Yosemite's Panorama Trail: Some of the Finest Views of One of Our Finest Parks
7 miles point-to-point (Glacier Point to the Valley floor)
Incorporates popular Mist Trail and Glacier Point Trail
Easier hike from Glacier to the Valley
High traffic near Glacier Point and on the Mist Trail
Prime seasons are late spring and early summer for the waterfalls
Starting at Glacier Point, the Panorama Trail at Yosemite is one of the easiest accessible high-points in the park, and it will definitely be a highlight of your visit. The trail is a point-to-point with the most popular option being from Glacier Point to the Valley via the Mist Trail. This option is both easier physically, and easier to find a shuttle (note: park shuttles are not running in 2020) for transportation back to your vehicle at Glacier Point.
It is highly recommended that you get an early start on this trail. The scenery is jaw-dropping, and you will be taking many photo stops. However, a second, and perhaps the most important reason to start early, is the Disneyland-nature of the parking lot a Glacier Point. This small lot will fill-up, and the area will be buzzing with day-tourists visiting the gift shop and Glacier Point. When we returned to the car, there were people circling looking for a parking spot for the whole 45 minutes we spent there.
Panorama Point is a must stop along the trail. It is not specifically highlighted on the route, but do a little research and find this hidden treasure for yourself.
Late spring and early summer are prime seasons. When we were there in 2018, the waterfalls and creeks were roaring. Though this did cut us off from a few hikes, the spectacle of Vernal Falls, Illilouette Falls, and the Illilouette Creek as viewed from the footbridge are unforgettable.
Please note: 2021 will pose challenges for this route. Glacier Point Road is scheduled to be closed for repairs. This would mean the trail would be a out-and-back from the Valley at the Mist Trail. However, there is Four Mile Trail (4.8 miles and 3200 feet of elevation from the Valley) that climbs to Glacier Point. It is a strenuous hike, so you could consider an out and back from this trailhead or a point-to-point option with this addition.