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Panorama - Mist Trail, CA

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Guide 7 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List CA > Sierra Nevada
5 of 5 by 4
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Shuttle 8.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,214 feet
Elevation Gain -3,197 feet
Accumulated Gain 3,939 feet
Avg Time Hiking 6 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 21.63
Interest Seasonal Waterfall, Perennial Waterfall, Seasonal Creek & Perennial Creek
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
48  2016-05-27 Lucyan
75  2014-07-13
Yosemite National Park - day trip
30  2012-06-27 John9L
8  2012-05-09 AZLOT69
36  2011-06-19 desertgirl
Author desertgirl
author avatar Guides 20
Routes 1
Photos 3,098
Trips 428 map ( 3,024 miles )
Age Female Gender
Location Chandler, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jul, Aug, Sep, Jun → 8 AM
Seasons   Late Spring to Early Autumn
Sun  5:42am - 6:03pm
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Spectacular Yosemite Eye Candy!
by desertgirl

Likely In-Season!
WOW! Spectacular Yosemite scenery & one challenging hike! 8+ miles through some amazing Yosemite highlights - amazing views of Glacier Point, Illilouette area & the spectatcular falls, Panoramam Cliffs, thundering waters of Nevada & Vernal Falls, trailside rainbows, Bird's eye view of Yosemite Valley, Liberty Cap, Half Dome and many more...

Glacier Point is 3200ft directly above the Yosemite Valley floor. Take the short paved trail to the view point & enjoy the spectacular panoramic - Half Dome dominates with Nevada & Vernal Waterfalls as well as the Yosemite Falls against a backdrop of the majestic peaks of the High Sierras.

The Panorama TH is clearly signed. The trail starts down immediately through a recovering open forest (old burn) with buckbrush, manzanita, oaks and other conifers. Views of Half Dome & the falls are framed by some older pines. Enjoy the views and head down on some long switchbacks towards Illilouette Creek. The initial 1/2 mile of the trail is somewhat crowded but it eventually thins outs. At mile 1.75 you will head left towards Illiloutte Falls (2.2 miles). Illilouette Falls tumbles down 370ft down. Stay safe as you look for the viewpoints to allow you to see the whole falls . Enjoy views of this hidden falls ( you cannot see this from the valley floor) . You will continue on the trail - cross Illilouette Creek and begin to climb up in earnest -~ 700+ft in 1.5 miles as you climb out of Illiloutte Creek and the top of Panorama Wall ( a huge cliff above the Merced River Canyon as it leads from Yosemite Valley to Little Yosemite Valley). This is the only real uphill for this trail. You reach Panorama Point for some stunning views of Yosemite Valley, Upper & Lower Yosemite Falls and the Royal Arches. You climb a bit more, traverse around & are at a 3 way junction. Head left again and switchback down (~10) to the junction with the John Muir Trail. Keep right (heading northeast) here to head to Nevada Falls. The trail is wet and you will cross numerous streams (Spring/early summer) as you reach the top of the falls. Enjoy the granite slabs and the thunderous sound & spray from the Merced river falling ~ 600ft and crashing onto the rocks below. This is very mesmerizing to watch. Cross the river and head to the dizzying view points by the guard rails. Stay safe in this area. Look for rock climbers on Liberty cap. Head on further along the trail ( over rocks here) and you will reach the junction with the Mist Trail. (Turn Right here to head down Mist-- This is not well marked) . Head on down the steep steps with the thundering Nevada Falls on your left and the 700ft Liberty Cap to you right. There is a short section where the mist from the falls will drench you. We saw an amazing rainbow at the base of Nevada Falls in this area. The # of people on the trail will grow - Both Nevada & Vernal falls are popular destinations hiking up from the valley floor. You will cross the Merced at the footbridge at Emerald Pools and & continue to the top of Vernal Falls (6.5 miles). Look down on the Mist Trail from this vantage point & look for rainbows! Head down on the left of the falls. After a short wet stairstep downhill you stop & don your rain gear ( if you have not already got it on) and step out into the icy cold mist coming from Vernal as you head down the wet "Mist Trail"! At base of falls continue west, mist trail levels out , keep right at 3 way intersection with JMT & follow the south bank. Cross the foot bridge & you will find a water fountain & bathrooms. The path from here to Happy Isles is paved. You round Grizzly peak & are treated to a view of Illilouette falls across Illilouette Gorge that you crossed a few hours ago on the Panorama Trail. The trail crosses Happy Isles Bridge & arrives at the shuttle bus center. Now you have seen & experienced a special slice of Yosemite!

1. Stay safe - This hike has exposure at the lip of each of the waterfalls you cross. The granite can be slick and respect the safety railings.
2. Streams can be swift and have boulders in them. Don't try to cross or swim. Use the foot bridges.
3. Filter the water you drink.
4. Make sure you have your sun protection on. Much of the Panorama Trail does not have shade.
5. If you plan on hiking up from Happy Isles or other TH - make sure you have transportation arranged for your return from Glacier Point.
6. You have other descent options - 4 mile trail, John Muir Trail, Clark Point cut across.

Check out the Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2011-06-21 desertgirl
  • Yosemite Campgrounds
    area related
    Yosemite Campgrounds
  • Yosemite Park Map
    area related
    Yosemite Park Map
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Panorama - Mist Trail
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Yosemite National Park - day trip
Yosemite Valley & Glacier Point - Yosemite National Park
Sunday July 13th, 2014
FitBit totals = 11.11 miles, 1050 AEG (105 floors)

Have done Mt Whitney and some of the Pacific Crest Trail in the high Sierras, but never been to Yosemite before. Got out my Ansel Adams photo books for inspiration :next: Maybe a visit to the Ansel Adams Gallery in the Yosemite Village located between Visitor Center and Post Office? Some pre-trip research to consider;

YOSE :next:

Map of YOSE :next:
YOSE park guide :next:

Map of Yosemite Valley :next: ... hikes1.pdf
Map of Glacier Point :next: ... rhikes.pdf
Washburn Point (near Glacier Point) view :next: The HPP image location plus my flipping thru Ansel Adams photo books put this as destination number one.

Yosemite NP waterfalls :next:

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias :next: And HAZ :next:
Grizzly Giants in Mariposa Grove :next:

With a planned business trip to 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino CA (see :next: ) and a base-camp to be established at Courtyard Cupertino Marriott, 10605 N Wolfe Rd, Cupertino CA, 95014 ( see :next: ... cupertino/ ), thought I'd "front-end" the trip with some exploration of Big Sur and Yosemite with a goal to capture long exposure dusk image of Bixby Bridge ( see :next: ... bridge.jpg ) and an Ansel Adams-like shot of Yosemite Valley (see :next: ... _point.jpg and ).

Google maps indicated travel distance from Cupertino base-camp to Yosemite Village was 200 miles with 3 hours 45 minutes travel time.


Arrived back at the Cupertino base-camp just after midnight Sunday morning from exploring the Big Sur Coastline (see :next: ). Had a 5am wake-up call and after fueling up on the in-room caffeine, hit the road for Yosemite via CA120 entrance by 6am. I arrived at the park entrance about 10-ish where my NPS annual pass comes thru once again allowing me to bypass the backed up line of vehicles tallying-up their entrance fee.

The arrival into Yosemite Valley reminded me a lot of Zion NP - pass thru a couple of tunnels and voila, there's the spectacular valley, except it's not sandstone, it's granite this time!

When you cross the Merced River, all the traffic veered left towards Yosemite Village. I veered right climbing up CA41 to the Glacier Point cut-off. From the intersection of CA41, the sign indicated 16 miles to Glacier Point. The tight curves and smooth road and sudden elevation changes had me pining for something more than my Nissan Maxima rental (maybe borrow one of the R8's or McLaren's from yesterday's Bixby Creek Bridge encounter?). First stop Washburn Point followed by Glacier Point. I had some time to explore the upper reaches of Four Mile Trail and Panorama Trail (a little note to self - if you want to escape the bus tour crowd at Glacier Point, check out these trails). Upon return I treated myself to lunch at the Tourist Shack beside Glacier Point - a Hagen Das plus the requisite purchase of a Yosemite Falls & Half Dome frig magnet. After my fill of Yosemite Valley eye-candy, I had the Sentinel Dome to Taft Point loop hike on the "to-do" list. Sentinel Dome was exhilarating - maybe saw a dozen people the entire time I lingered up on the dome for about an hour. I wasn't expecting solitude in Yosemite on a summer weekend, but truthfully there were far less people than I imagined there would be. Once again, all was right in the world.

As the afternoon progressed towards dinner time, I went down to the valley floor for some mini-explorations. This is where all the people were...

With the 6 o'clock hour ticked by, I had a choice - sunset back up on Glacier Point or go checkout the giant sequoia in Mariposa Grove. My mind voted for the giant sequoia, so I drove down CA140 following the Merced River towards the town of Mariposa...

Some final thoughts - hitting Glacier Point first was a good call. Having that initial overhead view of the entire Yosemite Valley is jaw-dropping. It put the entire landscape into context for me. Starting off from the valley floor probably would have hidden too many places. At least the view from above allowed me to pick and choose what I wanted to see down in the valley. Taking in a sunset from Glacier Point or Sentinel Dome is surely a treat - maybe next time...

Also, Mariposa Grove isn't anywhere near town of Mariposa CA. Missed out on giant sequoia trees, but did get to explore Merced River via CA140 - nice drive, complete with landslide :next: ... 238394.pdf
( not a recent slide, happened in 2006... ). Fish Camp and Oakhurst on CA41 are the closest towns to the giant sequoias for future reference....


HAZ Washburn Point :next:
HAZ Glacier Point :next:
HAZ Sentinel Dome :next:
HAZ Taft Point :next: and
HAZ East Valley Floor :next:
HAZ West Valley Floor :next:
HAZ Panorama Trail (from Glacier Point) :next:
HAZ Four Mile Trail (from Glacier Point) :next:

I'll post some photos when I get the chance. Enjoy! :)
Panorama - Mist Trail
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I had an open morning and was considering my options. I wanted a hike that I could start very early and not have to rely on the bus service in Yosemite. I decided on a loop hike up the Mist Trail. I would walk from Curry Village to the Happy Isles trailhead and then head up the Mist Trail to the top of Nevada Falls. From there I would connect to the Panorama Trail and head up to Glacier Point. I would then return to Yosemite Valley on the Four Mile Trail. This was going to be fun!

I was out the door in Curry Village at 6:10am and made fast time to Happy Isles. This would be my fourth hike on the Mist Trail and the first time I've walked to the trailhead. It was closer then I thought. I hit the Mist Trail and made quick time to Vernal Falls. I could tell most of the people on the trail were heading for Half Dome. I continued on and cruised all the way to Nevada Falls. Once up top I took a short break and then headed for the Panorama Trail. I was surprised the turnoff did not have a sign. Regardless I continued and the trail started ascending up a series of switchbacks. I made good time on the uphill. Eventually things leveled off and I found myself at the top of the Panorama Cliffs. The views into Yosemite Valley were spectacular!

I followed the Panorama Trail and after a couple of miles the trail descends towards Illilouette Falls. I made my way down and crossed the bridge. From there you start making switchbacks up as you proceed towards Glacier Point. There is a fantastic view of Illilouette Falls from the trail on the Glacier Point side. I continued on and made my way up. Everything was going great and I never felt better! After some effort I reached Glacier Point. This was my third time up here but the first time I've hiked up from the valley floor. Naturally the views are spectacular! I ate some lunch and spent a few minutes in the store and spent time walking around Glacier Point.

Eventually I was ready to tackle the Four Mile Trail back to Yosemite Valley. I picked up the trail and was off. I made quick time on the first mile or so. After a bit you start hitting switchbacks and they seem to never end. On the way down, I was asked at least a half dozen times how much farther they had for Glacier Point. I felt bad for some of them because it was going to be a struggle. I was glad I made this loop in a clockwise direction because ascending the Four Mile Trail will take massive effort! I eventually reached the valley floor and then turned east and started walking back. After a mile I decided to pick up the valley shuttle for the quick return to Curry Village. Another wonderful day on the trails in Yosemite! The hiking is starting to feel like a job!

These three trails are epic! The Mist Trail is the most popular trail in the park for good reason. Over the course of three miles, you ascend to the top of Vernal and Nevada Falls. From there the Panorama Trail takes you even higher and deeper into Yosemite. Luckily there were only a handful of people on this section. Glacier Point is an absolute must on any Yosemite visit. There were plenty of people there but I didn't mind. The Four Mile Trail has epic views of Yosemite Falls and El Capitan. This is an amazing combo of hikes and will leave you with a great feel for Yosemite Valley!

One last note, I could not get a good signal on my GPS until I was at the top of Vernal Falls. I estimated the total hiking distance and AEG.
Panorama - Mist Trail
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Dayhiked the trail from Glacier Point to Happy Isles. Walked, photographed, gawked ...this is that one must do trail in Yosemite. Well laid out for scenic value! 2010 winter brought 200% snowpack to High Sierras so the waterfalls were running really BIG! It was awesome to stnad on the lip of 3 major falls & experience the waterfalls! We lunched just past Panorama Point taking in some awesome views, basked on the cool granite at the top of Nevada falls being cooled by the fine mist coming off the falls, saw rainbows at the waterfalls & got drenched on the Mist Trail. Make sure your camera is well protected or you have awater proof one - It will get soaked as will you! We even got to watch some rock climbers on Liberty Cap when we on the lip of Nevada falls (Wonder how the falls look from their vantage point!)

Logistics: Took the one-way shuttle drop off to Glacier Point. With all the traffic jam it was a 2 hr drive up. Definitely recommend the use of shuttles -- eliminates the wait to find parking!

Critter Report: Mule deer, 2 cinnamon black bears ( Valley floor), blue jay, assortment of squirrells
Flowers: Buck Brush, Rock Penstamon, Lupines, snowflowers, dogwood

Permit $$

Yosemite National Park
Entrance Fees
Wilderness Permit
Half Dome Permit - Currently required 7 days a week. Check the link for the most up to date information.

2014 - 300 permits issued daily, 225 for dayhikers.
2013 - 400 permits issued daily, 300 for dayhikers.

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
Driving Directions to and Parking at Glacier Point: Glacier Point is at the terminus of the 16-mile (25 km) Glacier Point Road. If you're in Yosemite Valley, take Highway 41 roughly nine miles to the Glacier Point Road; if you're at the southern entrance, it's about 17 miles (26 km) to the turnoff.

Bus to Glacier Point from Yosemite Valley: Departs from front of the Yosemite Lodge. You will need to purchase tickets for this ride to Glacier Point from DNC counter in the lobby area for the Yosemite Lodge. You can't park at YosemiteLodge unless you're a guest. Park at the day-use lot next to Yosemite Village or the Curry Village parking lot. You can catch free shuttle buses from either of these to the Yosemite Lodge.

Parking in Yosemite Valley and hiking up to Glacier Point: Try trailhead parking lot, which is in the southeast end of the valley on Southside Drive past Curry Village and just the past the turnoff to the Upper Pines campground. There's a sign here indicating that the road is for service vehicles only, but you can drive on it as far as the trailhead parking lot. Unless you are planning on hiking back down - make plans to be picked up at Glacier Point either by someone, car shuttle or by the DNC shuttle ( make reservations).
page created by desertgirl on Jun 21 2011 12:24 pm
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