Despite being steep, often wet, and sometimes dangerous, the Mist Trail is Yosemite’s hallmark hike, with breathtaking views of the valley and two waterfalls. Be warned, though, that it’s called the Mist Trail for a reason: Much of the thigh-burning hike is cut into stone alongside Vernal Fall and, depending on how much water is flowing (especially in the spring), the steps will be very slippery and you’ll get soaked. Bring rain gear and climb carefully. At the top of Vernal Fall (about 1.5 miles from the valley floor), you’ll find the Emerald Pool, which can look very inviting for a dip but, in fact, has extremely cold water and lethally strong currents—obey the signs and do not swim. Above the pool, a bridge will take you up to the other side and, eventually, to Nevada Fall. You can return the same way or, better yet, connect at Nevada Fall to the John Muir Trail, which is slightly longer but much gentler on the knees coming down. It also offers an incredible look back at Nevada Fall and the back side of Half Dome.