Vernal and Nevada Falls Loop

  • Nevada Falls in Yosemite National Park, California.
  • Nevada Falls in Yosemite National Park, California.
  • Nevada Falls in Yosemite National Park, California.


Dogs No


7 (miles)



~2000 (+) (Elev. Δ - ft)



Nevada Falls is a moderate kid friendly day hike in Yosemite National Park that leads to an incredible waterfall. The first mile of this hike to the Vernal Falls footbridge is paved and a great choice for hikers who are traveling with small children. Less than a quarter mile past the footbridge the Mist Trail splits off from the John Muir Trail. Hikers should follow the Mist Trail to reach the top of Vernal Falls. From here prepare yourself to climb nature’s “giant staircase,” which is more than 600 steep granite stairs. At the top hike are greeted with an incredible view down the 317-foot Vernal Falls. Use caution here and never cross the railings, people have died from this overlook. After you are done taking in the view from the top of Vernal Falls and you've likely taken way too many pictures, continue climbing the switchbacks of the Mist Trail. Along the way hikers will pass Emerald Pool and Silver Apron. While both look like an ideal spot to take a dip and cool off, don't do it. It’s illegal and there are very strong currents. Along the next 1.5 miles of trail, expect to not make very good time given the steepness of the trail, but even more so the incredible views of the 594-foot Nevada Falls. At the top of the falls, you have a choice, you can either return the way you came for a 5.4 mile out and back hike, or you can continue down the John Muir Trail and complete a lollipop loop. The loop option adds a little more than a mile and a half to the hike and offers difference scenery. Hikers taking the JMT back to Yosemite Valley can expect incredible views of Liberty Cap, the valley and different view of Nevada Falls. This is a very popular trail in Yosemite Valley. If solitude is what you seek, look elsewhere. There is camping available in Yosemite National Park.

Red Tape

Entrance, Camping and Backcountry Fees
Contact: Public Information Office PO Box 577 Yosemite, CA 95389

California Trails

Yosemite Trails

Wildlife on this Trail

Plants on this Trail

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