The hike to Vernal Fall is three miles (4.8k). This sounds easy and “totally doable” but, I am warning you now, most of the trail is on a 60˚ angle. It’s a killer. Ten minutes into it my calf muscles were stabbing me with little needles begging for a rest.
Luckily, there are a few places to catch your breath. The first is the bridge overlook. This is your last chance to use a proper toilet and refill water bottles. You’ll get a glimpse of Vernal Fall here and consider heading back down the trail. The hike does get harder from this point but a cute overweight squirrel will encourage you by mouthing, “keep on going, lazy”. You will laugh, feel recharged and continue on.
The misty part of the Mist Trail begins just after the bridge overlook. By this point any and all forms of water are welcome. Don’t underestimate how much mist will actually spray at you though. We had our camera in hand and, almost, regretted it later.
You’ll come face-to-face with the gorgeous Vernal Fall at this point. It will feel like if you lean in hard enough or make a jump for it, you could touch it.
You want to see the waterfall from over top. The railing along the viewing platform will be littered with people. Wait your turn but definitely push in there. You’ll also find a lot of open space to sit, enjoy a snack and talk to more squirrels.