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Cant-miss fun on the Mist
Trail takes first-time hikers to Vernal & Nevada falls
The Mist Trail at Yosemite National Park is a three-mile round trip that starts at always popular Happy Isle Trail. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT


Visitors can find a complete list of hikes in the Yosemite Valley by accessing

It’s Yosemite National Park’s signature hike.

The Mist Trail is the No. 1 destination for first-time visitors as well as many regulars.

You know it early on while catching the shuttle from Curry Village as the often crowded bus usually thins out at the Happy Isle Trail stop.

The Mist Trail takes you up to Vernal Fall and, if you’re feeling really ambitious, to Nevada Fall. The hike up to Vernal is three miles, round trip, with some degree of difficulty while the climb up to Nevada Fall can be tough and strenuous.

As an example, the elevation gain to the top of Vernal Fall is 1,000 feet and 1,900 to Nevada Fall.

Most folks will usually weigh out their options after getting drenched on the Mist Trail.

“This was my first hike ever at Yosemite,” Molica of Fresno wrote last week on “The view is breathtaking and you forget the struggles it took to reach Vernal Fall.

“When they say ‘mist’ it’s more like shower – the waterfall was amazing and cold, people were great, and the adventure scale (was) off the chart.”

Spring is the best time to get covered with spray from Vernal Fall. Last year, we made it there in late June and got a light drizzle from the Mist Trail.

The trail head of Happy Isle is often congested with people, depending on the time of the year. No surprise that many will stop along the way to take photos of the spectacular views along the way.

The bridge at the first overlook of Vernal Fall is another postcard moment to capture that Yosemite moment for amateur photographers.

Not too far from there are restrooms and drinking water. Enjoy it because that’s the only amenities for those making the trek up to Nevada Fall.

The climb up to Vernal Fall is highlighted by the Mist Trail coupled with stone steps carved into the canyon wall. Use extreme caution since this area can be slippery.

Most importantly, use common sense. On a hot day, the Merced River may look inviting for those thinking about taking a quick dip. But the water can be cold and current too strong to overcome.

The same applies to the top of Vernal Fall, where accidents can and do happen for those taking unnecessary risks – photo taking, horse playing, etc. – along the rushing waters and steep cliffs on the 317-foot waterfall.

Enjoy the Mist Trail but also be safe.