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.

Length8.8 miElevation gain2191 ftRoute typeLoop
HikingForestPartially pavedRiverViewsWaterfallWildflowersWildlifeBugsRockySnowFeeNo dogs
Description
Waypoints (6)
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Getting There

Yosemite National Park charges a fee to enter. Fees are $35 per vehicle or $30 per motorcycle. If you are entering on foot, horse, or bike the fee is $20 per person. You can also purchase a park specific annual pass for $70. 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. Additionally, the trail has been reported closed between 7am-4pm during the week. 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 (2963)
Photos (7849)
Recordings (1581)
Completed (14794)
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Balazs Moldovanyi
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Hiking
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Scott C
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HikingGreat!Icy

So lucky, it’s winter time but due to the warm weather the entire trail was easily accessible. Mid 30s in the morning and mid 60s later in the day. Icy in stretches along JM trail to Nevada Falls. Go slow and be careful or just take the Mist trail there and back

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Fredo Rocha
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HikingGreat!

01/11/2020 The weather was a sunny 40 degrees. We mostly had the trail to ourselves, we occasionally ran into another couple. It was easy to keep a distance when we did. As of right now, the trail is 90% Ice free... until about the last .5 miles leading up to Nevada Falls; that’s when it gets a bit icy, I brought my YakTraks and did not have any issues getting to the top. You may want to consider Microspikes if you come later in the season. We did not do the loop, just went in/out from the Happy Isles trail start to Nevada Falls. It took us about 4hrs round trip with some water breaks and a short lunch.

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Enrico Gutierrez
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HikingGreat!

One of the best hikes in Yosemite. Prepare for a long hike with awesome views.

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Rob S
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Hiking

Gorgeous weather. About a half mile of ice near Clark Point. I found it mildly difficult t navigate, but there was a nice Mexican family there with toddlers that made it look easy.

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Abhi A
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Nature tripsGreat!Rocky
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Amir Kohanpur
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Hiking
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Elizabeth Taintor
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Scout Leonard
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HikingFeeIcySnow

Very few people on this awesome trail at the beginning of January! It was great! The few people we passed we hiking after noon on a weekday, and hardly any masks (make sure you bring it! There are not always 6 feet of passing space, especially on those stairs!). Bathrooms just near the trailhead and near the emerald pools. Icy for the last .2 miles to top of Nevada falls so I bailed. You might have more luck with micro spikes and poles?

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Shane Devlin
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HikingIcy

Hiked on 1/6/2020. The mist trail is still open, and there is hardly any snow or ice on 90% of this trail. Gets icy the last 0.5 miles before Nevada Falls. Micro spikes and poles recommended, but doable in hiking shoes

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Javy Herrera
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Hiking
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Nicholas Wilbur
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Walking
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Dan Donohoe
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HikingGreat!IcySnow

Amazing hike in the snow and ice. Breathtaking views at the top. I recently bought micro spikes and I can't recommend them enough if you are going in the winter. With the other big trails closed this is a must if you're in the park.

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Megan Walsh
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Hiking

The Did this back in mid August for my Birthday with my husband and 6 year old son. Vernal falls were very slow and absolutely no mist on the steps. (We did just vernal falls in 2019 in late July and got soaked!) ate lunch at the top and then made our way up to Nevada falls. Lots of steps meant lots of breaks but getting to the top of Nevada falls was amazing. We wanted to stay longer but heard thunder so started back down. Took us a good 7 hours (from car parked in half dome village and back - closer to 9.5 miles) with all of the stops we had but VERY doable with a seasoned 6 year old hiker, and the promise of ice cream when done!

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Eric Yan
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This hike is more moderate than hard. With minimal photo taking, it’s definitely possible to complete this in under 4 hours. The views are great when you pass Vernal Falls. We were thankful we brought hiking poles given some icy parts but they certainly weren’t necessary. We didn’t have microspikes for our hiking shoes.

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Jaeson Kim
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WalkingGreat!
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Expedito Sean Miralles
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HikingGreat!

There was this one time my friend, Daniel Domergue, and I set out on this trail a few months back. We saw what I thought was a moose but couldn’t really tell. Went again just a few days ago and this time I coulda sworn I saw a moose.

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Mia Maston
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HikingGreat!

Beautiful waterfall and the mist trail is one of a kind.

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Stephanie Te
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HikingIcySnow

Hiked 12/20. Started at 9:20am and got back down by 2:20pm. We went through Mist Trail (it was open for one way) to Vernal Falls. Then continued on Mist Trail to Nevada Falls. For this section, I would definitely recommend shoes with excellent grip (mircospikes would be even better). This part has quite a few switchbacks and there were steps glazed with ice. We were holding on to the nearby rocks for support as we didn’t have spikes on our shoes. Besides that, the views are amazing. We came down the John Muir Trail and that was much easier. Still spots of ice but less switchbacks.

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Sylvia B
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HikingIcy

This was a very steep climb on way to top of Vernal Falls but there are some amazing views along the way! Currently it is a one way route up to the top and then you must take Clark Point trail back down to the trail head. This was something we didn't account for and it ended up a longer hike than expected and the trail back was super icy the 1st mile downhill. Use some shoe spikes!

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Jerome Aquino
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Hiking

nice

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Reed Sapanza
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HikingIcySnow

Breathtaking and definitely challenging trail! Started around 11a on 12/19, snow at the top of vernal falls leading up to a winter wonderland at nevada falls!! Definitely wear shoes with traction as there are some icy parts on the switchbacks. Highly recommend this trail as pictures don’t do the views justice!

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