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Vernal and Nevada Falls via the Mist Trail

HARD 2104 reviews
#1 of 244 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.

hiking
2 hours ago

Steep climb on uneven steps and boulders once you get past the first view of Vernal Falls. Was a popular trail with lots of people hiking it. Decided to take the John Muir trail down from Nevada Falls. A much easier hike. The view is worth the effort!

hiking
20 hours ago

Incredible views and well-worth the tough hike up. Very crowded trails, even in mid-October. Next time, depending on the time of year, would recommend taking John Muir trail up and down to Nevada Falls (skipping Vernal Falls) to avoid some of the heaviest crowds.

hiking
1 day ago

Very busy, even during the fall months. Steep incline made a little more challenging by frequent stops to let others pass coming down. You’ll be tired, but HIGHLY recommend making it past the Silver Bridge and continuing up to Nevada falls. Once at the top and have taken in the sights, go all the way across the opposite side from the bathrooms and take the John Muir Trail down! Beautiful change of scenery and much less trafficked.

hiking
2 days ago

Was not sure I wanted to do this trail with it being labeled as hard, but it was so worth the all uphill and stairs. Came down the John Muir trail and enjoyed it too. would recommend doing it that way as the feeling of accomplishment doing the stairs is powerful. Go early is the way to go. We left at 8:30 and so glad we did, 3 hours later the trail was packed.

Start time: 8:30am A progressive beginning good for warm up leading into the steps taking you to Heavens bliss, Vernal Falls first and then Nevada. The steps to Vernal are clearly defined but show signs of difficulty but the path becomes a bit more rocky to reach the peak. Worth every step but take your time and look up. I completed the full loop, a total of 8 miles. Finish time: 12:15pm

Amazing trail. Much easier if you go right at the loop instead of left. We ran into a ton of people nearly dying from the steps while we were doing great!

hiking
7 days ago

Lots of freakin steps, but well worth the climb.

hiking
7 days ago

My favorite waterfall trail in Yosemite! A MUST! Just an FYI: I didn’t realize this trail was the first half of Cloud’s Rest which I planned on doing the following day. I didn’t want to repeat the same trail, so didn’t end up doing Cloud’s Rest.

hiking
8 days ago

We hiked up to Nevada Falls via Mist Trail ! Beautiful hike with some great views. The way up is very steep and has a lot of stairs. We clocked over 7 miles, just saying.

hiking
8 days ago

Hiked Vernal Falls-Nevada Falls-John Muir Trail loop via Mist trail with my son (9 yrs) and wife in Columbus Day weekend. Extremely popular trail so be prepared to share the trail with a lot of people hiking, selfies, photos ops, etc. We carried plenty of water/Gatorade, fruits and snacks to keep us going and managed to complete the entire loop. Make sure you have good shoes with proper fit. My wife got a bruised black toe after long descent in John Muir Trail. The restroom at the beginning of the trail is not working, other than that the trail is very well maintained with magnificent view along the way.

hiking
8 days ago

5 star because I survived! Views were spectacular! Although I believe I lost a lung somewhere on the climb up. Definite challenge but sense of accomplishment was worth everything. Roger S.

Amazing trail. Nice weather for us. We came up through Mist trail, then made a loop down by using John Muir trail (this trail for horses passing so there is a lot of horse’s wastes, but it’s easier on our knees). Loved it.

Started hiking at 8am. Much less people than when we came back at 2pm!! Very chilly up there. Trail very well maintained. Terrific views.

hiking
10 days ago

Gorgeous hike. We took the John Muir Trail to the top and then returned via Mist Trail. The waterfalls are really amazing even in October when there's less water flowing. Bring water since it's a really long trail. There is a drinking fountain at the start of the trail after the first bridge.

Beautiful hike with steep steps as you approach the top of Vernal Fall. Only did it up to Vernal Fall and turned back due to time constraint.

Sneakers or hiking sandals (recommended minimal footwear). 2 liters water plus another on return. Take a bed if you want, but it is an easy half-day trip. Much of the trail is paved; includes stairs. Strenuous elevation changes. I Love this trail. This is the fourth time on at least some portion of it in the past 2 years. Spring and Early Summer you will get SOAKED. Autumn the water flow is much less but the scenery is still beautiful and the squirrels are so friendly.

hiking
rocky
12 days ago

I’ve done this hike up to Nevada Falls (but sadly never to the top of Half Dome) 5 times and its beauty takes my breath away each time. Must be in decent shape to do this! Will take approximately 5 hours or so, if you eat lunch on top.

hiking
13 days ago

Classic hike. A must on anyone's trip to Yosemite. Start by 6-7am, and have Nevada Falls to yourself!

hiking
13 days ago

Been doing this every year since I was a kid, now in my 60's. We did a beginner backpack to little Yosemite valley in the 1970's. Took an exchange student from Thailand. Myself (Navy) and 2 Marines. This guy from Thailand brought dried squid......cooked it over an open fire. Boy did we have Bears that night ! We couldn't get the exchange student out of the tent.....LOL! One of the Marines had a medical issue so he hiked down to the valley floor to get his Meds, then back at night. He pretty much jogged it, but things were going bump in the night. He was pretty scared when he got back. Lots of Granite, plenty of water if you filter it. Usually someone will get killed going over the falls every year or so, don't be stupid. One year a guy rode the chute (Slide) down into the Emerald pool. Shattered his ankle on the rock at the bottom. He had to sit there for many hours waiting for a Mule to get him out.

hiking
scramble
13 days ago

Quite easy! Nice chilling spot at the top of Nevada falls

This is a difficult difficult trail. My feet are killing me but the views were incredible. Definitely do it with friends who will keep you going!

Asphalt partially, rock steps that are nice. Some very narrow areas that have handrails. Beautiful views!!! Perfect weather today!

hiking
14 days ago

Great quick hike to Vernal Falls (did not continue to Nevada Falls). Took the kids (ages 9 & 10), they had no issues making the hike. Went fairly early in the morning and did not experience too much of a crowd.

hiking
17 days ago

Great trail! Definitely strenuous due to the steep steps you have to take on the way up, really gets your heart pumping but worth it! We are young, quick hikers; we finished the trail (from the trailhead parking and back) in a little more than four hours. We took 4 breaks in total.

hiking
17 days ago

First half of the hike to Vernal falls was packed. Second part a bit better. Beautiful falls worth the hike if you're not a misanthropic person. Hard to eat something at the top of Nevada falls because of the wasps. Walk a bit further (with a lesser good view) if you wanna have a lunch in peace.

hiking
19 days ago

A true classic! Not easy but worth it ....one of the better hikes in Yosemite! A must ....

hiking
rocky
19 days ago

Great hike! Great views! Been up and down this hike a few times!

hiking
19 days ago

Nice trail, beautiful views. But almost all paths are manmade. Kind of a shame that so many natural elements have been sculped into easy going and accesable paths. Very busy with loads of instagram-posers at the first stages of the trail.

hiking
20 days ago

great trail. we got to parking lot around 7am on Sat 9/28/19. already about 70 percent full. I think many of those cars were left overnight. didn't see too many people on the way up. once you get to Vernal falls the views become some of the best. plenty of steps and a few steep spots. we came down Muir trail. that is almost a must. some of the steps are narrow and there will be tons of people heading up. once we got back to the Muir mist junction it was.pretty crazy with folds heading up.

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