Hike the Giant Staircase Loop

Yosemite Happy Isles Trail Head

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

Pack List

  • Sturdy/grippy shoes
  • Rain jacket
  • Sun protection
  • Layers
  • Water
  • Snacks/lunch
  • Camera
Read More

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

Share

Activities:

Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:

Intermediate

Season:

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:

Loop

Distance:

6.3 Miles

Rating:

Features:

Easy Parking
Food Nearby
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

6 months ago

Endless Steps

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.

6 months ago

Added by The Outbound Collective

Your Home For Adventure.

More Adventures Nearby

Hike Golden Canyon, Death Valley

Yosemite / Golden Canyon Trail

Golden Canyon is located about 10 minutes south of Furnace Creek in Death Valley NP, on Badwater Road.

Gustavo Quiros
19 Saves

Camp at Oh Ridge Campground on June Lake

Yosemite / Oh Ridge Campground

Nestled along the shores of picturesque June Lake, is the Oh Ridge campground.

Jamie Fleck
6 Saves

Hike and Fish Hume Lake

Yosemite / Hume Lake Parking

This spot is less than four hours from the Bay Area and offers everything you would ever want to do in the outdoors.

Josh Currie
13 Saves