Panorama Trail In Yosemite – Expert Guide To The Combined Trail

Updated: December 7, 2022
Panorama Trail Yosemite

The Panorama trail combines two of Yosemite’s most incredible trails: Glacier Point and the Mist Trail.

This guide will give you all the information you need for your journey along the Panorama Trail.

Panorama Trail In Yosemite

Panorama Hike Overview

The Panorama Trail is known for its fantastic views along the entirety of the trail. Some of the views you can expect to see are Nevada Falls, Yosemite Falls, Illilouette Falls, Liberty Cap, Panorama Point, Half Dome, and Yosemite Valley.

This trail is 8.5 miles one way and will take you about 6-7 hours to complete.

It can be modified in several different ways and it is rated as moderately difficult, making it one of the most popular day hikes following the Half Dome.

Best Time To Go

The mountain views are stunning year round.  

If the waterfalls are what you are after, consider visiting in spring or summer. This will provide even more incredible views and a light mist to cool you down while you hike.

Vernal falls and Nevada falls tend to be fuller for longer than Bridalveil or Yosemite falls for example. If you choose to visit in August, you’ll have outstanding weather and beautiful full falls.

Panorama Trail Tickets

It is recommended to take the bus from Yosemite Valley to Glacier Point. This avoids struggles with parking and allows one to be parked right at your destination. A one-way bus ticket from the valley to Glacier Point costs $25 for adults, $23 for seniors, and $15 for kids. You can buy these bus tickets online at or by phone at +1(209) 372 1240.

Panorama Trail Route

Your adventure will begin at the southern end of Glacier Point. This is easily accessible by catching a bus from Yosemite Valley.

You will come across multiple forks along the trail. Not to fear, all paths are clearly labeled.

You will continue towards the left of the fork leading to the crossing of lllilouette Creek.

Once you reach the second fork, stick to the left again and you will begin your descent to the Mist Trail.

The third fork is above Nevada Falls. Follow left to join the John Muir Trail or right to proceed to Nevada Fall and the Mist Trail.

Although less scenic, the John Muir Trail is an easier alternative to the Mist Trail.

Continue your journey along the Mist Trail leading to Yosemite Valley.

Alternative Panorama Trail Routes

There are several alternative routes.

If you are looking for a challenging hike, hike the 4-mile trail from Glacier Point rather than taking the bus. This route adds up to 14 miles rather than the 8.5-mile Panorama Trail alone.

Panorama Trail has an unmarked detour you cannot miss. This detour leads to Panorama Point. A scenic spot with stunning views of Glacier Point, Royal Arches, North Dome, and Half Dome. Most people walk past this and miss out on the opportunity of breathtaking views.

No matter what route you decide to take, Panorama Trails lives up to its name. It offers a variety of views by following two different trails in one. Take in everything it has to offer, as its beauty cannot be captured in photographs.

Panorama Trail Quick Facts

  • Elevation: 4,000-7,200ft (1,200-2,200m)
  • Difficulty: Moderate, mostly downhill
  • Length: 8.5 miles (13.5km)
  • Highlights: Nevada Falls, Yosemite Falls, Illilouette Falls, Liberty Cap, Panorama Point, Half Dome, Yosemite Valley
  • Quickest route: Via Glacier Point and the Mist Trail
  • Get an overnight permit on the day before the hike or in advance

How Difficult Is The Hike?

This trail is one of the easier options at Yosemite as it is mostly downhill. It is an epic day hike for the whole family to enjoy. Just keep in mind that this trail is still moderately difficult and may be best for children over 10-12 years old. The Mist Trail can be strenuous on the knees with the number of steps involved. If you take it slow and soak in the views, most people who are in decent shape will be able to complete the Panorama Trail.

Panorama Trail Map & Guidebook

The Panorama Trailhead is in Glacier Point, 30 miles or an hour drive from Yosemite Valley. Your adventure will begin at the southern end of glacier point and end back in Yosemite Valley.

Lonely Planet Yosemite, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

For a detailed guide on the Panorama Trail and other easy day hikes around Yosemite, check out the Falcon Guide for Best Easy Day Hikes by Suzanne Swedo. This book is handy as it includes a trail map and provides additional information about which hikes to take and where the best photo opportunities are.

For an overview of Yosemite National Park, The Lonely Planet Yosemite, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks by The Lonely Planet is an excellent read. It features maps, itineraries, insider tips, and reviews for what to eat and where to sleep within Yosemite.

Panorama Trek Itinerary

panorama trail yosemite

It is crucial to begin this hike at dawn. It will take you approximately 12 hours and you will want daylight left on your descend. There are other trails to get to the Half Dome but the Mist Trail remains the most popular and scenic route.

Up the Panorama Trailhead

Descent to the Mist Trail

To Nevada Falls

Reach Destination

Frequently Asked Questions

What gear do I need?

Is altitude sickness a risk?

Can I avoid taking a bus to Glacier Point and hike instead?

Is Panorama a good family hike?

What wildlife could I potentially come across?


About the author 

Mark Whitman

Mark has trekked extensively in Asia, Europe, South America and Africa. He founded Mountain IQ in 2014 with the sole aim to be the best online information portal to some of the most popular mountain destinations around the world. When not writing for Mountain IQ, Mark is out exploring the outdoors with his wife!

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