nevada Fall. The views along the walk were stunning, with a very high water flow at the moment.

11 days ago

So beautiful. Watch your steps and pay attention to the signs. At the second bathroom, just past Vernal falls, take a right and climb up a rock step based path. It goes up and give a great view of the Nevada falls before turning back becoming the John Muir trail that connects back down near the footbridge.

hiking
12 days ago

A hard trail! Not for those afraid of heights, small kids or the older folks! Right now, in May, the waterfall is spraying mist so hard that if your do the stairs to get to the top of Vernal Fall, your get soaked! Bring a poncho or rain jacket! I got soaked and was freezing and had a panic attack. Be prepared and take the John Muir trail back down to the valley. You have to keep climbing up a ways, but then you head down on a not so steep path. Terrific views!!

hiking
13 days ago

Be sure to wear appropriate gear for this one: a poncho/raincoat and decent boots. Because you will get soaking wet! We went up the Mist Trail to Vernal Falls and went back down via the winter route. The only downside is that the Mist Trail is very busy and you can only walk single file so you'll have to wait if slower people are in front of you.

hiking
14 days ago

The steps in the “mist” trail are both a quad burner and a wet one BUT is lots of fun and gorgeous on a sunny day. You’ll see lots of rainbows in the mist and you get so close to the falls. It's amazing when you're on top of the falls and can take pictures looking downwards. There were A LOT of people on this trail, but it is Yosemite, so when will there not be. Be sure to wear shoes with good grip as things are slippery and be wary on the way back down. I would rate this on the hard end of the moderate ranking due to the elevation.

hiking
16 days ago

I love the water, so I loved both of these breath taking falls. You will get wet and the stairs are many and tall close to the top of the first, close to the top of the second the loose rock will make you with you had a walking stick. my favorite ever hike!

hiking
18 days ago

We hiked from the valley floor up the Mist Trail, up to Vernal Falls, continued on to Nevada Falls and then winded back down along the John Muir Trail. We started about 10am and made it back down into the valley about 4pm. This round trip hike was just under 8 miles and we took lots of breaks, just enjoyed all the view points. The next day we drove up to Glacier Point, very cool to see an aerial view of what we had hiked!

hiking
18 days ago

Best hike! Very strenuous, uphill rocky steps.. waterfalls are beautiful. we went at the end of April. At the top of vernal falls the squirel's are not shy. They literly get in your lap for food so beware! Alot of people as this is a popular hike.

18 days ago

Breathtaking views! A bit crowded at the start of the trail (we went the day after Thanksgiving), but thins out by the top. A must for any hiker in Yosemite!

hiking
20 days ago

Great hike. If you start from Mirror Lake and plan to go to Nevada falls allocate the whole day to complete the hike if you are a beginner. Be prepared to get wet at Vernal Falls

hiking
21 days ago

Great hike - FYI, you'll get really wet as you climb up Mist Trail but the waterfalls are beautiful. Worth the hike - I recommend starting really early if possible.

hiking
22 days ago

Definitely worth a visit in the spring, when both Vernal and Nevada Falls are gushing. The hike is fairly steep, but paved for most of the way to the bottom of Vernal Falls. The Mist Trail is beautiful, though you definitely get soaked as you climb up along Vernal Falls; bring a poncho or raincoat and a raincover for your bag. The top of Nevada Falls is a great spot for a snack, with good views down the falls as well as of Liberty Cap. Start early (before 9am), otherwise the trail will be extremely crowded as you hike up (lots of school groups, families, etc.).

hiking
22 days ago

The John Muir Trail was closed so you have to back track down the stairs between Nevada falls and the pool but then take the Clark Point Cut off trail which looks like there is no through trail on the map because of the other trail closure but you can still easily do it - longer trail for the way back and bit of incline at the beginning but a lot easier on the knees and safer then heading down the wet slippery mist trail steps. AMAZING views. Not for children

24 days ago

Fun hike with such beautiful spots! My first time in Yosemite National Park and this hike was perfect

hiking
25 days ago

Beautiful Views! This hike can be strenuous but it is very worth it for the experience. Try to get there early to beat the crowd! Posting photos as well!

28 days ago

Hiked past Vernal to the top of Nevada falls with my wife. Just spectacular! Falls we’re going strong. We were dripping went passing Vernal. Went early in the day so the trail wasn’t crowded.

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