Due to icy conditions in the winter months, parts of the Mist Trail and the John Muir Trail are closed. Portions of the trails have overhanging rock where large icicles form and fall onto the trail below. These trail sections (including stone steps of the Mist Trail) become covered in a thick layer of slippery, treacherous ice.
To reach the top of Vernal Fall, hike the John Muir Trail to Clark Point, where the trail forks. The right fork (John Muir Trail) will be gated shut, so follow the left fork downhill to reach the Mist Trail junction just a few minutes upstream of Vernal Fall. A left turn here brings you to the top of Vernal Fall, while a right turn follows the Mist Trail uphill to Nevada Fall.