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Mist Trail, Vernal & Nevada Falls CA

• 5-star hike
• 2.5 to 4.7 mile options
• Medium difficulty | Gain 1,040 to 2,021 ft | Peak 5,980 feet
• Yosemite | Yosemite Valley, CA
Driving directions

Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls are two of the most spectacular waterfalls in Yosemite Valley, but you won’t get to see them from the valley floor. This hike along the extremely popular John Muir trail and then Mist Trail will take you to either or both of the falls as you hike up the Merced River.

This hiking route follows the canyon cut out by the fast flowing river, past the towering Grizzly Peak and up many stone steps carved out of the rock by trailmakers of the past. The views of Vernal Falls get better and better, until you’re finally climbing up sheer rock trails – thankfully protected by handrails – before reaching the top of the falls and the Emerald Pool.

Here you can catch your breath and admire the views from the flat expanses of granite before heading back down. There are restrooms up here. Also, as inviting as it looks please do not disregard the signs and swim in the Emerald Pool – people have died getting swept up by the river and been taken over the falls.

We mentioned that this trail is extremely popular. Not only is it the shortest route to these waterfalls, but it’s also the path to the summit of Half Dome. So expect crowds, and do your best to time your visit when you can.

As the name suggests, the mist trail can also get very wet. Expect spray from Vernal Falls, and wear footwear which affords you some grip. This trail is also closed in months when icy weather makes the route treacherous.

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Vernal Falls | 5★ | 2.5mi* | 1,040ft - AllTrails
Nevada Falls | 5★ | 4.7mi* | 2,021ft - AllTrails
* Add 0.5 mi each way if you're hiking in from the parking lot.

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