Oh So Power-Fall!

Yosemite Hikes to Vernal and Nevada Waterfall

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.)

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.

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