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Yosemite Panorama Trail | 25,000 Steps of Pure Hiking Bliss!

Hiking the Yosemite Panorama Trail is one of the best ways to see Yosemite’s most spectacular views and waterfalls ~ all in one day! This step-by-step guide will help you plan your trip starting at Glacier Point, past Illilouette Falls, along the Mist Trail, all the way to the valley floor.

You'll see this gorgeous view of Yosemite Falls while hiking the Yosemite Panorama Trail. See more photos & get more information and tips at EA Stewart, @thespicyrd www.eastewart.com

My friend, Elizabeth, and I had planned on hiking the Panorama Trail last summer with our families, but I messed up my back pretty bad on our pre-Yosemite camping trip, so we had to postpone the hike to this year.

It was 100% worth the wait!

Especially because the waterfalls were SERIOUSLY flowing this summer, the weather was gorgeous, and I loved the opportunity to spend some time immersed in the natural beauty of Yosemite with my kids, who at 14 and 15, are the same age as me when I hiked Half Dome as a teenager. In other words, it was pure bliss!

Why Hike the Panorama Trail

The Yosemite Panorama Trail has something for everyone…

  1. You’re pressed for time. While you should expect to spend most of the day on your Panorama Trail adventure {see schedule below}, if you have limited time in Yosemite, it’s one of the best hikes for seeing top sites, including Glacier Point, Nevada Falls & Vernal Falls along the Mist Trail, + spectacular views of Half Dome at almost every turn.
  2. You hate the idea of hiking up, up, up lots of hills. While you CAN hike up from the valley floor, why not take the easier way, and hike down from Glacier Point? Trust me. You’ll still get a great workout in!
  3. You have kids who, ahem, aren’t the biggest fans of hiking. I hear ya’! Trust me, they’re going to LOVE this hike. Especially the part where you get wet along the Mist Trail. Also, it never hurts to bring along extra hiking buddies 🙂

Join me on our step-by-step journey, and start planning your own trip for hiking the Yosemite Panorama Trail! 

Yosemite Panorama Trail, Start at Glacier Point

Most people start hiking the Yosemite Panorama Trail from Glacier Point which has incredible views of Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, and more. See more photos & get more information and tips at EA Stewart, @thespicyrd www.eastewart.com

Most people start hiking the Yosemite Panorama Trail from Glacier Point which has incredible views of Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, and more. There are bathrooms at Glacier Point which you’ll probably want to use. There is also a bathroom at the top of Nevada Falls, ~5 miles away, but when we got there is was locked.

Tip! When you see the trailhead sign, go past it, straight ahead for the start of the Panorama Trail. For some reason, we decided to turn left at the sign, which took us on a 1/2 mile adventure on a VERY narrow trail. Props to the sweet young couple from Tennessee who followed us!

Yosemite Panorama Trail, Glacier Point to Illilouette Creek Bridge {~2.5 miles, mostly flat and downhill}

The first 2+ miles of the Yosemite Panorama Trail have wide open vistas, and lots of viewing opportunities to see Half Dome and Illilouette Falls. Take a break after you cross over the Illilouette Creek Bridge-the uphill part comes next! See more photos & get more information and tips at EA Stewart, @thespicyrd www.eastewart.com

The first 2+ miles of the Yosemite Panorama Trail have wide open vistas, and lots of viewing opportunities to see Half Dome and Illilouette Falls. Take a break after you cross over the Illilouette Creek Bridge-the uphill part comes next!

P.S. Check out gorgeous Illilouette Falls in my video below↓.

Yosemite Panorama Trail, Illilouette Creek to the top of Nevada Falls {~ 2.5 miles, Uphill, Flat, Downhill}

Yosemite Panorama Trail-After Illilouette Creek you'll start the only uphill portion of the hiks which lasts about 1 1/2 miles. After the uphill portion, continue through a shaded forest, and then downhill to the top of Nevada Falls. See more photos & get more information and tips at EA Stewart, @thespicyrd www.eastewart.com

After Illilouette Creek you’ll start the only uphill portion of the hike, which lasts about 1 1/2 miles. After you reach the top, continue through a shaded forest, and then downhill to the top of Nevada Falls.

Plan on spending some time here taking in the views, enjoying a snack and some water, and using the bathroom {if it’s unlocked!}.

P.S. Beware of rattlesnakes, like this guy {or gal} pictured above!

Yosemite Panorama Trail, Nevada Falls to Yosemite Valley via The Mist Trail {~3.5 miles, mostly steep downhill, sometimes slippery}

Yosemite Panorama Trail-This portion of the hike takes you from the top of Nevada Falls to Yosemite Valley via the Mist Trail. This portion is very steep, and hiking poles are helpful here. The payoff is tremendous, as you are right up close to both Nevada and Vernal Falls. Be prepared to get wet as you hike by Vernal Falls! See more photos & get more information and tips at EA Stewart, @thespicyrd www.eastewart.com

The last portion of the Yosemite Panorama Trail takes you from the top of Nevada Falls to Yosemite Valley via the Mist Trail. This portion is very steep, and hiking poles are helpful here. The payoff is tremendous, as you are right up close to both Nevada and Vernal Falls.

Be prepared to get wet as you hike past Vernal Falls-this was SiSi and Big Tex’s favorite portion of the hike!

Check out my video below~the sounds of Vernal Falls is incredible!

Hiking the Yosemite Panorama Trail: Planning, Logistics, and Links

  • Getting to Glacier Point: We were to lucky to have friends who dropped us off at Glacier Point, then drove to Yosemite Valley and parked in one of the lots, so we could get our car at the end of the hike. Another option is to take a shuttle from Yosemite Lodge to Glacier Point, which typically runs late May through October. You’ll want to take the 1st shuttle, which departs at 8:30, to allow time to enjoy your hike {see below}.
  • Hiking Time/Distance: Plan a minimum of 6 hours to complete the hike which is ~8.5+++ miles. This allows plenty of time to take in the scenery, rest a little, and take hydration and snack breaks. Note: Although, technically, the trail is ~8.5 miles, you will add additional miles taking side trips to the waterfall overlooks, and getting back to the parking lot/visitor center on the valley floor.
  • What to Bring: Dress for the weather, bring layers if needed. Bring a hat, sunscreen, sturdy athletic shoes or hiking boots {I wore running shoes which were fine}, lots of water {a rule of thumb is to drink 1 liter/~33 ounces of water every 2 hours}, and snacks~i.e. Energy Bars, PBJ Sandwich, Trail Mix. Hiking poles are optional, but will come in handy going down the Mist Trail which is very steep and rocky.

And, before you go, one last video. Enjoy & be sure and follow me on Instagram for more hiking adventures {and lots of healthy AND delicious food!}

[click_to_tweet tweet=”25,000 Steps to Pure Bliss! The Ultimate Guide to #Hiking the #Yosemite Panorama Trail! #optoutside ” quote=”25,000 Steps to Pure Bliss! The Ultimate Guide to Hiking the Yosemite Panorama Trail! “]

Let’s Chat!

Have you been to Yosemite before? Have you hiked the Panorama Trail before? What are your all-time favorite hikes?

Please join the conversation! And, if you enjoyed this post, I’d love for you to share it. Thanks so much for your support!

12 thoughts on “Yosemite Panorama Trail | 25,000 Steps of Pure Hiking Bliss!”

  1. Sounds like an amazing tip! Such beautiful views on this hike! I would love to go with my husband and hike this – active vacations are my favorite. Definitely saving for future reference!

  2. I’ve been to Yosemite twice but once when I wasn’t in charge of travel (I was 11) and again when my daughter was very young. I already know how beautiful and invigorating it is, and your images have set me up with a serious urge to book a very long flight! I’m glad your back was up for the trip. I’m dealing with a torn foot tendon (acquired in early April) so for now I can only dream *sigh*

  3. EA you are so inspiring! I am so in the same boat, my parents took me up here as a little tyke and have yet to see it again. I’m so glad your back healed for this summer and you were able to check this off your bucket list. I think I would be the same type of person, whoops- an extra 1/2 mile at the beginning for a minor mix up lol! I cant tell you this, I’m surely adding this to my bucket list with Mr.CEO ASAP, perhaps before the next IVF! Sounds like the perfect way to embrace a little me time too! Have a great day my friend!

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