One of the most iconic hikes in Yosemite, the Mist Trail leads hikers to not one, but two of Yosemite's standout waterfalls: Vernal and Nevada Falls. You can reach the Vernal Fall footbridge (the best view of Vernal Fall) in about 1.5 mile (2.6 km) round-trip; be prepared for a three mile (4.8 km) to reach Vernal Fall. The hike isn't difficult if you stop at the footbridge, but if you continue up to Vernal Fall, be prepared for steps cut into the cliff side.
Pushing on to Nevada Fall will take your total up to a seven mile (11 km) round trip, but it's worth it for some of the finest views in all of Yosemite, encompassing Nevada Fall, Liberty Cap, and the back side of Half Dome. You'll get close enough to the falls that you’ll feel the spray kiss your face and clothes, so wear proper clothing and exercise caution when hiking on the slick rocks.
This is a popular hike, so it can get very crowded during peak season. An alternate route down is to follow the John Muir trail, which is less crowded (and less slippery) than heading down Mist Trail. To get to the Mist Trail trailhead, take the free shuttle to Happy Isles (shuttle stop #16) or park in the trailhead parking lot, which is roughly half a mile past Curry Village and another half mile or so short of the trailhead itself. This lot tends to fill up early as it also services hikers attempting to summit Half Dome. Mist Trail is closed in winter.