Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous
Distance: Vernal Fall footbridge: 1.6 miles/2.6 km round-trip; 1.5 hours, top of Vernal Falls: 3 miles/4.8 km round-trip; 3 hours
Elevation: 1,000 feet/366 m elevation gain to reach the top of Vernal Fall
Begin at Happy Isles (shuttle stop #16). You'll find an excellent view of Vernal Fall from the footbridge at 0.75 miles (1.3 km). Beyond the bridge, at 0.2 miles, the Mist Trail and the John Muir Trail diverge. To proceed directly to the top of Vernal Fall, follow the Mist Trail 0.5 mile (0.8 km) up a steep granite stairway of over 600 steps. Prepare for slippery footing and a tremendous amount of waterfall spray in spring and early summer. This portion of trail is closed in winter due to risk of falling ice and rock. Mist Trail closed in winter, but access available via the John Muir Trail, which may be snowy).