EveryTrail is now a part of AllTrails! Please click here to read more.

Vernal and Nevada Falls via the Mist Trail

MODERATE 800 reviews
#1 of 155 trails in

Vernal and Nevada Falls via the Mist Trail is a 6.7 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Curry 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
6.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2437 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

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.

13 hours ago

hiking
15 hours ago

hiking
2 days ago

hiking
3 days ago

hiking
3 days ago

hiking
4 days ago

My husband and I hiked to Nevada Falls last week; 21 years to the month that we did Half Dome (on a whim, no permit required).

The hike to Vernal Falls via the Mist Trail wasn't too bad. The falls are raging now due to the amount of snow in the Sierras this winter, so expect to get wet. There were a lot of people, but not so many that I felt bad if I stopped to take a photo or rest.

The hike from Vernal to Nevada was fine, until we got to the "stairs"! If you're afraid of heights, take the Muir trail to Nevada and back to Vernal. I'm in my 50's, bad knees but in decent shape, and it was a bit of a challenge. It was worth it once we were there. We hung out at the top for at least an hour and took the Muir trail back. It's bit longer in distance, but totally worth it to avoid the stairs.

The best advice I could give would be to invest in some type of hiking shoe/boot. I found a pair at an outdoor shop that were left over from last season and they were marked down. Best $50 I've spent in a while!

Take time to enjoy each stop along the way. It truly is a beautiful place!

hiking
4 days ago

hiking
4 days ago

hiking
4 days ago

hiking
5 days ago

Wonderful trail. A couple of quick hitters:

1. You'll likely be among a lot of fellow hikers but it's not really an issue if you come in ready to exude even the tiniest level of patience. We were able to move at our own pace for the majority of the path upward with the lone exception coming on the stair portion up to Vernal. At that point it was a little slow going as we waited for those in front of us to reach the top but it mostly just gave us more time to admire the view. No complaints here.

2. You'll probably get at least a little wet. The Mist Trail earned its name for a reason. Nothing to really worry about, but perhaps something to know going in. The mist will also moisten the stairs which again isn't really an issue as long as you showcase a modicum of concentration.

3. It might be a little tougher than you'd planned. If you're a hiking vet you'll likely be unphased but it should still provide a solid workout. For those less accustomed to hiking, you'll have to work a little to get to Vernal and more so to hit Nevada.

4. These waterfalls and streams have killed people in recent years. The good news: as long as you follow warnings and safety protocol, you'll have nothing to worry about. You'd sort of have to seek out a dangerous situation in order to get yourself in trouble here. During our hike, a group of five or so potentially inebriated hikers dived into the water above Vernal Falls and nearly lost one of their buddies at the base of the sliding fall resting just beyond (they had to form a human chain to pull him back above the surface).

5. Yosemite is beautiful. This hike is beautiful. Do this hike. There's a very good chance you won't regret it.

hiking
5 days ago

I absolutely adored this hike! It may be difficult for those who are not very experienced with hiking (it was my friend's first hike and it was difficult). The views were spectacular. Truly left me at a loss for words.
The mist mentioned in the description of the trail will soak you. Be prepared!

hiking
5 days ago

The beauty of the area is diminished by the crowds of kooks cutting the trail, throwing orange peels and apple cores on the ground, and feeding the squirrels.

Obviously not everyone behaves this way, but there is a lot of this stuff happening here.

hiking
5 days ago

Wow!!! This is a spectacular hike that is not overly difficult! I also thought it was a little more strenuous than expected but still so worth it! It's a super busy trail but as you continue on less and less people are on it. The footbridge is so crowded with people and the bottom of vernal also is, but I highly recommend going all the way to the top of Nevada falls! The hardest part was definitely the hike from the bottom to the top of Nevada because it's just hot rocky switchbacks but it's totally worth the view! The hike to the top of vernal is amazing, so many steps but your also completely hiking vertically up the mountain! I will say if you have a fear of heights this might not be for you, there's a lot of cliff edges with only a small railing to keep you from falling. Also as everyone else has said, with the water flowing so heavily right now you will get wet on the trail! It's so nice though especially because it's been so hot! If you do the full loop the trail on the way down is all shady switchbacks. I would also highly recommend doing the full loop (and starting on the mist trail, not the John Muir trail) because the John Muir trail on the way down would be much much safer. It's less steep, not wet and there's a lot less people. Attempting the maneuver around all the people trying to slowly go down the steps at vernal made it much more dangerous and congested! So if you can for yours and others safety do the full loop! Altogether, if you're spending several days in Yosemite this hike is a must!!

hiking
6 days ago

hiking
6 days ago

hiking
7 days ago

one of the best hikes i have ever been to and I've been to plenty. This was my first time hiking vernal falls and I didn't expect for it to be so difficult, but the ending result made it all worth it... i wouldn't mind hiking this trail at all again. when you get the the fall you get wet not to much but it does soaks you up a little although it feels good because it pretty hot. Also it gets really packed around noon so I recommend to go early around 8 so you won't be stuck in the crowd and so you can enjoy it more.

7 days ago

hiking
7 days ago

Hike to the top of Vernal Falls was steeper than expected.. There are lots of steps and it can get narrow. Just before the top you will most likely get very wet from the mist of the waterfall blowing into the rock you walk along.. but this was the most fun and beautiful part! Remember wet shoes don't last forever but the memories will!

7 days ago

Beautiful hike, although they get crowded in the afternoon and make coming down especially hard.

7 days ago

Beautiful hike, although they get crowded in the afternoon and make coming down especially hard.