From amazing vistas, to spectacular star gazing, to unique photography opportunities, Yosemite National Park does not disappoint. Hiking at the park is no exception. The Mist Trail in Yosemite National Park has got to be one of my all time favorite hikes and is definitely on my top 5 list! Keep reading to find out 4 reasons why I love the Mist Trail and find out what you can expect while hiking it.
#1 The Mist Trail provides a great workout that even an 8 year old can do
First of all, the Mist Trail provides an excellent workout! I went with five of my kids, including my 8 year old! Don’t be fooled, however. My 8 year old was pretty athletic to begin with. When we started, we had no idea what we were getting into. This hike challenges even the avid gym goer.
In order to get to the Mist Trail, you have to start on the John Muir Trail. At the beginning of the hike, the paved pathway goes up at a fairly steep incline. We laughed as the lady next to us complained that all her time spent at the gym was in vain. This difficult hike definitely gets your heart pumping right from the start.
While you could possibly do part of the hike with a wheelchair, it would be extremely difficult for the person helping to push you. I personally would not want to push a stroller up this pathway, though it is possible. That said, there is a great, though distant view, of Vernal Fall at the footbridge.
The Mist Trail Begins With a Giant Stone Staircase
Once you cross the footbridge, there is an entrance to the left for the Mist Trail. This part of the hike begins a laborious ascent up a stone staircase. While the stone staircase feels like a step master on steroids, the prize at the end of the trail is an up close and personal experience with the beautiful Vernal Fall. Here is some video footage of Vernal Fall!
Access to this lower half of the Mist Trail is closed in the winter due to hazardous conditions. The same is true for part of the John Muir Trail. Check here https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/vernalnevadawinter.htm for current conditions and winter hiking tips. Although winter in Yosemite National Park is magnificent, the waterfalls will be at their fullest in the early spring, around April – June, though I believe both falls flow year round.
#2 The Mist Trail has spectacular views and vistas and includes 2 waterfalls
If a good workout isn’t motivation enough for you, then the views along this hike will take your breath away. It was totally worth it making it to the top of Vernal Fall.
I had to stop often on this section of the hike and was grateful for my hiking poles. Take great caution and care ascending the staircase as the stone steps can be extremely slippery from the watery mist of Vernal Fall.
Once at the top of Vernal Fall, I looked towards the source of the falls. I stood amazed that such a small, seemingly innocent river could produce such a magnificent waterfall.
Thankfully there is a guard rail at the top of Vernal Fall, so you can safely look down the falls as well. If you are lucky, you might even catch a waterfall rainbow!
#3 The Mist Trail is fairly accessible via the John Muir Trail
If you are short on time, you can shorten the Mist Trail hike
#4 Hiking the Mist Trail leaves you renewed and at one with nature
If you have the time, hiking the Mist Trail at Yosemite National Park is well worth the investment. Though not for the faint in heart, I love the Mist Trail hike because it can be done in half a day. Hearing the gentle flow of water and breathing the clean air refreshed my soul. I truly felt one with nature.
While I left physically exhausted (I hiked with all my camera gear), it was well worth the trip! When I returned home, I felt my spirit renewed, ready to take on the world again.
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about hiking the Mist Trail in Yosemite National Park! Thanks for reading and sharing my adventures with me!
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