Explore the most popular birding trails near Yosemite Village with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Wow. You see so much. So beautiful. Go an hour after sunrise to see all the waterfall rainbows. Couldn’t have loved this hike more. Views won’t quit.

This is an awesome hike, but be ready for a real butt kicker - it is steep, hard, and longer than you’d expect. The hike starts with over a mile of rocky switchbacks that brings you eventually to a clearing where you can see half dome and the entire valley, before the trail drops back down towards Yosemite falls. Try to at least get to this point for the vista if your stamina is starting to waver (we saw many people turnaround before reaching this point)! But do keep in mind that the trail is far from over when you get to this clearing, you’re about 1/3 of the way there. After this point, you’ll start descending down towards the falls for 3/4 a mile which will be the only downhill “break” before more steep uphill switchbacks. You’ll get up close and personal with the stunning Yosemite falls (be ready to get a little wet from the mist) as you start uphill again, first through trees then opened up to views of the valley with half dome and clouds rest in the backdrop, before wrapping up behind the backside of Yosemite falls. It will only be uphill and steep until the end.

Bring plenty of water, snacks and mental patience. It’s a heavily trafficked trail (start at the Yosemite Falls trailhead, which is half a mile down the road from Lower Yosemite Falls trail) and tough (you will get very hot), but worth it in the end. You will feel accomplished and the view from the top is magnificent. To beat the traffic and potential heat, start the hike before 830/9. We started at 10am, along with most of the hiking population.

Most reviews say the trail out and back will take 6-8 hours. We are fairly fit (work out 2-3x a week), in our late 20s, and powered up to the top in 2 hrs 45 minutes taking a few short breaks for photos. The trek back down took about 1.5 hrs but is hard on the knees. We totaled 4.5 hrs including lunch at the top, but that easily could have been a 6hr round trip.

Did this on Wednesday last week, Awesome hike!

Great hike it about 3.6 to the over look straight up. We were lucky enough to leave early before the rain and the traffic coming up!!!

Easy Hike for Experienced Men

I will come back to write a full on review! It was superb. This is the one trail to do

Amazing trail with amazing views, the John Muir is longer and it doesn’t have as many switch backs and is not as steep as going up via Mist trail. I’d have to say if you go up to Nevada falls take John Muir down lots of great views and not as hard on the knees/legs.

I will come back to write a full on review! It was superb. This is the one trail to do

In late spring, you will definitely get wet from the vernal fall spray on the mist trail. We didn’t feel much mist on the next ascent to Nevada falls. I would agree with the moderate rating but we struggled a bit on the approach to Nevada falls- a series of steep switchbacks. Once we got to the top, it was worth it. We opted to take the John Muir trail down which was slightly longer but we didn’t have to descend the wet stairs on the mist trail. All in all, really neat.

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Stunning views all the way to the top! Save your knees and take in different views and perspectives by taking the John Muir trail down! Truly breathtaking! Note: we saw lots of bear poop on the way down but zero bears:/

Yesterday my wife and I finally started this trail at 6 am. After watching YouTube for 10 months and a few months of hiking in around Brisbane Australia to prepare, we soon found out how under prepared training wise we were . We took advice from others on the day to take it steady and at our pace. The peace and quiet and scenery was amazing with a fog covering the valley floor on a chilly clear morning. . The only disappointment was we didn’t make the top. Even with this disappointment we knew the hike down would be as tough as going up. If you do decide to climb this beautiful place don’t underestimate how hard this hike is.

Beautiful views. The trail work is amazing! Hats off to the trail crews.

Outstanding hike, be prepared to climb and get wet. The steps to Vernal falls on the Mist trail will leave you drenched from the water fall mist. The views are fantastic.

Be prepared to climb and climb some more, but you will be rewarded with an awesome view. Make sure you go to the observation point to look straight down the falls. Make sure to wear hiking shoes, you will be sliding back down to the valley if you don’t. There are allot of steps and loose rocks and sand to slip on as you descend. Bring water on sunny days or a filter to get water at the streams along the climb. Rain will only make it more slick so be prepared.
Amazing and difficult hike, highly recommend! Will get your heart pumping for sure!

Only did the Mist Trail. Didn’t go all the way to Vernal Falls. It was difficult. Uphill the whole way. Spectacular views of the waterfall. I highly recommend!

It’s more like 7 miles round trip..
I would recommend going up early to avoid the people traffic. Please have hiking shoes or boots, running shoes are no problem going up, the problem is coming back down and stepping on slick rocks.

I thought it was very hard but totally worth it. I was with 20 somethings and they had to wait for me a lot but since it was Mother’s Day they were very kind. I loved the challenge and felt very accomplished when we were done. Beautiful waterfalls but very crowded.

Awesome and amazing hike with gorgeous view all the way to the top! WARNING this is a difficult hike with trail consisting of mostly stones and rocks "A cement stair master"

Quintessential Yosemite trail!
Very enjoyable despite the heavy traffic.
Early to mid May (on a weekday) best for more impressive waterfalls with Spring thaw and lesser throngs of other hikers.

leave the bay area around 3 a.m. Roll into Yosemite about 6 or 6:30. In Hit Yosemite Falls Trail. And then have all day afterwards.

Definitely hit the trail early, as others have said it gets really crowded. A hundred feet from the trailhead a bobcat walked right by me. The trail and views are phenomenal, especially the rainbows from Vernal Falls. As you ascend up Vernal the steps get pretty crazy, but the view from the top is so worth it. I continued on up to the top of Nevada Falls. Let me tell you, it’s no joke! Quite a work out, but when you get to the top of Nevada Falls you forget all the pain of going up. I opted to descend the John Muir Trail to skip the steps I hiked up. Ended up being about 9.5 miles (from trailhead parking), 2500’ elevation gain, and a little over 5 hours for me... that includes several breaks! Watch your step, take plenty of water, and know your limits and you’ll be fine.

Way better than the out-and-back trails. Take the easy to miss Roosevelt trail along the south rim cliffside from Sentinel Falls and Roosevelt Point to near Sentinel Dome.

Get their by 7 if you don't want to be overwhelmed by the crowds. You don't get soaked though. You get misted, moistened, sprayed, or damp but unless you fall in the river you're not getting soaked. I dried off in 15 min of sitting in the sun. The stairs are huge so take John Muir if you're short or have problems with stairs.

One of the most popular trails at Yosemite and an awesome one. Was my girlfriends first big hike. Plenty of people on Vernal falls mist trail but fun getting wet and enjoying the scenery. You get a break between the two trails as it is more flat, then a sharp ascent to the top of Nevada Falls. Took us a 8 hours to do Vernal and Nevada up with John Muir trail down. This was an easy pace with stopping for lunch for 45 min at Vernal Falls. As we were coming back around 7 pm, we saw a bear about 5 minutes from the base of the trail. My first time! Although looking back the bear seemed more afraid of me than me from him. I made myself Big and yelled. He went away. But was very cute looking back. Highly recommend this great trail!

On the top of the fall there’re several lovely rocks that looks like penguins on the edge of the cliffs next to the fall. Magnificent view of the valley and the snow mountains far away.
So many places you can take postcard style and Instagramable photos. My personal favorite is the flat rock on the edge of the cliffs on the top of the fall overlooking the valley.
There’s a small bridge across the river to Yosemite point but if don’t have the time to go to Yosemite point definitely check out the bridge, it’s very close to the top of the fall.

Great walk with some excellent views. The only problem is that the loop between sentinel dome and Taft point was covered in debris and had a slightly iffy river crossing in the middle.

We did the hike last march. It was amazing to hike up to the top. Because it was still spring, there was still ice on the trail and the trail was slippery. A lot of people had to stop and went back down. We decided to come forward to the top and it was the best decision because the view is super beautiful. Just be careful of the water and slippery trails!

The views from this trail are incredible! On a sunny day, the light reflects off Vernal Falls and creates breathtaking rainbows over the waterfall. Be prepared to get WET though, and the trail itself is steep and slippery- definitely a 7 out of 10 difficulty wise. We did not go all the way to Nevada falls, but took a “shortcut” following the John Muir trail to get back to the trailhead to avoid descending the slippery steps. If I were to do it again though, just brave it and go down the wet steps, as the John Muir way takes about 2 miles longer to get down.

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