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Mist Trail picture in Yosemite
Vernal Fall from Above picture in Yosemite
Busy Mist Trail picture in Yosemite
Nevada Fall picture in Yosemite
Up close Nevada Fall picture in Yosemite
Mist Trail picture in Yosemite
Vernal Fall from Above picture in Yosemite
Busy Mist Trail picture in Yosemite
Nevada Fall picture in Yosemite
Up close Nevada Fall picture in Yosemite

Key Info

Price & Hours

  • $30 for seven-day park pass per car; $25 per motorcycle
  • 24/7

Details

  • Hiking, Sightseeing Type
  • 1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.0
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    5.0
  • Facilities
    2.0
  • Atmosphere
    4.5

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

The Mist Trail is one of the park's most popular trails. What makes The Mist Trail so unique is not its sites Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall but how you get there. To get to the top of the falls, hikers must climb a 600-step granite staircase that snakes right up alongside the hundreds-foot-tall plunge, taking visitors close enough to where mist from the falls sprays out onto the trail. Hence the name, the Mist Trail. The falls reach their peak from late spring to early summer, so if you want the traditional Mist Trail experience, with a light, natural shower while hiking, come during that time. 

Because the hike is predominately uphill, many hikers tend to take the Mist Trail to the top of Vernal Fall and back down a nearly 2½-mile hike roundtrip, which is estimated by the NPS to take about three hours. For a greater challenge, you can continue your hike farther upward to Nevada Fall, which takes about five to six hours to complete and features an elevation gain of an additional 1,000 feet (to Vernal Fall, the elevation gain is 1,000 feet from sea level). If you don't want to hike up the often slippery Mist Trail to Vernal and Nevada falls, you can always take the John Muir Trail, which features vantage points of the falls as well as fantastic views of the surrounding forest and valley. 

Many travelers say the Mist Trail is one of the best hikes they have ever taken, but advise to be prepared. While visitors say the hike up along the falls is as scenic as ever, it is definitely strenuous. Even when the falls aren't at their peak (from late spring to early summer), it can still be pretty wet, so make sure to have shoes with good traction and bring a poncho or clothes that can get wet.

Be advised that because this trail is so popular, it gets crowded quickly. Take the hike slowly and be mindful of the moisture as well as the ground loose, rocky terrain is present in some parts of the trail. There are restrooms posted at the trailhead, as well as vault toilets at the top of both Vernal and Nevada falls. The NPS estimates that you should carry about two quarts of water if you hike up to Vernal Fall and three to four quarters if you hike up to Nevada Fall. It is important that you stay on marked trails and do not swim in any portion of the falls it is illegal. To get to the Mist Trail, you can take the Valley Visitor shuttle, available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. year-round, to shuttle stop No. 16. There are no set hours for this trail but the NPS advises not to hike this trail at night. For more information, visit the park's website

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Hotels Nearby

  • Thing to Do
  • Hotel
The Majestic Yosemite Hotel

The Majestic Yosemite Hotel ...

  • 2.1 Miles Away
  • 4.0-star Hotel Class
Curry Village

Curry Village ...

  • 1.6 Miles Away
  • 1.0-star Hotel Class
The Ahwahnee

The Ahwahnee ...

  • 2.1 Miles Away
  • 4.0-star Hotel Class
See all hotels in Yosemite »

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#1 Yosemite Valley Unless you are solely planning backcountry expeditions during your trip to Yosemite, chances are you'll end up in Yosemite Valley at one point or another. That's because Yosemite ... Read more » Photograph by Chanon Kanjanavasoontara / Getty Images

#2 Tunnel View Outlook Along with Glacier Point, Tunnel View is widely considered to be the most popular outlook in all of Yosemite. From its vantage point, travelers get an eyeful of the majestic ... Read more » f11photo / Getty Images

#3 Glacier Point Glacier Point is considered one of the best and most comprehensive lookouts in Yosemite. Visitors regularly describe Glacier Point's sweeping, panoramic vistas as "breathtaking," calling it a truly can ... Read more » Powerfocusfotografie / Getty Images

#4 Half Dome Hiking Yosemite's Half Dome Cables Route has been described as unforgettable and even life-changing by travelers. But this expedition is not for the faint of heart. The trail is ... Read more » Mark C Stevens / Getty Images

#5 Tuolumne Meadows In the east section of the park you'll find Tuolumne Meadows, known for being one of the Sierra Nevada's largest high-elevation meadows at 8,600 feet. Here, you'll find ... Read more » David H. Carriere / Getty Images

#6 Mist Trail The Mist Trail is one of the park's most popular trails. What makes The Mist Trail so unique is not its sites Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall but how ... Read more » Anna Gorin / Getty Images

#7 Mariposa Grove "Giant" seems to be an understatement for this expansive grove of Sequoia trees in the southernmost section of Yosemite. Mariposa is one of three groves in the park where visitors can ... Read more » Scott_Walton / Getty Images

Yosemite Valley picture in Yosemite
Tunnel View picture in Yosemite
Glacier Point picture in Yosemite
Half Dome picture in Yosemite
Golden Tuolumne Meadows picture in Yosemite
Mist Trail picture in Yosemite
Mariposa Grove picture in Yosemite
Yosemite Valley picture in Yosemite
Tunnel View picture in Yosemite
Glacier Point picture in Yosemite
Half Dome picture in Yosemite
Golden Tuolumne Meadows picture in Yosemite
Mist Trail picture in Yosemite
Mariposa Grove picture in Yosemite

For an excellent photo op in Yosemite Valley, head over to Valley View You can find this beautiful view right off of Northside Drive near Pohono Bridge.  Photograph by Chanon Kanjanavasoontara / Getty Images

Tunnel View is the most popular lookout spot in Yosemite. From here, you can see top sights such as Half Dome and El Capitan, both of which are located in Yosemite Valley f11photo / Getty Images

Glacier Point's summit offers spectacular views of the Yosemite Valley, particularly Half Dome. Powerfocusfotografie / Getty Images

Half Dome is probably Yosemite's most famous rock formation, towering at more than 8,800 feet above Yosemite Valley. Mark C Stevens / Getty Images

Tuolumne Meadows is known for being one of the Sierra Nevada's highest elevation meadows at 8,600 feet above sea level.  David H. Carriere / Getty Images

Easily one of Yosemite's most popular trails, the Mist Trail takes visitors right up alongside Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall. Anna Gorin / Getty Images

Mariposa Grove is the largest seqouia grove in Yosemite, housing about 500 mature sequoia trees. Scott_Walton / Getty Images

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