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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.


Top Vernal Falls Flight + Hotel Deals

Top Hotel Deals

See all 244 Properties near Vernal Falls
The Ahwahnee £362
The Ahwahnee

The Ahwahnee

9005 Ahwahnee Drive, Yosemite National Park, CA
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Situated in a national park, this historic hotel is steps away from Ahwahnee Meadow and Yosemite Valley. Yosemite Falls and Yosemite Visitor Center are also within 2 miles (3 km).

    Yosemite Valley Lodge £186
    Yosemite Valley Lodge

    Yosemite Valley Lodge

    9006 Yosemite Lodge Drive, Yosemite National Park, CA
       
      3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Situated in a national park, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Yosemite Valley and Yosemite Falls. Yosemite Visitor Center is 0.8 mi (1.2 km) away.

      Curry Village
      Curry Village

      Curry Village

      9010 Curry Village Dr., Yosemite National Park, CA
         
        2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Situated in Yosemite National Park, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Yosemite Mountaineering School and Yosemite Valley. Yosemite Falls and Yosemite Visitor Center are also within 2 miles (3 km).

        Brookside Cottage
        Brookside Cottage

        Brookside Cottage

        7201 Yosemite Parkway, Yosemite National Park, CA
           
          3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Situated in Yosemite National Park, this cottage is 3.5 mi (5.6 km) from Lukens Lake Trailhead and within 12 miles (20 km) of Yosemite Valley and Olmsted Point. Tenaya Lake and Murphy Creek Trailhead are also within 12 miles (20 km).

          Forest Glen-yw
          Forest Glen-yw

          Forest Glen-yw

          7515 Henness Circle, Yosemite National Park, CA
             
            3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Situated in Yosemite National Park, this holiday home is 3.5 mi (5.6 km) from Lukens Lake Trailhead and within 12 miles (20 km) of Yosemite Valley and Olmsted Point. Tenaya Lake and Murphy Creek Trailhead are also within 12 miles (20 km).

            Timberlodge Cabin
            Timberlodge Cabin

            Timberlodge Cabin

            7458 Yosemite Parkway, Yosemite National Park, CA
               
              3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Situated in Yosemite National Park, this cabin is 3.5 mi (5.6 km) from Lukens Lake Trailhead and within 12 miles (20 km) of Yosemite Valley and Olmsted Point. Tenaya Lake and Murphy Creek Trailhead are also within 12 miles (20 km).

              Scenic Wonders Blue Sky Lodge 3 Bedrooms
              Scenic Wonders Blue Sky Lodge 3 Bedrooms

              Scenic Wonders Blue Sky Lodge 3 Bedrooms

              7594 Azalea Lane, Yosemite National Park, CA
                 
                3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Situated in Yosemite National Park, this cabin is 0.4 mi (0.7 km) from Yosemite National Park and 2.9 mi (4.7 km) from Sierra National Forest. Yosemite Valley and Badger Pass Ski Area are also within 9 miles (15 km).

                Large Vacation Home, Former B&b, Inside Yosemite
                Large Vacation Home, Former B&b, Inside Yosemite

                Large Vacation Home, Former B&b, Inside Yosemite

                7210 Yosemite Park Way, Yosemite National Park, CA
                   
                  0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Situated in the mountains, this holiday home is 0.4 mi (0.6 km) from Yosemite National Park and 2.9 mi (4.7 km) from Sierra National Forest. Yosemite Valley and Badger Pass Ski Area are also within 9 miles (15 km).