Scenic views from the Panorama Trail hike in Yosemite National Park

Panorama Trail hike

Yosemite National Park
View Photos
Falls at Yosemite Boot Hike in Yosemite National Park look beautifulYosemite Boot Hike Yosemite USA HikesSunshine at Yosemite Boot Hike in Yosemite National ParkYosemite Boot trail in Yosemite National Park along the rock wallRiver at Yosemite Boot Hike in Yosemite National ParkForest at Yosemite Boot Hike in Yosemite National ParkWoods at Yosemite Boot Route Hike in Yosemite National ParkMountain view at Yosemite Boot Route Hike in Yosemite National ParkFalls at Yosemite Boot Hike in Yosemite National ParkHiker and beautiful views on Yosemite Boot Route trail in Yosemite National ParkWoman hiking at Yosemite Boot Route Hike in Yosemite National ParkHiker on a junction at Yosemite Boot Route Hike in Yosemite National Park

Panorama Trail hike

Distance: 23.5km
Elevation: 1,275m
Time: 7-9.5h

Difficulty Rating:

User Ratings:
10 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty

If we only did one hike in Yosemite, the Panorama Trail would be it. We think it's one of the best hikes in the USA. The route up the Mist Trail, along the Panorama Trail to Glacier Point and then down the 6.4km path is the best hike in all of Yosemite National Park.

Panorama Trail hike Map

Getting there

Drive to the eastern end of Yosemite Valley and park in Happy Isle Loop parking lot. The YARTS bus can get you closer though! Make sure to check times of buses as you end up at a different place from where you started.

I’ve done this 17 people have done this
I want to do this 36 want to do this route


When to do

June through October

Backcountry Campsites



Trailhead and on route

Family friendly


Route Signage


Crowd Levels


Route Type

One Way

Panorama Trail
Elevation Graph

Route Description for Panorama Trail

This is one of the most exquisite hikes to do in Yosemite. It’s a long day, however the break at Glacier Point means you can replenish and take a lovely break. This trail has it all – the mist from the falls, incredible views up and down the valley, and the famous hike down the valley back to Yosemite.

We like going clockwise and starting with the Mist Trail to Vernal and Nevada Falls, as going down the slippery wet rocks is not fun with tired legs. This also places the Glacier Point break towards the end of the hike (approximately 18.0km in), which makes for a good treat after several hours of hiking.

The key to this trail is to either leave your car at the trailhead for 6.4km trail and take the bus to the Vernal/Nevada Falls trailhead or else start early and make sure you’re down to catch the last bus (5pm) that goes from 6.4km trail to Yosemite Village. From there you can catch a connecting bus to Vernal/Nevada Falls trailhead. If you miss the bus to return to your vehicle, you may have to walk an additional 5.0km, pushing the hike over 30 in total.

Begin the hike by heading up the world-famous Mist Trail. Follow the signs along the road, passing the campground on your left. The route is very wide the entire way, and is even paved up until the first bridge and the adjacent washrooms. The path is too steep to take a stroller, however, unless you are an extremely fit parent.

After the bridge you will have views looking up at Vernal Falls as you ascend a steep stone staircase. In big snow years the falls can get very wet, and the “mist” turns into a soaking rainstorm. Be prepared to get completely drenched. This is a definite plus on hot days (or on long camping trips without showers) but can be dangerous if doing the hike early or late in the season or in colder weather.

From the top, you can look down the gorge and up to Nevada Falls. After Vernal Falls, continue going up some long switchbacks and gain more elevation. The trail is well marked and uneventful. Getting to Nevada Falls gives wonderful views and a great place for a meal in the sun.

Coming to the top of the falls you can go left to Half Dome (permit required) however you need to follow the John Muir Trail to get to the Panorama Trail. The first climb on the trail is completely shaded and offers beautiful views of Half Dome. You will start to descend in the sun, and once you cross the Illilouette Falls you start to ascend with no shade. This can feel like a furnace on hot days, so take a lot of water. You will climb many switchbacks in the blazing sun and will finally reach Glacier Point, where you can enjoy a delicious cold treat.

It’s hard to believe there is a path down from Glacier Point when you are below, and the steep switchbacks contour between sheer cliffs to get you down safely. The park is quick to remind you that there is NO other way down, so stay on the trail! Follow the signs from Glacier Point and begin the descent in a lovely forest, with great views across to Yosemite Falls (Upper and Lower).

Fatigue from the day will start to set in, and even though it is downhill, take at least one break going down. It is easy to fall when tired and hot. Most of the descent is, after all, without shade and is sizzling even in the evening. After returning to the valley floor, walk along the trail back to the road where you can catch the bus or find your car.

If you want to find more great hikes in Yosemite, check out Clouds Rest, Sentinel Dome, Yosemite Valley or the Mist Trail!

Insider Hints

  • Understand the YARTS bus schedule and make sure you don’t add 5.0km+ at the end of the hike getting back to your car.

  • Get a Deg Muffin from Degnan’s Deli before the day starts. Yum!


Anna Louise 7 months ago

Hello, we are off to Yosemite in a couple of weeks. Would November be too dangerous to attempt this hike?

Cindy Thompson 10 months ago

The Panorama trail is epic. Get out early, try to avoid the crowds, don't go during the peak season. Just try to get a day out here when you think other's would not want to be here. Reduce the crowds and enjoy the spectacular views. Amazing.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Lisa B 1 year ago

Have to agree, Panorama Trail is the best hike in Yosemite!

10.0 Overall Rating
Physical Difficulty
mountaincat 1 year ago

Starts very easy but then the elevation begins. A hard hike but I must admit it was my absolute favourite. You get the best view of the valley and it's just magnificent. This hike is very popular but most of the crazy people are staying down in the valley so the great time is guaranteed

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
9h 30m Time Taken
JoZ 1 year ago

beautiful hard hike. i loved it. yosemites is as nice as slovenian mountains

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
9h 00m Time Taken
Mikey 1 year ago

this hike was actually one of the best ones i've done in general. it has it all. i loved it. i think only the biggest enthusiasts of this hobby go here so it really helps with reducing the crowds that other trails in yosemite struggle with

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
9h 00m Time Taken

Similar hikes to the Panorama Trail hike

Scenery of the Clouds Rest hike in Yosemite Valley

Clouds Rest Hike


The hike to Clouds Rest in Yosemite National Park is a fun day out and leads to one of the…

Mount Hoffman hike in Yosemite National Park

Mount Hoffman


We loved the hike up Mount Hoffman. The views from the summit were said by John Muir to be amongst…

Trail of the Mount Dana hike in Yosemite National Park

Mount Dana


Hiking up to the summit of Mount Dana is a great day out to Yosemite’s second highest peak with astounding…