June 29, 2010

Mist and John Muir Trails to Vernal and Nevada Falls

Nevada Fall and Liberty Cap
The Trail

When done together as a loop, the Mist and John Muir Trails make up an approximately 7 mile long moderate excursion with a 1910 foot elevation change. This trail is stunningly beautiful with fantastic views along a scenic and ever changing trail that is almost sure to keep hikers engaged.

This popular trail is easy to find and easy to follow. The first part of the trail is paved on its way to the bridge that looks down the river to Vernal Fall. Soon after that, the trail splits into the Mist Trail on the left and the John Muir Trail on the right. The Mist trail closely follows the Merced River and takes hikers up to the brink of Vernal Fall. By continuing the loop on the John Muir trail, hikers will also reach the brink of Nevada Fall. The trail is very wet with the mist coming off the falls, particularly in the spring with high run off, and many people bring ponchos to help keep dry. The John Muir Trail connects to the Mist Trail and takes hikers back down to the trail head.

Trail going up to bring of Vernal Fall

For a shorter hike, you can make a smaller loop by taking the trail that connects the John Muir trail at Clark Point to the Mist Trail a little before the Silver Apron (not shown on maps), or you can just hike to Vernal Fall Bridge.

For a longer hike, you can continue to Little Yosemite Valley at the point where the Mist and John Muir trails connect at their ends. This trail also leads to the top of Half Dome. It also connects with a number of other trails in the area.

Trail maps are available in the park. Restrooms are available at Vernal Fall Bridge and at Nevada Fall. Pets are not permitted on the trails.

Topigraphical Map:  Blue=Mist Trail   Red=John Muir Trail
Note: The last switchbacks heading down the John Muir Trail are not accurate on these maps because our GPS became confused during this time. The trail indicated is only a rough approximation here.

Trail on Google Earth:  Yellow=Mist Trail   Red=John Muir Trail

Graph of Elevation (when going up Mist Trail and down John Muir)

Vernal Fall
Nevada Fall

Mist off of Vernal Fall

Brink of Vernal Fall

This trail is found in Yosemite National Park in California. The trail starts at the end of Yosemite Valley. There is parking available at designated areas in the valley, and then hikers must walk or take the shuttle to Happy Isles where the trail begins.

On way to top of Vernal Fall

Looking down Nevada Fall

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