mist trail to nevada falls
Yosemite national park, ca
mist trail to nevada falls
Distance: 6.2 miles roundtrip (out and back)
Elevation Gain: 1,993 feet
Seasonality: March - November (click here for season restrictions)
Trailhead: John Muir Vernal Falls Trailhead at Yosemite Valley’s Happy Isles (shuttle stop #16)
Parking: Park anywhere in Yosemite Valley and use the shuttle system to get off on stop #16.
Facilities: Flush toilets and potable water available at the Happy Isles, at the Vernal Falls footbridge, at the top of Vernal Falls and at the top of Nevada Falls.
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous
In order to reach Nevada Falls, you will start your hike on the Mist Trail to Vernal Falls and proceed past Vernal to Nevada Falls by either the John Muir Trail or up another set of stone stairs on the Mist Trail. Although taking the John Muir trail adds about a mile to the total trip, it is a little less strenuous because you are bypassing the slippery stone staircase of the Mist trail. And one of the best benefits of the John Muir Trail is that you will reach Clark Point, which gives you a bird’s eye view of Vernal Falls that and an incredible view of Nevada Falls and Liberty Cap. This hike is an all day experience and is well worth the effort it takes to hike to the top of Nevada Falls. This trail is not for the faint of heart. It is also a good training if you are interested in hiking to Half Dome, as this is the first leg of the trail to Half Dome.
Trip Planner Details:
This hike is located in the eastern part of Yosemite Valley and is most easily accessed by shuttle. You will want to get off at the Happy Isles shuttle stop #16 and walk across the Happy Isles footbridge to turn right onto the John Muir Vernal Falls trail. Bring plenty of water and snacks. Do not rely on the toilets and potable water at the Vernal Falls footbridge as that is sometimes shut down during the season. The closest parking is near the Upper Pines campground; however, it is easy to park any place you can find in the Valley and take a shuttle.
If you want to see both the John Muir Trail and the second half of the Mist Trail, you can hike up one and hike back down the other. This gives you the best of both worlds, just be sure to have a map because you will be taking a different route down.
There is a park entrance fee of $35 to enter Yosemite National Park. For more information about what else you can do in the park, visit the Yosemite National Park website.
When You Do Your Research:
This hike is a pretty straight forward hike. It is highly trafficked at the Vernal Falls leg, but you will see the crowds lessen as you get to Nevada Falls.
Tips From One Who Hiked It:
Start early in the day to ensure you have enough time to complete the hike before sunset. This hike could take you 5-7 hours to complete depending on the abilities of those hiking. I would not recommend returning back to the trailhead using the stairs route from Nevada or Vernal. If you want to hike up the two sets of stairs, I would recommend returning using the John Muir trail and bypassing the short, slippery, and crowded sets of stairs.