• Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Loop

  • RT Distance:

    6.3 Miles

Easy Parking
Food Nearby
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Challenging hike to two unbelievable Yosemite waterfalls--expect mist and rainbows. 

The Giant Staircase loop begins at Happy Isles Trailhead and begins with the Vernal Falls hike. At the top of Vernal Falls, continue on the Mist Trail and enjoy switchbacks up to Nevada Falls. At the top the Mist Trail ends at a junction with the John Muir Trail. Nevada falls marks the second of the steps in the Giant Staircase. Stop and enjoy the view and the snacks you (hopefully) brought along with you. 

The John Muir Trail will take you back to where you started the hike. 

Photos: Matt Lingard, L. Braughler, Miguel Palhinha

Pack List

  • Sturdy/grippy shoes
  • Rain jacket
  • Sun protection
  • Layers
  • Water
  • Snacks/lunch
  • Camera
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Reviews

Overall rating: 

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I've hiked the Mist Trail many times, but yesterday I connected it to the JMT for the first time and it was incredible! Definitely go up the Mist Trail and down the JMT to avoid the herds of people that show up on the stairs in the afternoon.

9 months ago
9 months ago

It's a great hike but it's a lot of steps especially with a 40 pound backpack. But the it gives a great view of the waterfall.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

The Outbound Collective Admin

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