This trail begins from the Glacier Point parking area and descends to the Happy Isles area of Yosemite Valley. The trail is eight and a half miles long one way with a descent of 4,000 feet. A shuttle is ideal to reach your starting point from Happy Isles.
Leaving Glacier Point the trail leads south for nearly one and a half miles descending 1,000 feet. Hikers will enjoy the views from this trail, which begin upon leaving the trailhead. Bear left at a junction almost one and a half miles from Glacier Point. The right side of the fork leads to Mono Meadow Trail. About one half mile from this junction the trail reaches Illilouette Falls. The falls lie along Illilouette Creek which eventually drains into the Merced River.
Below the Falls the trail crosses the creek then begins to ascend and traverse around Panorama Cliff. Views of natural features within the Merced River valley come into view along this stretch. Because the trail elevation is above the valley, hikers can look down into it and pick out many waterfalls and domes. The last mile of Panorama Trail descends to 6,000 feet.
At this point the trail meets the John Muir Trail east of Nevada Falls. Hikers may take the right fork to reach the falls, then walk down the Mist Trail past Vernal Falls. A gentler slope is along the John Muir Trail, which would be the left fork at this junction. It's approximately two and a half miles and 2,000 feet to the Happy Isles Trailhead from this junction. Expect to see many more folks on this trail than the Panorama.
Directions: From Arch Rock Entrance, Follow Highway 140 into the Yosemite Valley. Turn right on to Southside Drive and turn left, approximately one mile east, on Highway 41 to Wawona. Drive nine miles to the Glacier Point Road and turn left. Follow Glacier Point Road almost 16 miles to Glacier Point Road and look for the Panorama Trailhead in the parking area.
Elevation: 7,200 feet
Ending Elevation: 4,000 feet
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