Vernal Fall

Yosemite, California

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The Mist Trail to Vernal Fall is one of Yosemite’s most popular, for good reason. It follows the thundering Merced River up to and then alongside the spectacular fall, topping out on a sun-washed slab that offers stellar views down valley past Grizzly Peak. The Mist Trail is a bucket list hike. It’s simply that good. Yes, it’s steep, and the footing can be treacherous, but the experience is quintessential Yosemite, full of granite and spray and views that soar heavenward. The trail begins gently, following the relatively quiet Merced River through a boulder garden. But the river gains vigor as the trail gains elevation, starting within 0.1 mile of the trailhead. The ascent is unbroken from the base to the bridge below the falls but is mitigated by the river cascading alongside, whitewater crashing among boulders as it completes the final flight of its Giant Staircase.
Hiking Waterfalls in Northern California

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Hiking Waterfalls in Northern California

by Tracy Salcedo-Chourré (Falcon Guides)

The Mist Trail to Vernal Fall is one of Yosemite’s most popular, for good reason. It follows the thundering Merced River up to and then alongside the spectacular fall, topping out on a sun-washed slab that offers stellar views down valley past Grizzly Peak.

The Mist Trail is a bucket list hike. It’s simply that good. Yes, it’s steep, and the footing can be treacherous, but the experience is quintessential Yosemite, full of granite and spray and views that soar heavenward.

The trail begins gently, following the relatively quiet Merced River through a boulder garden. But the river gains vigor as the trail gains elevation, starting within 0.1 mile of the trailhead. The ascent is unbroken from the base to the bridge below the falls but is mitigated by the river cascading alongside, whitewater crashing among boulders as it completes the final flight of its Giant Staircase.

© 2015 Tracy Salcedo-Chourré/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Yosemite
Distance: 3
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 3-4 hours
Season: Year-round
Features: Waterfalls
Local Contacts: Yosemite National Park, Public Information Office, PO Box 577, Yosemite, CA 95389; (209) 372-0200 (dial ext. 3, then 5); www.nps.gov/yose. The website is extensive and should be every visitor’s first stop for information on the park.
Local Maps: USGS Half Dome CA; park map available online and at park entrances. No map is needed; just follow the crowds.
Driving Directions: Directions to Vernal Fall

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Apr 2018