Yosemite Mist TrailIf you don’t like hiking too much or you only have time for one hike, then you must follow the Mist Trail to Vernal and Nevada Falls.

You will get close to two large and powerful waterfalls that flow all year long. The falls are strongest in spring and early summer, creating a cooling mist that continuously blankets the trail. In the spring, the mist is so strong that you will need to wear rain gear.

Yosemite National Park is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, iconic landmarks like El Capitan and Half Dome, and numerous waterfalls. Read about Yosemite here.

Yosemite Vernal FallYou start the hike by strolling next to the river, then begin your climb until you reach a footbridge. At this bridge, you will get your first glimpse of Vernal Fall. This is a good place for photos, a bathroom break, and to fill your water canteens or bottles. There are no more services along the trail.

Interesting Fact: The Mist Trail is one of the oldest trails in Yosemite, dating back to the 1850s.

The trail gets steeper after the footbridge, and you will have to climb up 600 granite steps to reach the top of Vernal Fall. The stairs are difficult and can be very crowded, so climb carefully and take frequent breaks along the way.

When you reach the top, you can get close to the edge of the waterfall and admire the tons of water tumbling down 317 feet from the granite cliff to the bottom. The edge of the fall is protected by a rail, but keep an eye on young children.

Yosemite Vernal and Nevada FallsAfter admiring the rushing water and the view below the waterfall, continue your hike following the river. You will first come across Emerald Pool – so named because of the color of the water.

Although there are many warning signs banning swimming, you will see many brave souls jumping into the pool or sliding along the granite slopes into the pool. It is fun to watch, but I decided to pass on this small adventure.

If you still have the stamina, continue climbing the trail to reach the Nevada Fall upstream. The hike to the top of Nevada Fall is another 2 miles of mostly steep trail.

The name Nevada is an old Spanish word for snow. The fall from a distance looks like a great snow avalanche. This is due to the water cascading down a steep rock slope – a third of the way down from the top.Yosemite Vernal Fall Mist Trail

The twin waterfalls can also be seen from vantage points within Yosemite National Park. Some of the most spectacular views are seen from Glacier Point.

The total distance from the trailhead to the top of Nevada Fall is around 3 miles, and the total climb is around 900 feet. If you are a seasoned hiker, you can continue your hike along the John Muir Trail, which takes you on a 210-mile journey through the wilderness.

Traveler Tips:

  • Start your hike early in the morning to avoid crowds and ensure you have enough daylight.
  • Wear sturdy hiking shoes with good grip, as the trail can be slippery due to the mist.
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks, as there are no services beyond the footbridge.
  • Consider bringing a rain jacket, especially in the spring, as the mist from the falls can be intense.