Nevada Fall Loop – 6.8mi / 10.9km
Experience two incredible waterfalls with this popular loop. The paved path starts on the other side of the bridge from the Happy Isles shuttle stop and parallels the Merced River as it splashes over large, granite boulders.
While initially level, the trail quickly begins to climb until it reaches the bridge over the river with your first glimpse at Vernal Fall. At the bridge is a restroom and fresh drinking water. Continue as it transitions to dirt and stay left onto the Mist Trail along the river to Vernal Fall. It exits the forest to a stone staircase (be careful as they can be slick). Mist blows out from this powerful waterfall giving the trail its namesake. You have a front row seat at this wonderful curtain of water plunging 300ft/100m over streaked granite. Follow the trail up to the brink of Vernal Fall.
Further up the trail you pass the lovely Emerald Pool that is fed by the cascade called Silver Apron that fans out over the granite. Nevada Fall comes into view before the trail wiggles its way through switchbacks up alongside it. At the top of the climb, take a right onto the John Muir Trail (JMT) and over a bridge above the waterfall. There are breathtaking views of this powerful waterfall on both sides as it drops 594ft/181m into the valley below. Continue straight along the JMT. This section of trail begins with stunning views, then descends into the trees on your way to the trailhead.
Trailhead: Take the free bus shuttle to the Happy Isles/Mist Trail stop #16, or drive to the trailhead parking past the Half Dome Village and walk 0.5mi/0.7km to the trailhead.
Elevation Gain: 2,400ft / 720m – Elevation Loss: 2,400ft / 720m