Panorama Trail

Yosemite National Park, California 95389

Distance4.4mi
Elevation Gain3,118ft
Trailhead Elevation7,211ft
Top7,288ft
Elevation Min/Max5882/7288ft
Elevation Start/End7211/7211ft

Panorama Trail

Panorama Trail is a hiking trail in Mariposa County, California. It is within Yosemite National Park. It is 4.4 miles long and begins at 7,211 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 9.0 miles with a total elevation gain of 3,118 feet. Near the trailhead there are an amphi theatre, telephones, a viewpoint, drinking waters, and restrooms. The Illilouette Fall attraction and the Panorama Cliff can be seen along the trail. This trail connects with the following: Buena Vista Trail.

Panorama Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"The Panorama Trail is one of the greatest adventures in Northern California. With epic views nearly every step of the way, it highlights many of the grandest features in Yosemite, passing three staggering waterfalls and boasting constantly changing views of Half Dome and Yosemite Valley.

There is perhaps no other trail that can claim as many awe-inspiring views as Yosemite’s Panorama Trail. The hike begins with top-of- the world vistas at Glacier Point, quite possibly the Sierra’s finest single overlook, and makes a long, circuitous descent to Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley. Though the perspective on iconic Half Dome changes over the course of the journey, the great dome is a constant companion throughout the hike."

"The Panorama Trail’s name provides the necessary description: this is Yosemite Valley’s most view-rich walk. The trail descends from Glacier Point to Yosemite Valley via Illilouette, Nevada, and Vernal falls, providing nearly continuous vistas into and across the Merced River Canyon and the east end of Yosemite Valley. It is especially rewarding, for as it traverses eastward, it provides ever-changing views of the surrounding walls, waterfalls, and canyon."

"The name of the trail says it all. It follows the southeastern portion of the valley rim above Happy Isles, crossing Illilouette Creek at the top of Illilouette Fall to the (usually) sunny flat where Nevada Fall launches itself over the cliff into Yosemite Valley. The Giant Staircase is in sight much of the way, as well as occasional glimpses of Yosemite Falls back to the west. You get five famous waterfalls in one hike."

"This is the most scenic of all trails descending to the floor of Yosemite Valley, passing three waterfalls and offering spectacular views along the way. Either take a bus up to Glacier Point or have someone drop you there and meet you down at Half Dome Village (Curry Village).

I have also combined this walk with the Four Mile Trail many times, ascending the Four Mile Trail in the cool morning hours and then descending via the Panorama Trail."

Panorama Trail Reviews

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6/27/2011
The whole family did this hike in an easy six hours. We stopped a lot, took photos, and enjoyed our day. Our fickle 12 year old did this trails without too much complaining and the 9 year old loved it. We took the shuttle from Yosemite Lodge to Glacier Point and hiked down. Strongly recommend this hike. It's awesome!
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10/19/2009
Without a lot of time, rather than take the bus to Glacier Point and hike to the valley, we decided to park at Glacier Point and do part of the hike. We were very lucky that Yosemite got some rain several days before, which replenished the waterfalls. That, and without the summer crowds, we had the trail pretty much to ourselves. The view from the trail was magnificent, simply amazing, particularly with many clouds around the peaks and the leaves in full fall colors. We ended up hiking to Nevada Falls and then turning around, which made it about a 10 mile RT with a fair amount of ascent. Started raining on the way back, and when we got back to Glacier Point it was snowing. Just a glorious day!
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7/18/2009
Simply spectacular! First join the masses and enjoy the extraordinary view and the vanilla smell of the Jeffrey Pines. The first mile or so is an ongoing, slowly changing view of the vally and a look at Half Dome that is totally different from the view from the valley. Don't miss the small detour to Illilouette Falls (we did). Taking the mist trail is very hard on the knees, but I wouldn't give it up: the views of the Nevada and Vernal Falls are unforgettable, and the opportunity to wade or swim in the pools above and below the falls or simply to bask on the rocks is worth every painful step the next day.
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6/16/2006
Great views, but not as down hill as one would think. Healthy climb up from Illiloute Falls. Not sure if this is any easier than going up the Mist Trail.
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6/28/2004
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Panorama Trail Photos

Trail Information

Yosemite National Park
Nearby City
Yosemite National Park
Parks
Moderate
Skill Level
Waterfalls, Views, Wildflowers
Features
Yosemite National Park
Local Contacts
Tom Harrison Yosemite Valley map (1:24,000 scale), the National Geographic Trails Illustrated #306 Yosemite SW map (1:40,000 scale), and the USGS Yosemite Valley map (1:24,000 scale).
Local Maps