Yosemite NP: Vernal & Nevada Falls Hike

“To travel is to take a journey into yourself” – Danny Kaye

It’s hard to beat the feeling of hiking to the bottom or top of a waterfall, especially ones as stunning as the ones you come across at Yosemite National Park. During the winter months, which is when we went, portions of the Mist Trail are closed off due to the extreme weather conditions.

Since it was a government shutdown at the time and not much oversight going on, we decided to adventure off trail a little and we hiked the closed off trail anyways!

Even the views walking up to the trailhead are stunning.

The first mile of the trail is paved which makes the incline much easier! Normally the busiest section of the trail but there wasn’t hardly a soul in sight during the winter.

You can still step off trail a little though to get some awesome views and enjoy the water;)

You’ll eventually come to the Y in the trail and see the closed route but you’ll also see the winter route which is open year round. Just be careful!

We took the John Muir Trail (Winter Route) to the top of Vernal Falls. It was breathtaking! This was our first break on the hike before heading to Nevada Falls.

Not far after the top of Vernal Falls we crossed the bridge to the other side of the falls.

The views along the trail get better with every step you take.

We didn’t make it to the top of Nevada Falls due to time but John did hike about 1 mile off trail to the very bottom of them. The views from the bottom, especially during winter, are surreal.

From here, we headed back to the top of Vernal Falls and down some icy stairs to make it back! We weren’t so observant to the closed trail signs this time! It was a warm winter, didn’t snow much, and it was a government shutdown so we hiked back down the closed off Mist Trail. Very much worth it!

Even after you get out of view from the falls, the hike back down is still awesome.

Walking on logs over icy streams won’t get old no matter how old in age we are.

We took a few minutes near the bottom of the trail to have one last moment in the mountains. Not many things more soothing than a flowing stream while surrounded by such dramatic landscape.

Then it was back to the truck and off to future adventures!

Thank You For Reading!


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