Four Mile Trail to Panorama Trail Loop

HARD 4 reviews
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Four Mile Trail to Panorama Trail Loop is a 16.5 mile loop trail located near Yosemite Village, California that offers scenic views. The trail is only recommended for very experienced adventurers and primarily used for hiking and nature trips.

16.5 miles
4478 feet


nature trips


Your trip starts at the Four Mile Trail trailhead, which is on Southside Drive about 3.3 miles east of the highway 41 / 140 junction at Bridalvail Fall. If you're staying in the valley, catch the El Capitan shuttle which runs mid-June to early October - there's a shuttle stop at the trailhead.  The first part of the hike is strenuous, climbing almost 3,300 ft in 4.6 miles from the valley floor to Glacier Point. Take a well-earned break at Glacier Point to enjoy the views and refresh yourself, then find the trailhead for the Panorama Trail just behind the mini-amphitheater. From Glacier Point, descend about 1,300 ft in 2.5 miles along the aptly named Panorama Trail until you reach Illilouette Creek. Be careful not to trip, because you'll have jaw-dropping vistas for the entire descent. When you reach the bottom, cross over the bridge to start your second (and last) major climb, gaining back almost 800 ft elevation in 1.3 miles. It's all downhill from this point on. At 10 miles you'll come across a trail junction with the John Muir Trail. Technically, this is the end of the Panorama Trail. To the right, the John Muir Trail will take you .2 miles to the top of Nevada Fall. From there, you can either retrace your steps back to the trail junction, or catch the Mist Trail on the far side of the Merced River for even more breathtaking views of Nevada and Vernal Falls. Be aware, however, the the Mist Trail is very steep, and can be very wet and slippery early in the season. If you decide to return to the trail junction, just continue straight for about another mile to Clark's Point. Here's your second chance to catch the Mist Trail at the top of Vernal Fall. If you want to do that, turn right; otherwise take the John Muir Trail to the left and continue down to the valley floor at Happy Isles. At this point, you've hiked about 13.5 miles. If you've had enough for the day, simply catch the valley shuttle from Happy Isles back to Yosemite Village.   If your car is still parked at the Four Mile Trail trailhead, then catch the El Capitan shuttle from in front of the Yosemite Visitors Center. It will drop you off at the trailhead. If you're up to hiking back to the start point, then just continue hiking straight past the Hippy Isles shuttle bus stop to pick up the trail that will take you to Curry Village. Continue walking straight through the village, past the grocery store and guest registration, through the parking lot, and through employee housing.  Pretty soon you'll find yourself on the multi-use path alongside Southside Drive. Stay on the path past the LeConte memorial until you see a trail veering off to the left just before Sentinel Bridge.  This is the Southside Trail. Take the Southside Trail for 1.3 miles until your arrive at your starting point.

2 months ago

Awesome trail. Well maintained, amazing views, you really can’t ask for anything better

2 months ago

Sunday, September 30, 2012