Make your way up an immense natural staircase to reach the powerful plumes of this magnificent waterfall and enjoy views of the gleaming water-streaked granite.
Nevada Fall leaps into Little Yosemite Valley from a rugged granite outcrop, its misty cascades appearing to fall like a snowy avalanche from the sheer rock precipice. The 594-foot (181-meter) waterfall is distinctive for its turbulent white water, with a fine mist creating an array of rainbows on a sunny day. Hike to the magnificent waterfall or spot the cascade from high above at Glacier Point.
Embark on a journey to the waterfall by hiking along one of two trails and take in stunning views of the water cascading down the Merced River as you climb. The most popular route is the Mist Trail, a 5.4-mile (8.7-kilometer) track that winds up the magnificent wooded valley to the top of Nevada Fall after passing Vernal Fall.
View the tiered falls from a footbridge over the Merced River at the beginning of the trail before continuing up a colossal granite stairway with more than 600 steps. From Vernal Fall, look directly down the plumes of water and into the valley below.
Continue uphill to reach the tranquil Emerald Pool, which splits the two waterfalls. This second section of the walk has steep and rocky switchbacks, but the views of the waterfall along the way are worth the effort. Spring and early summer bring the most impressive views, when snowmelt fills the river and the falls are their most thunderous.
The John Muir Trail is a longer trek and presents different views of Nevada Fall and Liberty Cap. It is approximately 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) each way. If you plan to do this walk, bring plenty of water. You can also connect with the hike to Half Dome from the Nevada Fall trail.
Both trails begin at the Happy Isles trailhead and can be accessed year-round. Note that in winter the route may have some alterations due to icy conditions. The trail has restrooms in three locations. Reach Nevada Fall in Yosemite National Park by driving to Half Dome Village and catching the Valley Visitor Shuttle. This service operates daily and stops at the trailhead.