The Mist Trail

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The Mist Trail

Distance: 13.5km
Elevation: 685m
Time: 3-6h

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We love The Mist Trail in Yosemite National Park. This hike takes you to Vernal and Nevada Falls where the refreshing cool down on hot days is incredible. There are also many options to shorten this hike, suitable for all levels, without the need to go to the top.

Getting there

Drive to the eastern end of Yosemite Valley and park in Happy Isle Loop parking lot. The YARTS bus can get you closer though!


When to do

June through October

Backcountry Campsites



Trailhead and on route

Family friendly


Route Signage


Crowd Levels


Route Type

Out and back


Detailed Description

Begin the hike by heading up the world-famous Mist Trail. Follow the signs along the road, passing the campground on your left. Soon you are ascending a well-marked trail. This is a very wide trail and is even paved up until the first bridge and the adjacent washrooms. The path is too steep to take a stroller, unless you are an extremely fit parent.

After the bridge (where there is water and washrooms) you will have views looking up at Vernal Falls as you ascend a steep stone staircase. In big snow years the falls can get very wet, and the “mist” turns into a soaking rainstorm. Be prepared to get completely drenched. This is a definite plus on hot days (or on long camping trips without showers) but can be dangerous if doing the hike early or late in the season or in colder weather.

From the top you can look down the gorge and up to Nevada Falls. After Vernal Falls, continue going up some long switchbacks and gain more elevation. The trail is well marked and fairly uneventful. Getting to Nevada Falls gives wonderful views and a great place for a meal in the sun.

The best part of this hike is that no matter how far you go it is absolutely spectacular. So don’t worry if you’re tired and turn back early!

Insider Hints

  • Take a poncho and put your electronics into your bag if the falls are really flowing!

  • If you didn’t get enough water on the trail, head over to Half Dome Village and go for a swim in the public pool!


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