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Vernal Fall

The first tier of the Merced River’s magnificent waterfall plunges from a jagged granite precipice in a cloud-like curtain and is surrounded by pines.

Make your way along Yosemite’s signature hike, the Mist Trail, to experience the grandeur of Vernal Fall. See the magnificent 317-foot (97-meter) waterfall by walking along the short and shady pathway, which presents unbeatable views along its length. Reach the top to rest next to a tranquil pool of water or continue onward to the thundering cascades of Nevada Fall.

Begin your stroll at the trailhead near Happy Isles and follow the trail south and east through Yosemite Valley. Stretching 1.2 miles (1.9 kilometers) between the start and the top of Vernal Fall, the short trail has a moderate incline and is mostly shaded by pines. Reach the base of the waterfall and look up at the vast curtain of water leaping from the Merced River. In the springtime, when the water flow is strongest, you’ll be drenched with a refreshing mist of cool mountain water.

During the last 30 minutes of the walk, climb up the rocky staircase that leads to the peak of the fall. Stand on the precipice of the fall and admire the water surging off the edge. Take a seat on a rock next to the serene waters of Emerald Pool and Silver Apron and enjoy the atmosphere created by the scene and sounds of the water thundering below. Snap photographs of the monumental rock formation and fine mists rising from the plumes of water.

For an even greater challenge, continue onward to Nevada Fall. The round trip via both waterfalls is 5.4 miles (8.7 kilometers) or approximately 5 or 6 hours total time. Another route to the waterfalls is via the Muir Trail; however, this trail is somewhat longer.

The closest parking for the Vernal Fall hike is a short distance east of Half Dome Village in Yosemite National Park. You can also park elsewhere in the valley and ride the regular free shuttle buses to the trailhead. Restrooms are located along the Mist Trail. Bring rainwear unless you don’t mind wearing a little of the waterfall home with you.


Guide to Exploring around Vernal Falls


Map

Lodging Near Vernal Falls

See all 254 Hotels near Vernal Falls
$99
Yosemite View Lodge

Yosemite View Lodge

11136 Highway 140, El Portal
3.8
of 5, from 2,176 reviews
2.5 out of 5.0

This vacation lodge fronts the wild Merced River and is just 2 miles from the entrance to Yosemite National Park.

$366
Inside Yosemite Spring Wonderland

Inside Yosemite Spring Wonderland

7428B Yosemite Parkway, Yosemite National Park
5.0
of 5, from 1 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Yosemite National Park, this vacation home is within 12 mi (20 km) of Badger Pass, Tunnel View, and Bridalveil Fall. El Capitan and Pioneer Yosemite History Center are also within 16 mi (25 km).

$340
Yosemite West Scenic Wonders Vacation Rentals

Yosemite West Scenic Wonders Vacation Rentals

Various Addresses, Yosemite National Park
4.6
of 5, from 17 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

These cabins are located throughout the area in Yosemite National Park.

$366
Inside Yosemite Mountain Beauty

Inside Yosemite Mountain Beauty

7436 Henness Ridge Road, Yosemite National Park
4.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Yosemite National Park, this vacation home is within 12 mi (20 km) of Badger Pass, Tunnel View, and Bridalveil Fall. El Capitan and Pioneer Yosemite History Center are also within 16 mi (25 km).

$402
Inside Yosemite Sierra Blossom

Inside Yosemite Sierra Blossom

7432 Henness Ridge Road, Yosemite National Park
4.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Yosemite National Park, this vacation home is within 12 mi (20 km) of Badger Pass, Tunnel View, and Bridalveil Fall. El Capitan and Pioneer Yosemite History Center are also within 16 mi (25 km).

$403
Inside Yosemite Park Winter Wonderland

Inside Yosemite Park Winter Wonderland

7428 Yosemite Parkway, Yosemite National Park
4.0
of 5, from 1 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Yosemite National Park, this vacation home is within 12 mi (20 km) of Badger Pass, Tunnel View, and Bridalveil Fall. El Capitan and Pioneer Yosemite History Center are also within 16 mi (25 km).

$366
Inside Yosemite Lower Cascades

Inside Yosemite Lower Cascades

7426 Yosemite Parkway, Yosemite National Park
4.0
of 5, from 2 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Yosemite National Park, this vacation home is within 12 mi (20 km) of Badger Pass, Tunnel View, and Bridalveil Fall. El Capitan and Pioneer Yosemite History Center are also within 16 mi (25 km).

$366
Inside Yosemite Upper Cascades

Inside Yosemite Upper Cascades

7426A Yosemite Parkway, Yosemite National Park
1.0
of 5, from 1 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Yosemite National Park, this vacation home is within 12 mi (20 km) of Badger Pass, Tunnel View, and Bridalveil Fall. El Capitan and Pioneer Yosemite History Center are also within 16 mi (25 km).