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Vernal Fall is a large waterfall on the Merced River just downstream of Nevada Fallmarker in Yosemite National Parkmarker, Californiamarker.

While the official height of the waterfall is , the United States Geographical Survey has measured it at approximately . The feature is accessible via the Mist Trailmarker, which climbs close enough to the fall so that hikers must travel through the fall's mist. It is also clearly visible from Glacier Pointmarker.

The waterfall runs all year long, although by the end of summer it is substantially reduced in volume and can split into multiple strands, rather than a single curtain of water.

Yan-o-pah (little cloud) was the local name of the fall before rechristened as "Vernal" by Lafayette Bunnell, a member of the Mariposa Brigade in 1851.

Hiking trail

US postage stamp erroneously depicting Vernal Fall


Hikers will start at the Happy Islesmarker trail head in Yosemite Valleymarker. This is one of the shortest ( )—though in places steep—and most popular trails in Yosemite. The trail is mostly shaded and is progressive in incline until you reach the base of the waterfall where mist sprays onto the hikers. Depending on the time of the year hikers can be totally drenched by the time they pass the mist from the waterfall. The final 15 minutes of the trail is a very steep climb up rocks to the top of the waterfall. Once atop the falls there is a pool of water called the Emerald Poolmarker around which hikers lounge and rest. There is also a 20 degree slope of rock with water flowing into the pool called the Silver Apron. Ten people have died in the last decade by entering the water above Vernal Falls, including the Silver Apron and Emerald Pool. In fact, one person died in May 2007 after hopping from rock to rock around the falls. Strong undercurrents exist that may not be visible from the surface. Clearly, swimming above a waterfall can carry with it a great deal of risk, and it is against the park rules; nevertheless, almost every summer several tourists are swept over the Yosemite Valley's waterfalls to their deaths.

Postage stamp

The fall is shown in error on a 1932 Philippines stamp. Although the stamp indicates that it depicts the Pagsanjan Fallsmarker in the Philippines, it in fact shows the Vernal Fall.

References

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