Nevada Falls Loop

Nevada Falls Loop, Yosemite National Park: Address, Nevada Falls Loop Reviews: 5/5

Nevada Falls Loop

Top ways to experience Nevada Falls Loop and nearby attractions

Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

351 reviews
Very good

Palatine, IL150 contributions
Aug 2019
We thoroughly enjoyed this memorable hike. Please read through a number of previous reviewers with great tips...they helped us immensely in preparing for a great hike. The keys: Leave extra early (it really pays off). If there is a decent waterfall during the time of year you go, pack hooded rain jackets to put on for the slippery steps area up to Vernal Falls. A picnic lunch at the top of the first set of Falls is a great treat. Many people do not continue on to Nevada Falls, as it's very steep and takes endurance after making the first trek...but oh so worth it. And I too, highly recommend taking the John Muir trail on the way back down for great views you don't get on the way up the other two trails. This hike will definitely be one of the best in our lifetime!
Written July 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Satyabrata Dam
New Delhi1,782 contributions
Feb 2020 • Solo
I had my first glimpse of this majestic waterfall from Clark's Point. From there another 30 min I reached the top of the falls. The tumbling rushing waterfall is mesmerizing. There's iron rail to go right to its edge. It's awesome.
Written February 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Pittsburgh, PA469 contributions
Jul 2021
The Nevada Falls loop is PHENOMENAL! The hike is a bit strenuous (there are sections with some steep stairs), but it is totally worth it. You get great views of both sets of falls (Vernal Falls, then Nevada Falls).

As others suggested, start with the Mist Trail, which will take you up to & past Vernal Falls first, then up to the top of and over Nevada Falls. The mist from the falls will cool you off on the way up, and more importantly, you'll go UP the steep stairs rather than doing down them, which is more dangerous (& frightening). There are tons of spot to catch your breath, and most offer great picture opportunities, which gives you the perfect excuse (you're not tired; you're taking a picture!).

Going down John Muir Trail is easier than going down Mist Trail; the path is a bit longer, but much more gradual & way less stairs. It was actually faster going down for this reason.

Be sure to have good hiking shoes; the paths can be slippery, especially coming down, without good shoes. Also, bring plenty of water. There is a filling station before Vernal Falls, but no places to fill up after that.

This hike was by far my favorite thing in Yosemite. It's not easy, and takes most of a day (you'll be pretty tired after), but it is so worth it.
Written September 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

18 contributions
Jul 2020
We had hiked up 4-mile trail and were on our way down on the Panorama. We were tired, but later glad we took the detour to Nevada Falls. The falls are very cool and you get a unique viewpoint from the top of the falls that you don't get with most of the other falls in the park.
Written July 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Barbara M
Huntington Beach, CA112 contributions
Feb 2018 • Family
My husband and I (in our mid-50s) hike frequently. We have walked in many countries and many states. For a relatively short walk close to civilization, this trail has to be one of the best anywhere -- certainly it offers the most spectacular views per mile walked!

From the trail head parking lot, we walked about 8.5 miles and ascended about 2100 ft. We walked about .5 miles from parking to Happy Isles (you can take a shuttle). From there, the Mist Trail starts up to the Vernal Falls bridge. This trail is paved (asphalt), but steep in places. After a little more than a mile up hill the whole way, you arrive at the Vernal Falls bridge over the Merced River. From the bridge, you can catch a view of Vernal Falls. All the way up offers spectacular views.

From the bridge, you head up a series of granite stairs (not real stairs -- stairs created by granite). They are very steep in places, and mist from the waterfall can make the trial slippery. After quite a climb with spectacular views of the fall and back down the valley, a stop for a snack at the top of the fall offers a lovely break.

Then you head up another 1000 ft and an innumerable number of switchbacks to the top of Nevada fall. Again, the trail up affords amazing, up-close views of the fall and the valley with a granite dome towering above. The views from the top of Nevada fall cannot be beat anywhere (in my opinion)!

We took our 12 year old and he made it up and down without any problem. I would say that a nine year old with a good attitude (and who has some hikes under their belt) would be fine.
Written February 12, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Florida189 contributions
Jun 2018 • Friends
We hiked this trail on the last day of June, and luckily for us, the falls were still glorious. This hike took us a total of about six hours, including a few twenty minute breaks and an 45-60 lunch break. We had a couple of litres of water each, plus bottles of Gatorade, plus our lunches. The sign at the bottom recommended 3 litres of water per person, and you shouldn't count on refilling unless you have a solid way to purify water. Fortunately, we left well hydrated. We left a little later than we would have preferred, just before 8:00 am, but 7:00 would have been better. If you have a choice between hiking boots and sneakers, boots are absolutely the way to go, you won't regret their weight on this trek.

The first leg of the hike takes you up to the base of Vernal Fall on a paved pathway. We saw some families on their way with little ones in backpacks, toddlers and school-aged children on their own foot power, seniors and everyone in between. You might imagine that the path is handicap accessible, but unless you have the power to get a wheelchair up a fairly steep path, you would be sorely disappointed (curiously, I did see a stroller and a very small bicycle abandoned along side the path even further up the trail than the base of the falls, myself and some other hikers were amazed to see that someone had made it so far with these wheeled devices). I stopped several times to catch my breath on this part of the trail (hopefully because my body wasn't at all acclimatized to the much higher elevation than I am accustomed to) and have some sips of water. We reached the base of Vernal Fall relatively quickly, probably within 45 minutes. The facilities (bathrooms) were closed, and as this is a very well-traveled trail, there was

The review just before mine recommended a poncho for where Vernal Fall is misting, but the humidity tends to be very low in Yosemite, and is is just misting you for a few minutes, so I found I was dry in less than ten minutes and enjoyed the cooling effect of the mist. If it is cold or cloudy, you might want that poncho after all.

A fellow hiker suggested that folks continue on after reaching the top of Vernal Falls for another 20 minutes or so to view Nevada Falls, and I think this is such good advice. If you've made it this far, just a little further is the most beautiful (and less traveled) sight of Nevada Falls. This is where we stopped to have a picnic lunch and a little rest. It was the best. I thought it was the most beautiful place on the whole trail.

Refreshed from a bite to eat, we continued on the trail up. Lots more steep climbing. Once you get to all of the switchbacks, you are almost at the top. I couldn't believe we were already at the top just a little bit after the switchbacks. We used the bathrooms againbefore heading back down. When we reached the top of Vernal Falls, we had a choice to take the longer, less steep John Muir Trail back down or to continue the way we had come. My companion chose the same path we had taken up, so I followed. My understanding is that on the JMT you get beautiful, different views and the trail, being less steep is a bit easier to manage and is a good trade-off for doing the extra mileage.

The trip down is more challenging for most, and I would have chosen the JMT if I had not turned over the decision to my companion. By the time we were on our way down, the paths up were rather crowded.

I would hike this trail repeatedly if I were given the opportunity, the views were so rewarding. This trail has a gain of 2,000 feet. Worth it!
Written July 14, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

robert c
Sunnyvale, CA3,513 contributions
May 2015 • Couples
1. For those people who want more of a challenge than doing the Mist trail up to the top of Vernal Falls, there is the hike to the top of Nevada Falls.

2. My wife and I did this hike, as an extension of the Mist trail hike. For preparation, we carried at least 40 ounces of Gatorade, plenty of sunscreen, a hat to shield us from the sun, and oranges. No need for waterproof clothes, as the mist from Vernal Falls does not soak you.

3. We each wore full fledged hiking boots with hiking poles. You don't want to slip on the wet trail soaked by the Merced River.

4. We reach the trailhead at Happy Isles with the free valley shuttle. There is a parking lot a quarter mile down the Happy Isles road, and Curry Village is only 15 minutes walk.

5. There are bathrooms at the Happy Isles trailhead, at the Vernal Fall Footbridge, and behind Emerald Lake at the top of Vernal Falls. However, these last two were closed for the winter season. So the wife brought along toilet paper.

6. The hike to the Vernal Fall footbridge is 0.7 miles with a 400 foot elevation gain, along a paved trail with stone guardrails preventing people from falling over the cliff into the river 100 feet below. Shaded area with lots of trees for cover. This is merely a warmup for the Mist trail .

7. The upper Mist trail runs from the bridge to the top of Vernal Falls, and is closed in winter due to ice. It is only another 3/4 of a mile, but with 700+ granite rock stairs soaked wet by the next door Merced River.

8. If the Mist trail is closed, you have to use the John Muir trail to reach Vernal Falls. This is a long trail with a lot of switchbacks which go above Vernal Falls.

9. At the top of Vernal Falls, people go above or even beyond the railing to get that perfect selfie. On occasion, someone slips and falls into the water, and goes over the 317' falls, turning that Kodak moment into an Hasta La Vista moment, to quote our ex- governor.

10. Before you cross the Merced river, you come to Emerald Lake. On the near side of the Lake are bathrooms with pit toilets, often closed except during the summer. Plenty of trees here for the wife to go into the bushes, just like the four legged locals!

11. You cross the Merced River by way of a foot bridge. 2 miles and 900 feet elevation gain to Nevada Falls, over a trail carved into the granite walls. No cover here, just straight up the trail, with the Merced river running alongside. Only ground squirrels to keep the wife and I company.

12. We reach 594' Nevada Falls, huffing and puffing like Darth Vader in the 6000 foot elevation, with a tall tower like granite rock overshadowing the falls.

13. If you are going to the top of Half Dome, you are only part way there, with another 5 miles and 2000' elevation gain to go. We didn't see such people as Half Dome is only open in the summer, and any such hikers would have started off before sunrise.

14. The wife's knees are hurting, and we take the John Muir trail down to the Vernal footbridge, bypassing the 700 stairs of the Mist trail. We get an aerial view of Vernal Falls on the way back.

15. It takes a good 8 hours of hiking to complete the loop, but that's why you come to Yosemite - to enjoy the experience and views of hiking to nature's wonders.

Written April 19, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Novi, Michigan31 contributions
Jul 2021
You get to see Vernal Falls and Nevada falls. Beautiful scenery along the way. Go up the Mist Trail and down the John Muir trail so you don't have to navigate the rocky steps all the way down. Took a total of about 6 hours to do the whole hike including a 30-40 min rest at the top of Nevada falls and lots of stops for pictures on the way up.
Written July 13, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Josh T
Portsmouth, NH185 contributions
Sep 2018 • Couples
The trail is paved most of the way to the falls, with drinking fountains and bathrooms along the route. While the falls weren't roaring in September, the water was still flowing. The hike to the falls is steeper than expected, but beautiful at every step.
Written September 13, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Huddersfield, UK84 contributions
Sep 2019 • Couples
We are experienced hikers and the trail is marked strenuous. I’d say it was moderate if you’re used to hill walking. We parked at Curry village car park and took the shuttle for a couple of stops to the trail head, starting the hike around 8.30am. The hike up to Vernal falls on the mist trail, followed by Nevada falls, returning on the John Muir trail took about 5 hours which included lots of photo stops and a lunch stop at the top. Take plenty of water and pack food in ziplock bags so the wild animals don’t get attracted to it! Wear hiking shoes, not trainers and take sunscreen. The views are incredible
Written October 5, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Showing results 1-10 of 272
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Frequently Asked Questions about Nevada Falls Loop

We recommend booking Nevada Falls Loop tours ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. See all 1 Nevada Falls Loop tours on Tripadvisor