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Vernal Falls is a 3.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Yosemite Valley, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and walking and is best used from May until November.

Length 3.5 mi Elevation gain 1,279 ft Route type Out & Back

Kid friendly

Hiking

Walking

Forest

Partially paved

River

Views

Waterfall

Description
Waypoints (6)

Note: Due to public health and safety concerns, descending the Mist Trail steps from the top of Vernal Fall is prohibited from 9 am to 4 pm. To return to the trailhead, continue hiking uphill to Clark Point (500 feet additional elevation gain), then down the John Muir Trail. The trail from the top of Vernal Fall to Clark Point is a steep uphill climb and has no shade. For more information, please check here: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/vernalnevadatrail.htm Yosemite National Park is open to those with reservations beginning on Thursday, June 11. See the park website for more info: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/covid19.htm

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (1848)
Photos (3822)
Recordings (1522)
Completed (7006)
Valerie Dynda
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 26, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful hike and a total butt kicker with the elevation gain right from the start. You can still feel some mist from the falls, even in late July! Yes, this is a way loop trail until 4 pm. A little crowded and only about 1/2 of people were wearing masks, but most were considerate with giving people space. I originally planned to do the loop but a ranger told me it adds about 1.8 miles, and I wanted to save time/energy for other stops on my day pass trip, so I started at 2 pm, waited at the top, and did out-and-back. If you do the last bit to the very top of the falls, be sure to check out the emerald pool! You are NOT supposed to swim here (people did anyways), but the water is soo cold and just to dip your feet or splash your face after the ascent feels so amazing!

Ann Plotkin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 21, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful trail! Views don’t disappoint. One thing to note is that because of COVID19, a portion of the trail at the end is now one way so if you go to the top, you can’t go down Mist Trail. You will have to go up to Clark point, which is an additional 500ft climb over 0.6 miles with very little shade. Amazing view of the waterfall from here. You then go down John Muir trail until it meets Mist Trail. We are experienced hikers and found the hike quite challenging, especially in 90 degree heat. Totally worth it but the last climb was a little rough. Bring lots of water!

Brad Utterback
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 17, 2020
Hiking

Totally epic waterfall! Fairly decent hike back with some good elevation. Very heavily traveled. Will definitely do this one again someday.

View Brad's Recording
Mathew Fiegleman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 15, 2020
Hiking

Did the full loop. Great hike here

Felipe Da Silva
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 14, 2020
No shade
Nicole Orringer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 14, 2020
Hiking

Nice paved trail and then rock stairs to the top of the waterfall. Beautiful views from the top and bottom! Up hill the entire way up so even though it’s rated moderate it would be very hard if you are out of shape. We enjoyed it!

Nate W
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 12, 2020
Hiking

Hiked in July 2020. Very disappointing due to little mask wearing despite growing COVID case counts - maybe 20% of people had masks. Most of the trail is quite narrow, making social distancing impossible. The waterfall itself was fine, but not worth the steep uphill climb combined with out-of-state visitors huffing and puffing while not wearing masks.

Corey F
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 11, 2020
Hiking

This is not for Vernal...but for Sierra Point

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Denise Osborne
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 10, 2020
Hiking

Moderate climb. Amazing nature. Gorgeous views and incredible waterfall. This is an absolute must when visiting Yosemite!

David Mormann
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 5, 2020
Hiking

stone stairs at top are not consistent shape or rise/run, in case you have issues with stairs just fyi, beautiful falls at the top

View David's Recording
Kelly Dewar
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 4, 2020
Hiking

If you’re a beginner hiker or not in shape, *beware*. My very much in-shape friend convinced me to hike this trail, saying it wasn’t too hard and had beautiful views. Only the latter was correct. Don’t attempt this hike if you can’t do a solid hour on a stair climber or you have killer will power. From the beginning it’s all an uphill, steep climb. Once you pass the bridge, that climb becomes steep and slippery stairs. You’ll have plenty time to look at the beautiful views though, when you’re stopping to rest every 5 minutes. Also, because of covid, the Mist Trail is only one way, so if you stop after reaching Vernal Falls and think you’re done climbing, you’re wrong. You have to go up about another 1,000 feet on the John Muir trail to Clark Point. Then it becomes a steep and slippery downgrade back to the beginning. Good luck!

jay page
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 3, 2020
HikingClosedOff trail

You must know you can not do the vernal falls 3.5 mile hike as listed here between 9a-4p due to one way Covid trail restrictions in those hours. Therefore you are forced to climb up to Clark point and down the Muir trail. That is 6.5 miles, with a recorded 1900 feet vertical up (and down) per AllTrails recording today. If you don’t have good tread hikers, don’t go; too slippery.

lizbeth flores
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 29, 2020
Hiking

Where is there parking available? Is there a shuttle that takes you?

Michelle Shawnego
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 29, 2020
Hiking

Did not disappoint. Absolutely a must trail when visiting Yosemite. It’s a little challenging for beginners but definitely worth the push - the waterfall is breathtaking! Highly recommended.

View Michelle's Recording
Kara Noland
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 28, 2020
Hiking

Absolutely stunning! A must if you go to Yosemite! The falls were breathtaking and refreshing. We saw a double rainbow! Hiking shoes or gym shoes with great traction are a MUST because it is very slippery. I wore crappy gym shoes and Slid quite a bit- with lots of people and the heights, the slippery rocks can be dangerous.

Maddy Duncan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 24, 2020
Hiking

Such a fun trail with beautiful views! Was a bit hard, but definitely worth it for the view and waterfall. Due to COVID, it is a one-way trail, so you go back down on the John Muir Trail! There enough signs so it is easy to follow. Definitely recommend this hike if you’re going on o Yosemite!!

Aaron Madden
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 23, 2020
Hiking

Awesome trail. We started around 5 pm and made it up to the top as the sun had started to set. I highly recommend it for that time. The rays created a double rainbow in the mist and made the views from the top of the falls epic. As a bonus, there were very few other people at the top! Just don’t stay too long if you don’t want to hike back in the dark. The steps can be a little daunting, but take breaks and you will be ok. Enjoy the views!

Trevor Se'e
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 19, 2020
Hiking

Amazing views and a great trail to hike if you’re in Yosemite. Very narrow when ascending to the top of the falls got into a little bit of a cluster f*ck with some patience I just took a long break to let the big groups go by. Bring lots of water or a filter to fill up at the top of the falls definitely a must do but very tough on the legs!

sammy kilgore
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 16, 2020
Hiking

vernal falls is amazing bring water and a walking stick will def help u out. great views bring a picnic up and a camera. Yosemite is amazing and has great hikes and views to offer

Rodrigo Navarro
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 15, 2020
Hiking

Amazing! First time in Yosemite and I wish I could stay one more day. Hope I can come back for more fun

Nathanael Groff
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 14, 2020
Hiking

Glenn to Nevada, Dad, Sierra, & Shane to Silver Apron Bridge. Hiked part of the way with Eva and family

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Bee Birdie
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 7, 2020
HikingRocky

Trail is scenic and beautiful as is Yosemite. Very heavy traffic during open season. The earlier in the day the better. Rocks can be slippery when wet, so wear all terrain shoes. Don’t get in the water.

J C
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 7, 2020
Hiking

Late review (from fall 2018). Enjoyed the trail up to the falls. Spectacular views along the way.

Emily H.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 3, 2020
Hiking

Great and beautiful hike!! :)

Chad Hoover
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 18, 2020

Great Hike, nice views, and kid friendly. Not too hard, takes a couple of hours to complete.

Hannah Wirth
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 16, 2020
HikingMuddyRocky

Lovely hike, insane workout, beautiful falls!

Josh Gigante
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 15, 2020
Hiking

Great stair workout and misty waterfall

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Mike Richter
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 13, 2020
Hiking

incredible. Nuff said.

View Mike's Recording
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