The Mist Trail in Yosemite is probably the most popular of the Valley trails. It is short at only 1.5 miles (2.4K) but every step is up. The name of the trail comes from the fact that towards the end you are enveloped in a cloud of mist from Vernal Falls and will be thoroughly soaked by the time you reach the top. This is all great fun on a hot summer day. Our visit was at the end of summer and at a time when the water levels were very low. I've done this hike countless times but never have been able to see where the falls hit bottom due to the tremendous volume of water. The video reveals what the bottom looks like; a first for me. Notice the black stain on the face of the rock wall where the water falls, that is the normal width of Vernal Falls.
At the end of the video you'll see the metal railing to keep people back. It isn't uncommon for the water to occasionally splash at your feet while standing at the fence. Even though it is posted to stay back, there are always those who do otherwise. Last year two people were swept over the falls. Another thing to bear in mind while watching the video is how narrow the steps are. I talked with a man who was there this summer. He told me that there is a solid line of people coming up the trail everyday. You are forced to move at the pace of the slowest person for going around anyone, there are not that many places to do so. Now consider people trying to come back down at the same time on very wet slippery rock steps amid all the pushing and shoving!
I edited the movie down quite a bit but even still it is a bit on the long side at 7 minutes. I left it as such for there those who will never be able to go to Yosemite and so that they can enjoy a bit more than just a brief view. The video is of the latter half of the trail. The first half is an asphalt trail and not that photogenic. One can continue on to the top of Nevada Falls. From there you enter the back country of Little Yosemite Valley where hiking 4 miles more brings you to the base of Half Dome. The number of people climbing to the top of Half Dome became so great that the Park Service now requires a permit to do so, limiting the permits to 300 per day. I suspect the day may come that the Mist Trail will be under a similar restriction.
Notice the couple coming down at 1:30 into the video. He has a child carrier on his back and is packing his 2 year old son down. His wife behind him, probably all of 120lbs, packed the kid all the way up! She wasn't comfortable with her footing coming down and let her husband do that half. Impressive to say the least.