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The Mist Trail - Vernal and Nevada Falls

Hike to two breath-taking waterfalls along Yosemite Valley's most popular hiking trails
id_71031
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 6.5 miles
Duration: Half day

Overview :  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... more »

Tips:  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... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Happy Isles Trailhead

Start your hike at Happy Isles Trailhead (YARTS stop #16), and walk along the Merced River for a while before hiking a fairly steep section leading up to the footbridge. On your right, you may be able to see some water from Illilouete Fall if it is still early in the season. After about 0.8 miles you will arrive at the footbridge where you will... More

2. Footbridge

After about a 0.8 miles you will walk across the Merced River on a wooden bridge, with views of Vernal Fall in the distance. There is a restroom and water fountains here, and it's a good place to take quick rest as it gets quite steep after this point.

After hiking about 1.5 miles from the start you will arrive at the magnificent Vernal Fall. You likely will have learned why the trail is called "The Mist Trail" on your way up. The rock stairs can be a bit slippery when wet, so be careful. From the top you can take a water break and creep to the edge (don't worry, there are rails) to... More

4. Emerald Pool

Emerald Pool sits at the top of Vernal Fall, and at the end of the Silver Apron, a granite "slide" leading coming from Nevada Falls. While it may look fun to slide down, restrain yourself, and the current underwater is much stronger than it looks, and swimmers have been swept off the edge of the Fall. But that doesn't mean you can't... More

5. Nevada Fall

Another 2 miles after Vernal Fall (and up some pretty steep, rock switchbacks) you will make it to the top of Nevada Fall. The best spot for photographs is about half way up the waterfall, and should be fairly obvious.

Once you reach the fork at the top of the climb, turn right for a short trip to the top of Nevada Fall. If you are continuing ... More

6. The John Muir Trail (alternate route)

Many hikers prefer to take the John Muir Trail on the way back because it offers fresh scenery, further views of Liberty Cap and Nevada Fall, and mostly because it is not nearly as steep as the Mist Trail, and much easier on the knees (although it is slightly longer).

It is 2.5 miles back to Happy Isles back along the Mist Trail, or about 4 via ... More

7. Refreshments

Before getting back on the YARTS shuttle head over to the refreshment stand and reward yourself for your hard work. If you want a little more variety to choose from, visit Curry Village for lunch or an afternoon snack.