This was our first time visiting Yosemite in Autumn. Thanks to my best friend’s visit- all the way from India – with her family, we decided to make a day trip to Yosemite, and ended up hiking Mist Trail to the top of Vernal Fall.
With a thousand feet of elevation gain in little over a mile (2.5 miles round trip), I would rate this as a moderate to strenuous hike. The trail starts at the Happy Isle and goes along Merced River, offering fantastic views of the valley. First three quarters of a mile of paved trail takes you to the footbridge looking up at Vernal Fall. Fun part of the trail begins right here. If you want to proceed to the top of Vernal Fall, you must start climbing (almost) vertical, uneven and slippery granite steps right next to the waterfall. Be prepared to get soaked with a lot of mist from the Varnal Fall as you climb 600+ steps to get to the top.
This is one of the most popular hike in the Yosemite, as it is `doable’ by most, offers the best views of the Valley and the Vernal Fall, offers a lot of `playtime’ in the water and ends with deep sense of achievement, when you look down at the Vernal Fall from the top. We take all of our `out of town’ guests to the top of Vernal Fall via Mist Trail and everyone who has gone, has left with the best memories of the Yosemite.