You’ll find an excellent view of Vernal Fall from the footbridge at 0.75 miles (1.3 km). Beyond the bridge, at 0.2 miles, the Mist Trail and the John Muir Trail diverge.
You can also take the John Muir Trail to the top of Vernal Fall (via the Clark Point cutoff) and the top of Nevada Fall, or combine the Mist Trail and John Muir Trail into a loop. See the map, profile, and description below for more information.
To proceed directly to the top of Vernal Fall, follow the Mist Trail 0.5 mile (0.8 km) up a steep granite stairway of over 600 steps. Prepare for slippery footing and a tremendous amount of waterfall spray in spring and early summer. Trail is usually accessible throughout the autumn season. Vernal Fall Mist Trail is closed in winter, but access is available via the John Muir Trail, which may be snowy.
Hikers can reach the top of Nevada Fall by continuing 1.3 miles (2.1 km) along the Mist Trail (from Vernal Fall). The John Muir Trail also leads to the top of Nevada Fall (bypassing Vernal Fall). The portion of the John Muir Trail between Clark Point and the top of Nevada Fall is closed in winter.
More information and maps can be found on the NPS website here.