Classified as one of the Strenuous Hikes.

I had the pleasure, sweating, beyond thirsty and pain of hiking Nevada Falls and Verna Falls. Vernal Falls is the highest and the longest hike for me. It’s brutal. Suggestion: Lightweight weight clothes and hat covers back neck, Hiking gloves, walking stick, broken-in hiking boots, and carry as much water as you can. Conserve. Very few amenities along the route. In the summer one good wind and you’re covered in sand. Hand wipes are a portable doctor in a box. I had a few brushing, up or down the trail. Hiking Verna is straight up, “Natures Giant Spiral Staircase.”  I was on top of the world.

I’m working on this photo. The Jacked up version is on my “About Me” page.

Hope you enjoy.   Xx  M

 Vernal Falls

160

 

Climb Verna Falls is nature’s giant staircase. Where you are rewarded with close-up views of two waterfalls and numerous geologic features (depending on how far you choose to hike). Powerful and turbulent, these two waterfalls will soak you in spring and entice you year-round.

Vernal Fall Footbridge
Distance: 1.6 mi (2.6 km) round trip
Elevation gain: 400 ft (120 m)
Difficulty: Moderate
Time: 1-1.5 hours

Top of Vernal Fall
Distance: 2.4 mi (3.9 km) round trip (via Mist Trail)
Elevation gain: 1000 ft (300 m)
Difficulty: Strenuous
Time: 3 hours

Top of Nevada Fall
Distance: 5.4 mi (8.7 km) round trip (via Mist Trail)
Elevation gain: 2000 ft (610 m)
Difficulty: Strenuous
Time: 5-6 hours

You can also take the John Muir Trail to the top of Vernal Fall (via the Clark Point cutoff) and the top of Nevada Fall, or combine the Mist Trail and John Muir Trail into a loop. See the map, profile, and description below for more information.

All begin at: Happy Isles (shuttle stop #16)

This very popular hike originates near Happy Isles in eastern Yosemite Valley (shuttle stop #16). The John Muir and Mist Trails offer spectacular, up-close views of two large waterfalls, enjoyable scenery along the Merced River, and unique views across Yosemite Valley. This first paved mile of trail is busiest and accesses the Vernal Fall Footbridge. Almost entirely uphill, you can appreciate views along the way, and during spring, when the water levels are at their peak, you can also glimpse Nevada Fall from this first section of trail.

You’ll find an excellent view of Vernal Fall from the footbridge at 0.8 miles (1.3 km). About 0.2 miles (0.3 km) beyond the bridge, the Mist Trail and the John Muir Trail diverge. To proceed directly to the top of Vernal Fall, follow the Mist Trail 0.5 miles (0.8 km) up a steep granite stairway of over 600 steps. Prepare for slippery footing and a tremendous amount of waterfall spray in spring and early summer (hence the name for this trail!). You will delight in views of Vernal Fall all along this stretch of trail and may even be able to see a rainbow in the spray of the fall. At the top of Vernal Fall, you can experience jaw-dropping views straight down the length of the 317-foot waterfall (please don’t cross the railings and use extreme caution while you’re near any flowing water or wet rock in this area).

From this point, you can: choose to turn around and head back the way you came; continue up to the next junction (about 0.2 miles / 0.3 km) and take the longer route back via the John Muir Trail; or continue uphill on the Mist Trail to the top of Nevada Fall. If you choose to continue on the Mist Trail, shortly beyond Vernal Fall, you will pass by Emerald Pool and Silver Apron. Both of these look may look inviting on a hot summer’s day, but it is illegal and dangerous to swim here due to the extremely hazardous current.

Continuing along the Mist Trail, you’ll experience another 1.5 miles (2.4 km) of steep, rocky switchbacks in order to reach Nevada Fall. Crashing down 594 feet, this thunderous waterfall is fullest in spring and early summer, and you will find terrific photographic opportunities along this stretch of trail. At the top of the climb, head right to reach the footbridge that crosses the Merced River above the fall, allowing you a closer view of it. Use extreme caution while you’re near any flowing water or wet rock in this area.

From here, you can either return down the Mist Trail, or continue over the bridge to the John Muir Trail for an alternate route back to Yosemite Valley. If you choose the John Muir Trail, you will enjoy different scenery, with great views of Liberty Cap and different views of Nevada Fall. The John Muir Trail is longer—approximately 4 miles one-way compared to the Mist Trail’s 2.5 miles (4 km)—so plan accordingly.

Some hikers may be continuing from the top of Nevada Fall to hike to Half Dome or elsewhere in Yosemite’s wilderness.

Seasonality

You can hike to both waterfalls all year. However, in winter, there is a specific route that remains open while some sections of trail are closed. The lower portion of the Mist Trail along Vernal Fall closes in winter due to risk of falling ice and rock. The upper portion of the John Muir Trail between Clark Point and the top of Nevada Fall is closed in winter due to treacherously icy conditions. Keep in mind that the sections of trail that remain open in the winter may be very icy and/or snowy. View current conditions for trail closures and view historical opening and closing dates for this trail.

View a trail profile and map of the winter route to the top of Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall.

Vernal Fall Footbridge
Distance: 1.6 mi (2.6 km) round trip
Elevation gain: 400 ft (120 m)
Difficulty: Moderate
Time: 1-1.5 hours

Top of Vernal Fall
Distance: 2.4 mi (3.9 km) round trip (via Mist Trail)
Elevation gain: 1000 ft (300 m)
Difficulty: Strenuous
Time: 3 hours

Top of Nevada Fall
Distance: 5.4 mi (8.7 km) round trip (via Mist Trail)
Elevation gain: 2000 ft (610 m)
Difficulty: Strenuous
Time: 5-6 hours

You can also take the John Muir Trail to the top of Vernal Fall (via the Clark Point cutoff) and the top of Nevada Fall, or combine the Mist Trail and John Muir Trail into a loop. See the map, profile, and description below for more information.

All begin at: Happy Isles (shuttle stop #16)

This very popular hike originates near Happy Isles in eastern Yosemite Valley (shuttle stop #16). The John Muir and Mist Trails offer spectacular, up-close views of two large waterfalls, enjoyable scenery along the Merced River, and unique views across Yosemite Valley. This first paved mile of trail is busiest and accesses the Vernal Fall Footbridge. Almost entirely uphill, you can appreciate views along the way, and during spring, when the water levels are at their peak.

You’ll find an excellent view of Vernal Fall from the footbridge at 0.8 miles (1.3 km). About 0.2 miles (0.3 km) beyond the bridge, the Mist Trail and the John Muir Trail diverge. To proceed directly to the top of Vernal Fall, follow the Mist Trail 0.5 miles (0.8 km) up a steep granite stairway of over 600 steps. Prepare for slippery footing and a tremendous amount of waterfall spray in spring and early summer (hence the name for this trail!). You will delight in views of Vernal Fall all along this stretch of trail and may even be able to see a rainbow in the spray of the fall. At the top of Vernal Fall, you can experience jaw-dropping views straight down the length of the 317-foot waterfall (please don’t cross the railings and use extreme caution while you’re near any flowing water or wet rock in this area).

From this point, you can: choose to turn around and head back the way you came; continue up to the next junction (about 0.2 miles / 0.3 km) and take the longer route back via the John Muir Trail; or continue uphill on the Mist Trail to the top of Nevada Fall. If you choose to continue on the Mist Trail, shortly beyond Vernal Fall, you will pass by Emerald Pool and Silver Apron. Both of these look may look inviting on a hot summer’s day, but it is illegal and dangerous to swim here due to the extremely hazardous current.

Continuing along the Mist Trail, you’ll experience another 1.5 miles (2.4 km) of steep, rocky switchbacks in order to reach Nevada Fall. Crashing down 594 feet, this thunderous waterfall is fullest in spring and early summer, and you will find terrific photographic opportunities along this stretch of trail. At the top of the climb, head right to reach the footbridge that crosses the Merced River above the fall, allowing you a closer view of it. Use extreme caution while you’re near any flowing water or wet rock in this area.

From here, you can either return down the Mist Trail, or continue over the bridge to the John Muir Trail for an alternate route back to Yosemite Valley. If you choose the John Muir Trail, you will enjoy different scenery, with great views of Liberty Cap and different views of Nevada Fall. The John Muir Trail is longer—approximately 4 miles one-way compared to the Mist Trail’s 2.5 miles (4 km)—so plan accordingly.

Some hikers may be continuing from the top of Nevada Fall to hike to Half Dome or elsewhere in Yosemite’s wilderness.

Seasonality

You can hike to both waterfalls all year. However, in winter, there is a specific route that remains open while some sections of trail are closed. The lower portion of the Mist Trail along Vernal Fall closes in winter due to risk of falling ice and rock. The upper portion of the John Muir Trail between Clark Point and the top of Nevada Fall is closed in winter due to treacherously icy conditions. Keep in mind that the sections of trail that remain open in the winter may be very icy and/or snowy. View current conditions for trail closures and view historical opening and closing dates for this trail.

View a trail profile and map of the winter route to the top of Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall.

7 Comments on “Nevada Falls & Vernal Fall Yosemite National Park

    • Thank you for the kid words of the photo. The technical descriptions can from Travel Center and lots of information in the Main store in the Valley. It is a wonder of the world, you’re run into all types of animals large and small. Just don’t mess with bears, people leave trash. hikers leave trash. worst the bears expect food form people now and they come up to care begging for food. It can only remain the great park if people follow Park Rules and takes everything out that you brought with you.
      Have a great afternoon.
      🙂

      Liked by 1 person

I want to hear your thoughts. I can take it!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: