John Muir Trail

Video: Hiking to Yosemite Valley Waterfalls

By Michael Lanza

Yosemite Valley gets a bit wetter and louder at this time of year. With snow melting out of the mountains and swelling the park’s creeks and rivers, world-famous waterfalls begin roaring and raining heavy mist onto hikers on the Upper Yosemite Falls Trail, Mist Trail, and other paths. Whether you’ve been there to experience it or just hope to, live it vicariously through this video of dayhiking with my family to the top of America’s tallest waterfall, Upper Yosemite Falls, 2,425 feet above the valley floor, and to 317-foot Vernal Fall and 594-foot Nevada Fall.

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Banner Peak above Thousand Island Lake on the John Muir Trail in the Ansel Adams Wilderness of California's High Sierra.

Ask Me: What Clothing Do You Recommend for August in the High Sierra?

Hi Michael,

I have been enjoying your adventure posts immensely; keep up the great work!

I lead hikes for the local chapter of the Sierra Club in Tucson, and in mid-August we’ll be doing a 7-day backpacking adventure in the High Sierra. We’ll be accessing the John Muir Trail, with elevations ranging from 9,000 to 12,000 feet. How cold can it get at this time of year and what clothes/protection would you recommend? Would a light windbreaker over a fleece with gloves and hat be sufficient? Or would you recommend a down jacket, etc.?

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The "diving board," summit of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park.

Ask Me: Is Early June Too Early For Hiking Mount Whitney and in Yosemite?

Michael,

My wife and I, mid-30s, are planning a getaway week (from our kids 3 and 5) for the first week of June. We’ve booked cheap round-trip flights from Cleveland (900’ above sea level) to Las Vegas. I scored permits to overnight on Mount Whitney June 8-9. Our itinerary includes Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite, hike to Cathedral Lakes (or beyond), backpack over Clouds Rest, camp near junction with John Muir Trail. Half Dome early a.m., descend Mist Trail to Yosemite Valley. Free Day in Yosemite (North Rim dayhike?). Summit Whitney.

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A view from the John Muir Trail of Half Dome, Liberty Cap, and Nevada Fall in Yosemite National Park.

The Magic of Hiking to Yosemite’s Waterfalls

By Michael Lanza

My seven-year-old daughter, Alex, is engaged in some heavy intellectual lifting. I can tell by the way she stares quietly, her brow knitted in thought, at Upper Yosemite Falls. We’ve hiked for 90 minutes up a thousand vertical feet of hot, dusty trail above Yosemite Valley to stand below this curtain of water that plunges a sheer 1,430 feet off a cliff, ripping through the air with a sound like fighter jets buzzing us.

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