Though Half Dome is Yosemite’s most famous hike, this is definitely its signature one, and for good reason too! Whereas most trailheads have just one spectacular view located at the end, The Mist Trail offers a multitude of spectacles throughout its entirety. You will be able to experience the bridge overlook, the gorgeous cliff faces of Yosemite and, at the very end, two of Yosemite’s rock-star Waterfalls, the Vernal and Nevada falls. Best of all, not only will you just be able to see them, you will be close enough to be spattered with the mist as the waterfalls fall a combined total of more than 900 feet. Add in the view of the Nevada Fall, Liberty Cap, and the back of Half Dome that you discover right before you turn around and go back, and you get a trail that you won’t easily forget!
Distance and Hiking Time
There are many ways you can tackle this trail, but most will end up taking you around 2-5 hours, depending on how far you go. It is a 3 mile trip to Vernal Fall, 7 miles round trip to Nevada Fall, and an extra 1.5 miles on top of that if you leave from Curry Village instead of taking a shuttle bus to a trailhead, so make your arrangements accordingly
The trail isn’t exceedingly difficult—ranking in at only a medium in our book—but it can get more strenuous if you decide to hike the entirety of the 7-mile walk to Nevada Falls. Furthermore, there are points beside Vernal and Nevada falls that are a bit steep; fortunately, if you wish, you can avoid these difficult portions and just watch the sight from the bridge.
4,000 feet at trailhead, 1,000 feet gain to top of Vernal Fall, 1,900 Feet gain to top of Nevada Fall. Keep this in mind if you don’t do well with heights, or if you are trying to avoid a more strenuous hike.