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Vernal Falls Mist Walk

Albuquerque
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44 posts
9 reviews
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Vernal Falls Mist Walk

Arriving YNP next week,

Was thinking of taking the trail up to the top of Vernal Falls but now apprehensive after hearing a hiker fell to his death from the trail last weekend.

Was the high water from the snow melt making the trail more dangerous due to more water underfoot a factor ? I have been told one mistep on the steep section

can mean a fall as when the trail is packed there is no room for error.

Washington State
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for Yosemite National Park
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1. Re: Vernal Falls Mist Walk

Hikers always need to take care, but accidents happen. We are not allowed to discuss accidental death here on the TripAdvisor forums, but you can contact the NPS to discuss your concerns.

I hope that you have a wonderful visit. Perhaps going up Mist Trail during less crowded times (really early in the morning or late in the day) will be easier to get up and down the steps.

I recently read that peak water flow is predicted for the second week of June. The waterfalls will all be tremendously full.

Oakland, California
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for Yosemite National Park
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2. Re: Vernal Falls Mist Walk

I would say go as far as you feel comfortable; I took the picture in my avatar at the spot where I felt was as far as I could go that time, and it was still worth the hike. Wear good traction shoes, bring a poncho, and if you wear contacts, wear them instead of glasses because your glasses will get wet and fogged up. I also feel more confident on that trail with a hiking stick. And of course, stay on trail and take your time.

There's a bridge with your first view of the falls that does not require walking along the wet upper granite "Staircase" that gets you up along side the falls themselves. Hike that far, then assess the situation. You can also hike a little farther and turn around.

Mariposa, California
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for Yosemite National Park
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3. Re: Vernal Falls Mist Walk

As usual, great advice from the other DE'S.

Another alternative, take the John Muir Trail to the top of Vernal Fall. You won't be walking right next to the waterfall, but you'll still have nice distance views from the bridge, then views of both Vernal/Nevada falls from a distance at Clark Point, and then the fun of standing at the railing at the top of Vernal Fall. JMT is dirt switchbacks, but you still have those great scenery points.

Personally, I feel more confident going up the stairs than coming down on the Mist Trail. It may all be an illusion, but I feel like i have more...control? Whereas coming down, gravity seems to have more control. So another alternative might be to go up the Mist, down the JMT.

As mentioned above, if at any point you're feeling trepidation on the trail, stop, and turn around. Even if you go just to the footbridge, you will have an amazing view right now, and watching the cascades on your way up to the footbridge will also be great.

Have a great time!

Albuquerque
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44 posts
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4. Re: Vernal Falls Mist Walk

Thanks for the input , will take all the precautions suggested.

San Antonio, Texas
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5. Re: Vernal Falls Mist Walk

I agree with marmot; going up the Mist Trail is MUCH easier than coming down it in high flow. The time I came down it in high flow I found it to feel pretty dangerous, but that was mostly because I had on an old pair of rundown shoes that had the grip worn off. Even in those going up was easy though. If you bring trekking poles or a stick like suggested above, I doubt even coming down will be too tough or risky though. The steps are also pretty wide. Plus you could just go up the Mist Trail and come down the John Muir Trail. The Mist Trail up to Vernal Falls is a can't-miss for someone in decent or better shape and spending time in Yosemite Valley on a first trip.

San Antonio, Texas
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6. Re: Vernal Falls Mist Walk

To add to macjack's suggestions, women should not wear white, lol.

Oakland, California
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for Yosemite National Park
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7. Re: Vernal Falls Mist Walk

Good point- major wet t-shirt action on that trail!

Again, a poncho is important, and if you've got them, synthetic wickable athletic type tops and shorts/pants, because they will dry quickly. Who likes to hike in soaking wet clothes?

Seattle
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for Grand Canyon National Park
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8. Re: Vernal Falls Mist Walk

I wish the would restrict the Mist Trail to one-way travel, up only. The trail is not inherently dangerous, but it can get tricky when people going opposite directions try to pass one another in the narrow spots.

As suggested, hiking poles help make one more secure.

I actually suffer from a bit of vertigo and anxiety in very exposed places, but I have no trouble with the Mist Trail, as long as it is not crowded. The steps are well made and secure. Just stay away from the edge!

NW Ohio
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9. Re: Vernal Falls Mist Walk

We did this hike last year in early June, and it was our favorite!!

Do as the others have stated - waterproof shoes, hiking poles, ponchos. Go UP the Mist Trail and then John Muir. That is what we did as there is NO way I was going to go down the granite steps. I agree with the previous poster - I felt much more in control going up. It does get scary as you are walking in water and can barely see due to the mist, but it is amazing!! Just one foot in front of the other, one step at a time. Once you reach the top and everyone is up there drying off, it will all be worth it!

This is a must do in Yosemite!

Heidi

10. Re: Vernal Falls Mist Walk

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