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 11.6 kilometer heavily trafficked loop trail located near Fish Camp, 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.

Length11.6 kmElevation gain676 mRoute typeLoop
HikingForestPartially pavedRiverViewsWaterfallWildflowersWildlifeRockyFeeNo dogs
Description
Waypoints (6)
Facilities
Contact
Tips
Getting There

Yosemite National Park charges a fee to enter. Fees are per vehicle or per motorcycle. If you are entering on foot, horse, or bike the fee is per person. You can also purchase a park-specific annual pass. Yosemite is open with some services limited due to COVID-19. Reservations are required to drive into Yosemite. Some services and facilities are limited, and shuttles are not operating. See the park website for more info: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/covid19.htm SEASONAL CLOSURE: 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. For more information, please visit https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/vernalnevadawinter.htm Hike to two breathtaking waterfalls along some of 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 traveled in Yosemite National Park. You will hike so close to these two massive waterfalls that you may get wet from the trail. 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 Happy Isles shuttle stop #16, and within walking distance of Curry Village and the parking lot). The park recommends starting early to avoid the larger crowds. After a brief stroll along the river, you climb a pretty steep initial accent over stone steps until you reach the footbridge, which offers the first glimpse of Vernal Falls in the distance. You will also find a water fountain and restrooms. You will then continue up to Vernal Falls, past Emerald Pool, and alongside Nevada Falls until you reach the high-point of this hike. You can choose to take the alternate route down along the John Muir Trail to see great views of Nevada Falls and Liberty Cap in the distance before meeting back up with the Mist Trail near the footbridge. This 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

Weather
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Reviews (3,146)
Photos (9,704)
Recordings (1,744)
Completed (15,219)
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Heath Quiel
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HikingGreat!RockyScramble

Went 4/9/21 - started at 7am to beat the crowds. A couple hours later masses of people started showing up so i spent 5 hours resting at the top on the merced river shore, lots of boulders in the shade to lay on, great place to take a nap/ have lunch. Also please pack your trash and don't feed the wildlife

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Nicole I
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Hiking

The hike was great but it was SO busy—especially during COVID. Highly recommend going up the back way instead of the stairs and then coming down the falls after. Beautiful views though. A good workout, quite a climb.

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Romon Thach
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Hiking

Hiked back in October, One of the best waterfalls I’ve seen

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Jeremy Shepard
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Hiking

Great hike! Beautiful views throughout the hike. Both waterfalls are a gorgeous destination. To make it to Nevada falls ( the higher one), it would be on the high level of medium strenuous level. Take plenty of water and a bite to eat. Top of Nevada is a superb spot for lunch while resting for the trek down.

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Gabriel Waddell
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HikingGreat!
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Tyler Pope
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Hiking

Amazing trail amazing views must do if you are physically able. The stairs are no joke come with lots of water and snacks. Only thing that could’ve made the day better was less people...but it’s Yosemite in spring so 5:5

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Amy Bowman
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HikingClosedGreat!Snow

Great hike!!! Definitely a stair master! Part of the John Muir trail was closed after we got to Nevada falls, so we had to go down and walk to Clark point and then down and there was a little snow there.

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Lakshmi Raghu
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Hiking

It is my favorite trail in Yosemite!! Totally love going up to Nevada falls and spending time there before heading back down. The trail was crowded more than usual over the past weekend though. So plan for that. Some people were without masks.

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Timothy Quan
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Hiking

This trail is hard difficulty. The climb to Vernal Falls is much more dangerous because you have to go up wet steps with lots of people and going through mist. Once you get to the top, you'll be rewarded with a wide area near the Emerald pool with restroom and great views + area to rest. If you are up to the challenge, go up stream a long the trail to Nevada Falls. There's more stairs and switchbacks to the top. Less people go on this trail because its pretty difficult. Once you reach the top, you'll be rewarded with a wide view with awesome scenery. You can get pretty close to the top of the falls. I reccomend hiking poles for Nevada Falls. It helps with the climb up and down. 

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Veronica Hatfield
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HikingGreat!

Hiked Vernal Falls on Monday April 5th, 2021 It was a Beautiful Day and a bit difficult, but worth the view when we reached the top! So push yourself you can do it and you'll be so happy

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Loren Burfiend
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Hiking

Amazing trail overall. Very steep and slippery in some parts w/ slick rock. Great views vernal falls and up. Not so fun to do when packed with spring break kiddos, if you’re not in the same boat. Go by 8am if you don’t want congestion on your way back down.

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Armen Kazaryan
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Hiking

Great hike, would recommend it!

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Rui Fena
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Hiking

Awesome trail but the returning loop was closed

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Zeena Benjamin
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Hiking

Just did this trail today , a Monday of spring break. Was crowded until Vernal Falls and then crowd thinned out. Lot of folks weren’t wearing masks which is okay generally during hiking but here it was crowded with people close by sometimes. Didn’t need crampons , snow on the side. Some melting water running on the trail at the top near Nevada Falls. Beautiful views everywhere! Next stop hopefully Half dome

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Anthony Camaya
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Walking

Amazing scenery, moderate/hard trail up to Vernal Falls. Great experience with the family.

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A Dollinger
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HikingGreat!

beautiful! very busy in the beginning, less people at the top. the trail on the way back is closed because of "rockfall" danger so currently it is an out and back trail, but still worth the hike!

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Nathan Villalobos Rangel
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Nature tripsGreat!IcyMuddySnow

Early bird gets the worm. Went in early around 8am not crowded at all. Got to the top of vernal falls around 10am. Stayed up there until noon. On the way back it was crowded. Traffic jams everywhere. Overall would recommend this trail. Great views all around. Don’t forget to wear a rain jacket.

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Piyush Bakane
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HikingGreat!

We took winter route till Clark point, after Clark point we went downhill to Vernal fall then continued to Nevada Fall.

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Jeff Steiner
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Hiking

Great hike. Winter route partially in effect. Mist Trail was open along Vernal Falls, but couldn’t make the loop after Nevada Falls because Muir Trail section was closed. (4/2/21)

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Caitlin O'Halloran
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Hiking

This trail was crowded in April, so I can’t imagine it in the summer. Beautiful waterfalls, stunning views. I don’t recommend taking small children on this hike. Those we ran into had difficulty on this hike.

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Sam Weiser
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Hiking

The stairs were a bit slippery, but totally worth it!

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Reejay Lorenzo
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Hiking

Started at 11am. Didn’t need crampons. We brought it just in case. Very steep climb. Poles not necessary but recommended to save your knees. Worth every burn for the view

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Natalie Murray
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HikingRocky

We went to the top of Nevada falls and it was gorgeous! Definitely start early or there will be crowds. It was a lot of uphill climbing but most of the steps were carved out for you. Not super hard compared to others that are more rugged. The John Muir trail was closed so you had to go back the way that you came which was a lot of steps, some slippery.

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