Mist Falls is a 9 mile out and back hike located in Kings Canyon National Park in California. This waterfall hike is one of the most popular ones in the National Park and a great option for a day hike. Mist Falls typically runs well into the fall unlike many other seasonal waterfalls in the area. The hike starts at the end of the road parking area in Kings Canyon National Park.
Mist Falls Quick Facts
Virtual Trail Guide: Mist Falls
Mist Falls Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 Stars)
Distance: 9 Miles RT
Elevation Start: 5,049ft
High Point: 5,801ft
Total Elevation Gain: 920ft
Estimated Time to Complete: 4-5 Hours RT
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate What does this mean?
Class: Class 1 What does this mean?
Season: May – November – Expect road closures outside of this period.
Directions to Mist Falls
Trailhead: Mist Falls / End of Road
Getting Here: First navigate to Grant Grove Village in Kings Canyon National Park. From here, follow the only road, CA Highway 180, until it comes to an end.
Parking: There is a rather large parking lot at the end of the road in Kings Canyon with nonplumbing bathrooms and a park ranger station. Many hikes start from this spot but I don’t anticipate running out of parking.
Fee: $35 as of 2022, visit this page for more information.
Reservations: As of 2022, reservations are NOT required to enter Kings Canyon National Park.
Dogs: Dogs are not allowed on this hike or any other hikes in Kings Canyon National Park.
Hike Xfactor(s): Water Level
With any waterfall, the water level is going to have a massive effect on the overall experience of the hike. We visited Mist Falls late in October and it still had plenty of water flowing but not too much so that we could get very close and explore the rocks around the area. If you are visiting this one in the early spring, it is likely the falls will be much stronger than the fall.
- Be Bear aware when hiking Mist Falls, we saw four different bears on our hike. While they were not aggressive towards us, you should still treat them with respect and give the bears plenty of space if you encounter one.
Best Views: Once you start climbing up to Mist Falls, the views on this hike are just awesome. There are some great spots to see back towards the valley and overlooks down to the stream below. At Mist Falls itself, there are so many different spots to explore, just be careful on the wet rocks.
Mist Falls Hike Route
- Men’s Trail Runners
- Women’s Trail Runners
- La Sportiva Trango Hiking Boots (Men’s)
- La Sportiva Trango Hiking Boots (Women’s)
- Backpack (Winter)
- Backpack (Summer)
- Food & Water
- Optional: Hiking Poles – 120CM
- Optional: Garmin inReach
- Optional: Garmin Fenix Watch
- Optional: GoPro, Joby Tripod, GoPro 360
- *Links included in this description might be affiliate links. If you purchase a product or service with the links that I provide I may receive a small commission. There is no additional charge to you.
Mist Falls Trip Report: October 2022
I am always honest with you all so let’s just start with this: our trip to California in October of 2022 was poorly planned. We ended up seeing a lot but doing WAY too much driving. When we finally arrived at the Mist Falls TH at the end of the road in Kings Canyon National Park, it was later in the afternoon. Funny enough, there was a slight mist in the air but it only lasted for a few minutes. All the other hikers on the trail were heading back to the parking lot while we worked our way up towards Mist Falls.
The hiking was very flat to start and then started gaining steady elevation on the way up to the waterfall. About a mile in, Jackie was a few feet in front of me when I spotted a small brown bear literally feet in front of her. I calmly told her to come my way and I wanted to show her something. The bear kept it moving and we all went on our own way. We had been in California for two days and I had seen as many bears here as I had for years in Colorado and our day was just starting.
The rest of the hike up to Mist Falls was uneventful and when we finally reached the waterfall I was blown away how big they were and how strong they were flowing. It was really an awesome spot. Both Jackie and I spent a lot of time exploring the area, taking different pictures and soaking in the amazing view.
On the way back down to the car, we spotted THREE more bears – two of which came very close to us. I was on cloud 9, it was so cool to see such an awesome animal up close in its own home. Luckily for us, none of them showed us any interest. The day was getting late, the sun going down and we still had a mile of hiking to go. Luckily, we saw no more bears until our drive out.
Overall, Mist Falls was an excellent hike – even if it did involve another VERY long day of driving for the two of us. I would easily go back to Kings Canyon to explore some more hikes.