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Yosemite National Park: Mist Trail

A short 3-mile out-and-back full of rainbows, waterfalls, and sprawling mountainside views, this Yosemite classic isn’t called the Mist Trail for nothing.

Rating

With waterfalls come rainbows—and Yosemite’s short, moderate Mist Trail allows hikers of all abilities to promenade beneath them. Crossing the Happy Isles Bridge, head right on a paved path toward Vernal Falls Bridge and Mist Trail’s only view of Illilouette Falls. Bushwhack uphill to Sierra Point and witness the downpour of four fantastic falls: Illilouette, Vernal, Nevada, and Yosemite. After walking over the next footbridge, turn left to catch the first glance of Vernal Falls. Bear left at the three-way junction, staying on Mist Trail. Don’t forget to pack raingear, which is necessary while ascending the granite steps to Vernal Falls. After reaching the falls’ summit—and turnaround point of this trip—take a moment to enjoy the lagoon-like Silver Apron and Emerald Pool. Retrace your route back to the trailhead.

MORE INFO: Yosemite National Park, (209) 372-020; nps.gov/yose/

Mapped by Dave Miller

To Trailhead

From Spruce Lane and CA 140 in El Portal, head northeast on CA 140/Yosemite All-Year Hwy. In 8.5 miles, turn right on CA 140. In 2.4 miles, continue straight onto Southside Dr. In 3.7 miles, turn right to stay on Southside Dr. In 0.5 mile, turn right onto Happy Isle Loop. Go 0.5 mile to trailhead.

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