The Mist Trail to Vernal Falls (Staying Dry)

Vernal Falls, 2009

In my previous post (, I might have mentioned that should you elect to head up the last .5 miles on the Mist Trail, you will get wet. I did, however, leave myself a slight out by saying that should you manage to time it right, you can walk aside the falls and still stay dry. Should you head up the trail in late fall, shortly before the first snows of the year, you will likely find it like I did in 2009 when I shot these pictures.

Vernal Falls, 2009 

Note the discrepancy between the water (and snow/ice) levels in these shots from the pictures taken in the previous post – these photos were taken almost exactly a year apart from 2009 to 2010, give or take a couple days. If it’s a late winter, you probably can expect to have conditions like this on the trail into mid-to-late November, but if it’s an early winter, you can expect conditions like the 2010 shots before. It should go without saying, but keep an eye on the conditions prior to your trip, because you never know what you will occur weather wise in the mountains.

In my experience, you can also find the falls at low flow like this at times in winter, when they are iced over, and sometimes in early spring before the snowpack up in the Sierras begins to melt. But, if you want to stay dry without risking ice and or snow, late fall is your best bet, and also a great time to do the hike, as the trees will be changing colors and losing their leaves.


Directions: Same as the post before. (


See you on the trail!