5.3.14 – Vernal/Nevada Falls up the Mist Trail


Wife and I took a road trip the past few days and got out on some fun, beautiful day hikes – the first of which involved hiking up the Mist Trail in Yosemite and descending the more graded (and less crowded) JMT.

We parked the car in the hiker overflow lot in the Curry Village lot and hiked about .75 miles to the Happy Isles trailhead. We played around on the flat trails, exploring Happy Isles and the beautiful watershed surrounding it.
IMG_0209 IMG_0210 IMG_0211 IMG_0212 IMG_0213 IMG_0214 IMG_0215 IMG_0216 IMG_0217

After playing at Happy Isles (and warming up/stretching out a little) we hit the hiker highway that leads up to the Mist Trail.
IMG_0218 IMG_0219 IMG_0220 IMG_0221 IMG_0222 IMG_0223 The first .75 miles or so of the Mist Trail is paved. After that, the paved portions are sporadic before turning into stairs. Being that we were there on a Saturday afternoon, there were an awful lot of people on the path.IMG_0224 IMG_0225 IMG_0226 IMG_0227 IMG_0228 IMG_0229 IMG_0230 IMG_0232 IMG_0233At about 1 mile in, the stairs begin in earnest, along with a wicked dousing of mist – hence the name of the trail.
IMG_0234 IMG_0236 IMG_0237 IMG_0238 IMG_0240 IMG_0241 IMG_0242 Finally, after about 1.5 miles or so, we reached the top of Vernal Falls. This is a big turnaround point for lots of tourists and the hike became quite a bit more pleasant for wife and I afterward.

IMG_0243 We continued another 1.5 miles up towards Nevada Falls. This – in my opinion – is the coolest part of the trail. The trail traverses sub-alpine terrain and has fewer stairs with more shade. IMG_0244 IMG_0245 IMG_0246 IMG_0247 Just before Nevada Falls, there is another .2 miles or so of stairs to ascend. No big deal.IMG_0248 IMG_0249 IMG_0250 IMG_0251 IMG_0252 IMG_0253 Finally, after about 3.5 miles of uphill pushing, we arrived at Nevada Falls. The scenary did not disappoint, with awesome views of the valley below and many surrounding monoliths (including Half Dome, El Capitan, and others). IMG_0254 IMG_0255 In an effort to avoid more crowds and the slick stairs back down the Mist Trail, we elected to follow the JMT back to Happy Isles. The JMT is graded very comfortably and less exposed (which my vertigo definitely appreciated).IMG_0256 IMG_0258 IMG_0259 IMG_0260 IMG_0261 IMG_0262We arrived at the terminus of our hike after about 4 hours, feeling accomplished and very hungry for some good dinner!

The stats


Total moving time (parking lot to parking lot): 4:57:00

Total mileage: 10.25 miles

Elevation gain (according to my Garmin): 3,357′ (but I think that may be a bit high)



Posted on May 6, 2014, in hiking and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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