How Long Is The Hike To The Top Of Vernal Falls? (SOLVED!)

Getting There: In Yosemite Valley, follow the signs to Curry Village 😎 From Curry Village, a good place to park, hike southeastish on Southside Drive until you reach the trailhead or catch a ride on one of the free shuttle buses 😊 Alternately, you can check the trailhead parking lot, which is roughly half a mile past Curry Village and another half mile or so short of the trailhead itself. This lot tends to fill up early with people doing the Half Dome hike, though. Private vehicles aren’t allowed on the road past the trailhead parking lot, so you can’t drive all the way to the trailhead. [1]
True Confessions: See the photo of Vernal Fall at the top of the page? That’s not actually the view from the Vernal Fall footbridge. The passage of time and concomitant growing of trees have rendered the view of the falls from the footbridge less spectacular than it used to be. It’s still worth the trip, but if you’ve made it all the way to the footbridge, you really should proceed a few hundred meters farther up the trail to get a clearer view of this world-class waterfall. If you’re looking for a turnaround point, just keep going until you first feel the spray from the falls (assuming it’s springtime or early summer and the falls are near peak flow). It’s not really a trip to Yosemite if you don’t take a little bit of Vernal Fall back with you. (emended by Janet Myers from Monrovia, Liberia on October 2, 2021) [2]
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Nicole Leone at reveal how vernal Fall is only 317 ft (96 m) tall but it is among the most powerful waterfalls in Yosemite. Unlike Yosemite Fall or Bridalveil Fall, Vernal cannot be viewed from the valley floor by car. To see it you must get on the trail. Luckily you have lots of options. The easiest path is along a well-marked path that begins near the Happy Isles Nature Center. You can a free shuttle bus to Happy Isles Nature Center or walk there from Curry Village. From there follow the trailhead to Vernal Fall footbridge (about 1 mile) or continue on to the top of the waterfall. This is a great option if you want to wander through the mist of this very powerful waterfall. (last emended 17 days ago by Georgianna Corbett from La Plata, Argentina) [3]
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Based on a new article from, the hike starts from Happy Isles (shuttle stop #16). You can also hike from Half Dome Village (formerly Curry Village) and add about 1 1/2 – 2 miles round trip to your hike along an easy paved trail. The actual trailhead is very easy to find and the route takes you up one and a half miles with an elevation gain of over 1,000 feet. While this is not a long hike, it is intense since the distance is short for that much elevation gain. It is fairly straight up. However, by the time you have completed the hike up, you will have experienced some unparalleled beauty, a raging waterfall in a lush green setting, mist covering you along parts of the trail and possibly a rainbow from the spray of the falls. (we thank Flor Lugo for their response). [4]
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Kelly-Anne Kidston

Written by Kelly-Anne Kidston

I am a writer of many words, from fiction to poetry to reviews. I am an avid reader and a lover of good books. I am currently writing my first novel and would love to find some beta readers who are interested in getting an early look.

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