Hike the Panorama Trail

17 Miles Round Trip - 3200 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Panorama Trail via Mist Trailhead - Search Nearby - Added by Todd Gordon

See Half Dome, Vernal, Nevada, and Yosemite Falls. This hike combines the Glacier Point and the Mist Trails. You'll also get to see Illilouette Falls with spectacular views of the sunrise and sunset.

The Panorama Trail is an outstanding hike that takes you from the Yosemite Valley floor up to Glacier Point. Or you can hike it downhill going from Glacier Point to Yosemite Valley. You can camp and make it an overnight trip or do it as a day trip by leaving a car at one end and taking a park shuttle to the other. If you stay overnight, be sure to grab a permit.

The hike is beautiful from spring to fall and can offer once in a lifetime views during winter. Head out there earlier in the season if catching the waterfalls at their fullest is your goal. The ends of the trail can be quite popular with the middle section thinning out.

The Panorama Trail begins at the trailhead for the Mist Trail in Yosemite Valley near Curry Village. From there, the Mist Trail will take you past Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall. Another option is to take a section of the John Muir Trail at a fork just past the Vernal Fall footbridge. The Mist Trail is steeper but a bit shorter than the John Muir Trail.

Once you get to the top of Nevada Fall, the Panorama Trail continues west to Illilouette Creek, where you will cross a bridge. From here on out it’s a climb up to Glacier Point with beautiful views of Half Dome and the waterfalls below.

For a quick little detour to a great view you can head out to Panorama Point. About a half-mile beyond the Illiouette Creek bridge there is an unmarked trail that will take you out to Panorama Point where you can see the back of Half Dome rising above the Valley. Be careful out there as the point doesn’t have guard rails anymore due to rock fall.

If you’re interested in taking a different trail back to Yosemite Valley, you can take the Four Mile Trail which offers views of Half Dome, El Capitan, and Yosemite Falls. Sentinel Dome is a nearby hike that could be done as a day trip.




17 Miles
3200 ft elevation gain
Out-and-Back Trail

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Overall rating: 

The best day-hike in the valley. If you're planning on doing the full loop, I'd recommend doing it counter-clockwise, starting with the 4-Mile trail up to Glacier Point, then continuing down the Panorama Trail and finishing on the Mist Trail. You can catch a shuttle bus in the morning to Camp 4 and walk across the meadow to the 4-mile trailhead. You'll finish at Happy Isles, an easy place to catch a shuttle or walk back to Curry Village for a post hike pizza and beer.

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