Illilouette Falls Trail is a 5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Yosemite National Park, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from April until November.
Trail leads to a bridge and cascades on Illilouette Creek just above the falls, with a series of granite benches extending out into the creek that make choice spots to stop for a snack and hang out. Along the trail are views of Vernal and Nevada Falls, North Dome, the Royal Arches, and the back of Half Dome - the trail can be extended another half mile to Panorama Point via a sandy spur off to the left of the trail. Trail is downhill via a series of long switchbacks, but remember you have to hike back up so plan for twice as long a trip back up. If this hike isn't challenging enough for you, continue along this trail to the top of the Mist Trail and all the way to Yosemite Valley, an 8.5 mile trip one way.
To date, this is the most beautiful trail I have ever been on. Was on this trail heading to Little Yosemite before summiting Half Dome on Labor Day Weekend. Definitely not crowded, even on a holiday weekend. You get views of valley and the high country that you just cannot describe.
We were originally permitted and intending to sleep near Illioutte Fall our first night. It is basically impossible to legally backcountry camp along this route. Anywhere that is flat, holds soil and is far enough away from the trails and water sources is too dense with vegetation. You should plan to push all the way through to an area like Little Yosemite Campground.
At must hike. A great way to hike to the Valley if you can get someone to drop you off.
Got to Glacier Point early; it was a beautiful morning and beat the regular Glacier Point crowds - we even had Washburn Point all to ourselves as we ate breakfast. We parked at the upper lot next to the steps and walked over to Glacier Point first - then down the Panorama Trail to Illilouette Falls and past to Panorama Point (5 mi. RT). A great hike even if you're not going all the way down to the valley (and the hike back up from there is not trivial - ~1800 ft. elev change if including Panorama Point - so take snacks, lunch and plenty of water! and much of trail is in direct sunlight, so take sunscreen). Some good views of the Falls with Half Dome in the background via a short spur to the left you can easily see from the main trail about a quarter mile before you get to the bridge. About 0.5 mile AFTER you cross the bridge over Illilouette Creek, go up trail and look for UNMARKED short 100 meter spur which starts at a sandy spot on the left of the trail and cuts right to Panorama Point through some manzanitas; surprisingly the park does not advertise this hidden gem, but the access seems to be open and well-maintained. This is a great warmup hike for Half Dome and offers some great scenery along the way!