Vernal Fall along the Mist Trail

Photo: Vernal Fall as seen from the Mist Trail, Grand Staircase of the Merced River, above Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California

Photo: Vernal Fall as seen from the Mist Trail, Grand Staircase of the Merced River, above Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California - ID# VLY2-2683
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  The Mist Trail is one of the most famous hikes in Yosemite National Park. The Vernal Fall waterfall is the first major step in what's known as the Grand Staircase of the Merced River. The trail climbs out of Yosemite Valley starting at Happy Isles and climbs steadily until it reaches the Vernal Fall Bridge. Continuing to follow the trail toward the top of Vernal Fall will bring you to a steep rock staircase that in spring and early summer is soaked from the mist spraying off this powerful waterfall. Hikers often carry ponchos to keep their clothes from getting soaked by the cold alpine river waters. After reaching the top of Vernal Fall, there is a great viewing area where you can rest, or you can continue upstream along the Merced River toward Nevada Fall, Little Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, and points beyond.

As beautiful as an attraction as Yosemite's waterfalls are, they are also deadly. There are numerous instances when people playing in the water upstream have slipped, fallen into the river, and been swept to their deaths falling over the edge of the waterfall. (Author's Note: Please heed the safety warnings around all of Yosemite's waterfalls.)


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