Oh So Power-Fall!

Yosemite Hikes to Vernal and Nevada Waterfall

Nevada Falls Mist Trail hike Yosemite

Who doesn’t love a good waterfall? Well, this classic hike in Yosemite gives you two bangs for your hiking buck. But get an early start, because this is one of the most popular trails in the park.

Right now is a great time to hike to two of Yosemite’s classic falls—Vernal and Nevada. Starting from Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley, follow the Mist Trail up the lush valley to the bridge at Lower Vernal Fall. Keep going!

(2020 Update: A section of the Mist Trail may be closed for one-way traffic, please follow the signs. But the detour via the Clark Point cutoff and John Muir Trail is a winner, with some outstanding vantages for seeing Upper Vernal Fall up close as well as Nevada Fall in the distance.)

Gallery image 1 of 5
Gallery image 2 of 5
Gallery image 3 of 5
Gallery image 4 of 5
Gallery image 5 of 5

Spend time at the top of Vernal before carrying on to the final 1-mile stretch, a challenging ascent with a grand granite stairway putting you parallel to thundering Nevada Fall. At the top, take a breather and wander around the granite slabs and get a grand panorama of the valley. From the railed viewpoint peek over the edge at the fierce force of the waterfall. Just don’t lean too far.

BONUS STAY: Just an hour from the entrance to Yosemite Valley, Mariposa makes a delightful and economically appealing place to stay. Friendly, lively, and artisan are good descriptors if you book a cabin, hotel, or B&B here. Food and drink options abound, from pizza and milkshakes to Cajun and farm-to-table, with a burgeoning brew pub scene for a good old-fashioned burger and IPA. Check out Mariposa County’s website for lodging info.

The trail starts at Happy Isles. Follow the Mist Trail signs. If Mist Trail is closed, you can still reach the top of the falls on the John Muir Trail alternative route. No dogs.

Trending Stories Northern CA

View all Stories
  1. Image that represents the story
    Sponsored

    Get Outdoors In Sonoma County This Fall

    Sonoma County's great outdoors includes hike-in beaches, hidden redwoods, and a new zipline-to-treehouse stay. Here are 5 of the best ways to explore outdoors in Sonoma County.

    View
  2. Image that represents the story

    Ride and Seek

    Oceanside breezes, beautiful beaches, a car-free pathway for biking, and beer at the end: You’re on a roll! The San Mateo Coast was made for beach hopping and beer tasting …

    View
  3. Image that represents the story

    Redwoods, Beach, Banner View!

    Explore among the redwoods in Henry Cowell State Park on this magical 5-mile hike featuring the big trees, a beach, and a beautiful view from an observation deck.

    View
  4. Image that represents the story

    GOAT Coastal Hike + Sunset

    GOAT (greatest of all time) Sonoma Coast experience? Hike the Kortum Trail, wine taste on a patio overlooking the Russian River, and catch a sensational sunset at, yep, Goat Rock Beach.

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Image that represents the story

    Shakespeare Bridge + Secret Garden

    Romeo, Romeo, we all know how this goes, but do you know how to go to the Shakespeare Bridge and secret gardens? We’ve got the online do-it-yourself hiking route for you.

    View
  2. Image that represents the story

    Malibu Hike, Canyon, Beach

    Get a highlight reel of the Malibu coastline on a 2.25-mile hike through Leo Carrillo State Park, featuring a canyon climb, Pacific panorama, and a beautiful beach.

    View
  3. Image that represents the story
    Sponsored

    The Highway of Waterfalls

    Ready for a totally refreshing road trip? Hit the Highway of Waterfalls! This stretch of road in Southern Oregon travels alongside the wild and scenic section of the North Umpqua River—and more than a dozen waterfalls.

    View
  4. Image that represents the story

    Suspension Bridge Surprise

    This urban hike in San Diego connects two gardens by way of two spectacular bridges, including the awesome Spruce Street Suspension Bridge built in 1912.

    View