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Vernal Fall, Yosemite National Park

#4 of 22 in Nature in Yosemite National Park
Must see · Waterfall · Nature / Park
Surrounded by green foliage, Vernal Fall flows all year round, spraying mist onto the hikers climbing along its steep granite stairway to enjoy the scenery. Plunging from a height of 96 m (317 ft), the fall is accessible via several shaded trails passing along the Merced River and offering exceptional vistas across Yosemite Valley. The trails are fairly strenuous and slippery in places, so watch your step and don't cross the railings. Facilities include several restrooms along the hike and a shuttle stop with drinking water at the Vernal Fall footbridge. Using our world travel planner, Yosemite National Park attractions like Vernal Fall can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
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Vernal Fall reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
1,390 reviews
  • If you are adventurous , this hike is well worth it. The trail to Vernal falls is 1-1/2 miles round trip to footbridge( or about 2-1/2 miles roundtrip to top of falls) and considered to be...  more »
  • We are a mid-50s couple in pretty good shape. I am a regular hiker and my wife exercises daily, so please understand me when I say this is a very, very difficult hike, especially in the heat. The...  more »
  • Elite hike in the spring
  • The walk to Vernal falls is mostly paved. Not super overwhelming(scenery wise), lots of people on the trail. Steep incline. Then 600 stairs. Took us 1hr 50 to get up to vernal with stops. The hike to Nevada falls is much more gorgeous. Less crowded as well. Not paved. Took us about and hour to go from vernal to be Nevada falls, multiple breAks. The incline to Nevada is much easier than the Vernal stairs. We weren’t able to stay at the top very long as we were trying to make it back to the car at 5. We started the trail at I believe 10:30am from upper pines campground parking. Stopped for a quick lunch at Vernal Falls, maybe 20/25 mins max, took breaks walking up. Got to Nevada Falls at 2:10ish, left by about 2:40, got back to our car at 5:12. Stopped along the way briefly a couple times to take super short breaks. Definitely start earlier than we did, would highly suggest getting to the south entrance by 7:30:/7:45 as there was a line(on Saturday, during along weekend). We waited in line for about 20 mins to get into the park. Got in the park about 8:15, got started on our hike by 10:30. If you start earlier you will have more time to actually sit and enjoy the falls, not just pass by. We left early because the park rangers told us the park closes at 5pm. Call ovid time, you also can’t enter earlier than 8am. Shady the whole way to vernal and Nevada, very little sun until at the top of Nevada. 4 stars because Vernal falls was very crowded.

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