Explore the most popular walking 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.

These two trails are awesome. Usually when I want to show someone Yosemite and bring them on a hike with me, I take them to these trails. Vernal falls is very amazing, especially in the late spring early summer. It has the most water late may! Taking the mist trail you get completely soaked. The first 1/2 mike of the trail is fairly easy, just lots of incline but on a paved path. The last part of it after the bridge is all stairs and water. So make sure you have boots that can track in water. Once you reach the top of vernal, you can relax on the pavement or choose to continue on to Nevada. Nevada is much harder to get to because it’s about 2-3 more miles of switchbacks. Bring lots of water for Nevada especially. These are 2 of my favorite trails in Yosemite!!!!

Start early in the morning (by 8am) to avoid crowds. We were there in mid-September and was not too crowded at that time, but was busy at the bottom when we were finishing up. Hard hike with a lot of vertical climb, but worth it for the views. Take the easier John Muir trail down for some added length and also for the views looking back at the falls you just climbed. Beautiful hike!

Great hike even if it’s dried up. Did it with my son on our father son getaway. We left at 7:15 and glad we did. It does get hot towards the top but there are a couple great water holes on top to get in. Slippery when coming down wear the right boots. Believe it or not we saw someone doing it bare foot. 3-4 bottles of water are good. We saw a mountain lion and bear so watch for them. It’s a GREAT hike. Enjoy

This is one of the most beautiful and epic hikes that I have ever completed. My daughter and I completed this hike on June 19, 2018. The waterfall was gorgeous and still flowing this time of year. This hike is definitely a challenge but is totally worth it. We didn’t have trekking poles and that was a mistake. Poles will definitely make the descent a little easier on the feet and knees. My Fitbit showed the round trip mileage for this trail at 12 miles.

beautiful hike

Absolutely my favorite day hike ever!!!! The stairs to Vernal Falls were intense. Although still a challenge the hike to Nevada Falls was a bit strenuous. The view at the top was breathtaking. We were also able to see some climbers on Half Dome. Heading down via the John Muir Trail was a great choice, peaceful. This is a must do hike!

Definitely start this one early and go to Sentinel Dome first. We added Glacier Point for an extra 2 miles. Taft point was really beautiful and there was a tight rope walker at the fissures!! Loved how on the top of Sentinel Dome there was a map pointing out the peaks you see.

Very fun, but crowded hike. Go early to ensure fewer crowds. Gets pretty uphill towards the end

Now my 2nd favorite hike in the nation. Sorry, it will be hard to beat the continental divide trail in northern Glacier NP. Due to the drought there were no falls flowing in the valley that we say. Vernal, Illouette and Nevada are flowing however. So let's get to the list.

Total of 7.4 miles in 5.5 hours. Tough trail is you are not in shape due to the elevation change in the short distance

1. Arrive early. We arrived at 7am at the public parking lot and it was already over 3/4 full.
2. The public parking is almost 1/2 mile to the trailhead
3. There is free shuttle service from all visitor centers so if the parking is full, just back up to another parking area, grab a shuttle and be dropped off at the trail head
4. the first mile is all asphalt and steep 10% +/- grade. Once you past the first bridge crossing the trail becomes more dirt and rock. However, the trail at one time was asphalt all the way up to Nevada Falls, That residual asphalt is smooth and slippery from sand so be sure your hiking shoes have good soles
5. Stairs to Vernal Falls. Who made those things/ The last 1/2 mile is practically all stairs and most are 12-18" high.
6.Vernal Falls is flowing. The pool above the falls is absolutely gorgeous but you cannot swim in it or slid a slick rock slide into it.
7. From Vernal to Nevada is mostly a rock path that has been laid down. I would not call it stairs but does have steps. Much easier
8. Nevada Falls is flowing as well.
9. You can swim the pool at the top of Nevada Falls.
10. We came down the John Muir Trail which involves nothing more than crossing the bridge above the falls and following the signs to the valley floor. It added about 1/2 mile but the trail was much easier, in the SHADE. but spots of old asphalt were slippery from sand
11. 2 separate bear encounters on the John Muir at less than 10 yards each. They were on the side of the trail eating acorns and could care less we were just yards from them.
12. Despite being the 2nd week of Sept, it was very busy coming down. People waited until late morning and it was a solid ant line of people coming up. However, most were visitors from other countries.

Enjoy

Epic views
Dried up falls in September
Slippery rocks so wear good hiking shoes/boots
Hiking/trekking pole highly recommended
No bathrooms
From camp 4 to overlook FitBit clocked in 6 miles (12 miles round trip)
Use bug spray!
This hike will make you the stairMASTER!
Worth every step.

Beautiful views! I definitely second everyone who said to start toward Sentinel Dome and walk the loop counterclockwise. Trailhead parking lot was full, but the area across from the service road was empty.

gorgeous hike. majority of the time it feels like you are climbing the stairs to Mordor. nice views of Nevada falls after Vernon falls on the way up. The view of half dome is great on the way down the John Muir trail. you can see liberty cap, half dome, and Nevada falls at the same time. walking 1 mile past nevada falls to towards half dome is relatively flat and has a nice view of half dome, backside of liberty cap, and follows the river and is a good way to add some distance/time to the hike.

in September the hike started at 47 degrees at 8am and it was 96 when we left the valley floor at 1:30. highly recommend doing it early as the trail was less populated in the fall on a Friday.

Fantastic hike! We started early in the morning, around 7:30am when the trail did not have too many people on it. The trail is fairly well maintained throughout and signage being fairly good. The two sets of stairs to the top of Vernal and Nevada falls can be difficult if you are not used to going up that number of stairs. Outside of the stairs the trail is not too steep. There are plenty of opportunities to take a break and enjoy the number of stunning reviews across the area. A word of warning, starting the hike later in the morning will leave you with the crowds, making it hard to navigate the stairs.

Be sure to take plenty of water with you (2-3L per person) and snacks. The hike is long (took us nearly 5 hours to complete with breaks).

The hike is also longer than 6.4 miles. The National park site has this hike (Mist trail/ John Muir trail) rated closer to 8 miles. My fitbit also tracked it at 8 miles as well. Long but absolutely stunning and worth every step.

The mist trail is one of my favorite trails ever! This trail is best when it is not too crowded (avoid weekends or holidays) as it becomes a lot like a theme park and you can't really enjoy the beauty of the hike when you are hiking in a single file line of hundreds of tourists and screaming children.

This trail is definitely tough as you climb stairs straight up Vernal Falls and climb the switchbacks up to Nevada Falls. It is totally worth it! The views are spectacular! If you go during or immediately after a heavy rainy season, bring waterproof gear because you will get drenched.

If you go during the warmer months when the John Muir Trail is open, take the JMT back down to get beautiful panoramic views of Half Dome and Nevada Falls. This section of the JMT is shady and the switchbacks can get a little slick with loose gravel and dirt. I recommend good hiking shoes and trekking poles.

This trail also has restrooms galore! There are restrooms with flushing toilets at the trailhead and at the Vernal Falls Footbridge. There are vault toilets at the top of Vernal Falls and at the top of Nevada Falls. You never really need to worry about needing to go.

Definitely bring lots of water. Our group brought about 3 liters each and had to filter and refill water at the top of Nevada Falls. There is a drinking water filling station at the base of Vernal Falls at the Footbridge (about 1 mile in from the trail head) and there are no other opportunities to fill up after that unless you bring your own filtration system.

Awesome hike! Must do if you’re looking for a hard, 4-6 hour trail. Do the loop. Stairs from hell, then a nice stroll down the Muir Trail. Bring plenty of water. At least 2 liters.

17 days ago

Spectacular views from the top - not much to see on the way up except enjoying the serene walk and the waterfall midway. The top views make the hike worth it. A must do hike to see the whole valley and get a top down view of half dome.

Did this trail on 09/03/2018. The weather was warm enough to wear you were able to wear a tank top and shorts without a jacket. The hike itself had a long part of incline at the beginning then a “stairway”. The views were amazing.

17 days ago

Absolutely worth every muscle ache and every screaming moment. The views are absolutely incredible and worth the time and energy investment.

Bring lots of water and food. A hiking stick will significantly help on the way down. I’m a moderate hiker and my butt ate dirt a few times.

Highly recommend doing Sentinel dome first! Or you'll have nearly 3 miles uphill from Taft Point to the top of Sentinel Dome.

Best done in late spring and early summer when river is fullest. Proper footwear and water is a must. The best views of Nevada Falls are just a short distance up the trail from Vernal Falls - worth the extra hiking

hiking
24 days ago

I’ve done this trail several times. Every time I think “I’m good, I never need to do that again” just because it’s brutal. But then time goes by and I forget the pain and remember the views and the payoff and I end up doing it again. It’s switchbacks in the sun, up, up, up. But then it’s like you’re in heaven looking down on one the most sweeping breathtaking views ever. There’s not really anywhere to filter water until you get to the top, so take plenty. Buckle down and go for it, it’s worth it.

very difficult!

Awesome hike!! Steep hike all the way up but view is totally worth it!! Definitely take the John Muir back for different views and bypass some of those steps!! Take lots of water and wear good shoes. Lots of rocks and slick surfaces. Sunscreen too. Toilets conveniently located on trails. Don’t miss this one!!

We only made it to the bridge, but it was well worth the climb. There are some very steep grades and a lot of beautiful scenery.

Extremely difficult for beginners but beautiful and breathtaking views of the Fall

The best hiking experiences ever! Took 5 hours total (2.5 to get to the top, .5 hours exploring the top and having a snack and 2 hours for the return). Included 10 minutes when trail was blocked to remove a falling boulder.

Nice but exausting

This trail has amazing views! We hiked all the way up to Nevada falls, it was a hard hike with A LOT of stairs. Once you get to venal falls, the crowd starts to disperse. Bring lots of water for this hike and sunscreen. This hike is on the hard side but the views from the top make it worth it!! Take the John Muir trail back, it adds a mile but you get to see another side of the waterfall by taking the John Muir trail back.

My best friend and I found this trail when we visited Yosemite a few summers ago. This was a bit difficult as it was ALL uphill so go prepared with water and light snacks! Once you hike about 30 min, you will come up to a break area with water fountains for drinks/bathrooms, etc.
Then after, there are some stone steps which are very steep and possibly slippery due to the mist waterfall. Those will take you all the way up to the top of the waterfall, as well as a cold swimming hole to swim in after the hike! There is an area where you can slide down the smooth rock into the water. We just jumped in and swam to the other side of the hole. We went in late June so it was amazing to jump into and then lay on the hot rock on the other end. No towel needed since we dried off pretty quick! I know the hike continued on but we stopped there, turned around and made our way back down to the bottom. That was the easy part since it was all downhill,especially after the cool down in the swimming hole.

I’d do this hike again but I’d be more prepared next time physically! If you aren’t in shape physically, this will be a tough hike for you! You probably won’t make it to the top if you bring young children due to the steepness towards the top. Can be a bit dangerous. If they are older and mature enough to handle the hike, it would be worth it as they would enjoy the swimming hole! Makes for a great reward! The trail was pretty populated, but it will thin out towards the top due to the length & difficulty of the hike. Very beautiful scenery during the entire hike! Bring a camera! Afterwards, we couldn’t believe we’d only hiked 1.5 miles up to the top! Felt much longer!

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