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Hike the Giant Staircase Loop

Yosemite Valley, California

based on 2 reviews



6.3 miles

Route Type



Added by The Outbound Collective

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

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Hike the Giant Staircase Loop Reviews

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.

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.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


Half Dome via the Mist Trail

Vernal & Nevada Falls via Happy Isles

Thru-Hike the John Muir Trail

Snow Creek Trail

Mirror Lake

Hike to Hidden Falls (aka Tenaya Creek Falls)