Key information: Panorama Trail
- Walkopedia rating88
- Natural interest16
- Human interest2
- Negative points2
- Total rating88
- Note: Negs: crowding in places.
- Length: 13.5 km
- Maximum Altitude: 2,200m (7,200ft)
- Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
This walk description page is at an early stage of development, and will be expanded over time. Your comments on this walk, your experiences and tips, and your photos are very welcome.
This superb route links Glacier Point and the upper end of the Mist Trail, passing endless visual treats including big views across Yosemite Valley, Panorama Point and Illilouette Falls.
The short side-walk to Panorama Point is unsigned but worth seeking out for the staggering…er…panoramic views back to Glacier Point and round to the Royal Arches, North Dome, and the back of Half Dome. This side-route is about half a mile (0.8 km) after you cross Illilouette Creek (descending) and cuts through a stand of manzanitas. Keep careful watch, as it is quite easy to miss. Beware that Panorama Point is unstable and sections have broken off more than once, so don’t go too near the edge.
Most people walk the route downhill (Glacier Point to the valley), both because it is an easier walk but also because it is much easier to get a bus to Glacier Point than from it. Although this route is mostly downhill, you will still need to climb 200m+ above Illilouette Creek before descending again to the Mist Trail.
The very keen can, of course, make this into a circuit from the valley floor with the Four Mile Trail, which combines two of the finest walks around the central valley and is claimed by some to be the ultimate Yosemite area day walk. It is around 22 km (14 miles) total between trailheads, plus a further 3 miles if you don’t take the free shuttle buses back to the carparks.
This is a strenuous walk - you will gain/drop 1,000m or so, between from 1,220m (4,000ft) on the valley floor and 2,200m (7,200ft) at Glacier Point. The many steps of the Mist Trail can be hard on knees: the John Muir Trail is a gentler alternative, albeit getting less close to the amazing Vernal and Nevada waterfalls.
While Glacier Point and the Mist Trail are both crowded, and there will be people in between, it shouldn't wreck your experience.
The Mist Trail’s waterfalls are at their finest during peak runoff, which is generally from April into June. See Should I Hike the Mist Trail Today? for information on current flow levels.
As a linear route, you will have to plan getting to/from trailheads carefully. A bigger group with 2 cars works; shuttle buses, while excellent in many ways, aren’t always easy logistically. While you can take a bus one way to Glacier Point, it is very risky (as at 2020) as to whether you will be able to get onto the bus back down at Glacier Point. See our Yosemite page for more on the Glacier Point buses, and also on car parking.
See the excellent https://www.yosemitehikes.com/glacier-point-road/panorama-trail/panorama-trail.htm for more detail.
See our Yosemite page for more general and practical information and photos.
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Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.
Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.
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