Updated: June 2, 2022 | Has affiliate links

2 Best Yosemite Trails for Seeing Most Waterfalls

Yosemite National Park has many many options for the hiker. You can do a short or long hike, you can do an easy, intermediate or difficult hike. You choose and Yosemite delivers. My most favorite intermediate hike is taking the Mist Trail and going up Vernal and Nevada Falls and coming back on the John Muir Trail. This is where I take friends who come for the first time to Yosemite National Park. It is a beautiful trail.

How to Find the Trailhead for to the Mist Trail

You can’t reach the trail head by car because you can only use the shuttle bus to get around Yosemite. It doesn’t really matter where you park your car as long as you get to one of the shuttle stops. Once you get on the shuttle bus make sure you get off at the Happy Isles bus stop. The trail head is right over the bridge from the bus stop on the right side of the road. You will see signs once you get to the trail head.

The trail is intermediate and it takes about 4 to 5 hours round trip. You can do it a lot faster if you don’t take breaks, but you would be missing a lot if you don’t stop and admire the natural beauty surrounding you.

1. Take the Mist Trail to Nevada Falls

The Mist Trails is by far the most popular trail in Yosemite National Park. This is also the trail that leads up to Half Dome. During the summer months, the Mist Trail is packed with people…literally packed. I have not seen any trail as crowded as the Mist Trail in Yosemite.

The last portion of the Mist Trail right before reaching Emerald Pool.
Yosemite National Park – The last portion of the Mist Trail right before reaching Emerald Pool.
See my pictures from Yosemite

The Mist Trail is popular for good reason. There are two beautiful falls: Vernal and Nevada. Then you have the roaring river and the small and serene lake called Emerald Pool. You also have the mountain peaks that surround the trail all the way. Last but not least, you get the amazing panorama of all these natural wonders. This is one beautiful hike!

2. Return on the John Muir Trail

Once you reach the top of Nevada Falls, you can go back on the Mist Trail if you want to return to Yosemite Valley faster. However, if you want to see amazing panoramic views, cross the bridge at the top of Nevada Fall and return to Yosemite Valley via the John Muir Trail. The John Muir Trail is a little longer but it is definitely worth the time and effort. The views you get to see are indeed amazing.

On a sunny day, the Panorama Trail offers amazing views of Nevada Fall and the surrounding mountain peaks.
Yosemite National Park – On a sunny day, the John Muir Trail offers amazing views of Nevada Fall and the surrounding mountain peaks.
See my pictures from Yosemite

Is the Mist Trail in Yosemite Worth Hiking?

Absolutely! Actually if there is only one hike you have time to do in Yosemite, do the Mist Trail and return on the John Muir Trail. Even though crowded in the summer, the beautiful scenery and majestic waterfalls are absolutely gorgeous and you will get to see the best places in the park.

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