"A Yosemite classic, this one has it all: rushing waterfalls, verdant canyons, slabs of imposing granite, shady conifers, and inspiring views of the valley below. Nevada Falls drops 594 feet, making it the longest single leap of the Merced River, while Vernal Falls completes the journey with a 317-foot drop. The trail is no secret, but it’s hard to blame the masses once you witness its dramatic charm. Start this walk early before it’s overrun with valley-floor visitors, as well as to avoid midday heat in the summer. Beginning on the John Muir Trail (JMT), this is a balloon loop. Start by climbing to a scenic footbridge and a thunderous view of Vernal Falls. Next, continue up the Mist Trail to the top of Nevada Falls. To return, loop back, descending on the more gradual JMT to rejoin your route at the footbridge. Outstanding features: Vernal Falls, Nevada Falls, Emerald Pool, Silver Apron, Clark Point, sweeping views of the valley" Read more
"Mile for mile, the very popular balloon hike up to the brink of Nevada Fall and back may be the most scenic one in the park. The first part of this loop goes up the famous (or infamous) Mist Trail—a steep, strenuous trail that sprays you with Vernal Fall’s mist, which cools you on hot afternoons. You next ascend past equally picturesque Nevada Fall.
The descent along the John Muir Trail (JMT) and past Clark Point gives you aerial views of the landscape you walked through on your climb. Barely a step of the hike is not worth celebrating, even though your knees may be begging for a rest. The best photos of the falls are taken from late morning through late afternoon, when they are illuminated by the sun." Read more