One of the most famous hikes in Yosemite Valley climbs up close and personal to not just one, but two waterfalls.
The Vernal Falls/Nevada Falls loop is a moderate (though some might argue challenging) 6.8 mile hike that ascends an estimated 200 flights of stairs worth of elevation and burns around 1,500 calories. Naturally, my friend Iris and I likely consumed all those calories on the way up, as the views of the valley were practically begging us to stop for lunch at many scenic vistas.
The hike starts at the Happy Isles traihead just a mile away from Curry Village, and continues on to the John Muir Trail. After crossing a footbridge, continue towards Vernal Falls up towards 500 granite steps. Make sure to pack sturdy hiking shoes with solid grips on the bottom and a waterproof jacket, because there’s a high likelihood that you’ll get wet (I’d worn my New Balance Minimus shoes and Rab softshell, but wish I’d brought along my North Face Summit Series Gore-Tex after being sprayed by waterfall mist as I ascended the stairs).