Saturday, August 6, 2011

Yosemite NP - Nevada Fall Hike

I've been to Yosemite Valley several times before and I went for many hikes there. They were all good, offering great views, good trails and many of them culminated at waterfalls making the hikes even more attractive. The only problem with all these hikes is that they are hikers' highways and no matter what time of the year or day you go there, you are bound to meet hundreds of other nature lovers.

The Nevada Fall hike was not exception to this rule. It was lovely, but very busy with hikers.

The trailhead for the hike is at Happy Isles, near the shuttle stop number 16. From there, one has to cross the road bridge on the Merced River and follow the trail on its east (true right) bank. Soon the trail becomes paved and starts ascending gently to reach the Vernal Fall footbridge from which there are fantastic views of Vernal Fall and Merced River (see the photo below). A few minutes after the bridge there is a fork in the trail. The trail to the right is the John Muir Trail, which I took to get to the Nevada Fall. The falls can also be reached by the other trail, the Mist Trail, which is shorter and steeper. As it was raining, I decided against hiking on the latter as I was worried that it would be too slippery. However, in future I'll try to make the full loop and hike to the Nevada Falls on the John Muir Trail and return back to Yosemite Valley on the Mist Trail.

The hike, depending on the route chosen, is around 6-7 miles long, ascends 1850ft, and takes around 3.5 hours to complete.

Vernal Fall and Merced River from the Vernal Fall fotbridge:

Above the clouds:

First sight of Nevada Falls and Liberty Cap:

Nevada Falls:

Nevada Falls and Merced River viewed from the top of the falls: