Vernal and Nevada Falls via the Panorama Trail

HARD 224 reviews
#14 of 246 trails in

Vernal and Nevada Falls via the Panorama Trail is a 9 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Yosemite Valley, California that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from May until October.

Distance: 9.0 miles Elevation Gain: 977 feet Route Type: Point to Point

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

A mostly-downhill hike with views of Half Dome, Nevada Fall, Vernal Fall, Yosemite Falls and the Yosemite Valley. There is no better hike in Yosemite National Park which offers the amazing views of Half Dome, Vernal Fall, Nevada Fall, Illilouette Fall, Yosemite Fall, and the entire Valley than the Panorama Trail. This hike will take you on an adventure from Glacier Point, high above the valley, down to the Mist Trail where you will hike next to both Nevada and Vernal Falls. The hike ends near Curry Village where you can grab a bite to eat or take the free shuttle to anywhere in the park. While this hike loses 2,800ft in elevation, it is not an easy hike; some would even rate it as strenuous. After the initial climb down to Illilouette Fall you will hike back up 800ft of steep switchbacks before hiking down the same distance immediately after. The Mist Trail can be especially tough on the knees, especially the section from the top of Nevada Fall to Vernal Fall, which is almost exclusively made up of small stone steps. But don't let that discourage you, the views of the Falls, the Valley, and the surrounding area more than make up for the aches and pains you may keep with you the next few days.

hiking
2 months ago

This is a spectacular hike. I started from hiking from Curry Village to Happy Isles, worked my way up to Vernal and Neveda Falls and proceeded to Illiouette Falls, Glacier Point and worked my way down 4 Miles. This hike is easily 16 miles and offers sensational views along the way. If you plan to do the full Panorama Trial start early and depending on the season dress appropriately. It is a stellar loop hike. The trail is marked and well maintained. When you come down the mountain via 4 Miles Trail, if you miss the shuttle like I did plan to hike another 1.5 miles back to Curry Village. It made from a long day.

hiking
2 months ago

This trail was amazing! I hiked it with 5 other friends. Now we are all active duty military and this was still a very challenging hike for us. A couple of us wore smart watches and clocked in our total mileage at 13.2 miles. The elevation for this trail says 977 ft, but about half way through the hike it was made very clear that the elevation was very wrong lol. Once you get to Nevada falls, it makes everything worth it. At the top of the falls there was a small pool of water that made a great are to cool down. We started at 11 and ended at about 1730. We took about an hour break at Nevada falls so our actual hiking time was about 5-5 1/2 hours. Highly recommend being in shape and coming prepared with lots of water!

I walked the trail from Yosemite Valley to Glacier Point. Very exhausting but absolutely rewarding route !!. I started at 9 o'clock and it was not too many hikers on the way to Vernal and Nevada Falls. The long natural stairs along the falls are exhausting but you can marvel at the falls from all angles. The further way on the Panorama Trail is great (only a few hikers!) And you have a great view of the Half Dome, the Merced Valley and the other plateaus of Yosemite Park. Overall, the entire route is almost 16 km long with over 1,300 vertical meters. It can be very warm in the midday sun, despite many shadow passages. Recommended: sensible hiking boots (no jogging shoes), change shirt, water, something to eat, sunscreen and camera. Not: dogs

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

Hiked from Glacier Point through Nevada and Vernal falls. The hike is stunning though hard! Don't get fooled it's an easy hike down. Mostly downhill, but quite a hike up to Nevada fall. Next, long several miles down rocky stairs. The waterfall views are priceless, so definitely worth it! The trail was pretty dry at this time of the year.

hiking
3 months ago

Made a full loop including the falls and came down four mile hike. It was a full day with lots of beautiful views.

Beautiful trail, barely saw another soul for the first 6.5 miles and then it turned into a complete traffic jam at the falls. But the views are amazing!

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

Just and amazing hike. Definitely strenuous at the top. Best views of any hike I have ever dome. Great place to chill on rocks and have lunch at Nevada Falls.

hiking
3 months ago

I did it as a part of Half Dome last week, Mist Trail up, John Muir down. I wrote a blog piece about my experience called “A Non-Hikers Guide to Half Dome” which covers the Vernal/Nevada falls (and lots of pictures), along with how to prep. http://www.tofeelalive.com/2019/08/09/a-non-hikers-guide-to-half-dome/

hiking
4 months ago

Great walk with incredible views. A bit hot and exposed in a couple of places but rest spots available to cool off. Rivers and falls the highlights, but views of the back side of halfdome and down the valley also worth the effort. Be sure to include the last falls (vernal) rather than getting tempted to clip it shorter- the spray and walk down refreshing from the heat.

Started at Glacier Point at 6am. Met a large black bear walking on trail ahead of me 20 minutes into trail. Made noise & threw a large rock at his feet & he meandered out of sight. I was hiking solo so after taking a few minutes to collect myself after my bear encounter, I proceeded on Panarama Trail till half a mile or so before Nevada Falls before hiking back up to Glacier Point. Beautiful, beautiful hike...tough last 2 miles to the top in the heat & sun but a great hike!

hiking
5 months ago

We did this trail starting from Nevada falls to Glacier Point at around 1pm. Perfect since we were the only one doing the trail in that sense, we crossed many people hiking the regular way. We arrived at Glacier Point at around 5pm (after half hiking/running from Illilouette falls to Glacier Point; the running part was not a challenge, we were looking after a missing child that we found and brought back to his parents at the Illilouette Bridge). The view was amazing, Half dome, Nevada falls, etc. Strongly recommended !

hiking
5 months ago

Did this trail in reverse starting from Half Dome Village and ending at Glacier Point. Started around 5:30am and reached Glacier Point around 1pm. Beautiful views of the valley and waterfalls. Be sure to take plenty of water, we had about 5L for two of us and ran out at Illilouette Falls and it was a rough two miles to Glacier Point in the hot sun. Not many people do the trail in reverse so if you’d like a more private hike start from Half Dome Village! We only started seeing more hikers once we hit Illilouette Falls because the Glacier Point shuttle had arrived earlier and hikers were making their way down. Will definitely be doing this hike again in the future!

hiking
5 months ago

Nature is just totally bragging on this one. Illouette, Nevada, Vernal. You literally walk across the tops of three world-class waterfalls. The power of the water flow was incredible. And then there is Yosemite Falls in the distance. Plus Half Dome from so many angles. We started at Glacier Point and hiked down to the Valley floor on Panorama then Mist Trail. So did not do 4 mile. And it wasn’t very hard. Start early. (Do with a friend who can leave a shuttle car in the valley.) You will have the trail to yourself for 2/3s of the hike, until the top of Nevada. Then share everything with masses of people. Incredible water flow this year has brought many people to Yosemite. 10 miles, 6 hours really taking your time. Half Dome: the challenge of climbing the rock. Clouds Rest: unworldly views Panorama: waterfalls Because of our early start, shade and water at the bottom of mist trail,we only needed about 1 L water each (I added in liquid IV to mine) (Note. When you get to the valley floor take a shower, get a good meal. Relax. Do not drive your car in the valley during the day. #1 rule. It’s madness. Around dinner time go retrieve your car from glacier point. Or, alternatively just do the whole hike as a loop including 4 mile trail. We didn’t because we had so many kids in our group) J wore 2 shoes this time. Don’t forget to take Fritos. Of course waterfall flow depends on time of year. Will do again.

hiking
5 months ago

This one has been on our bucket list for many years now. As recent retirees looking to get back into shape for the "last half" we have been doing weekly hikes at home to get ready for our trip to the Valley. We started at Glacier at 8:00 am. Stunning views and only met 2 hikers coming from the bottom until we hit the Nevada Falls turn off. Took the JMT down, was very crowded. The wall of water was awesome, later I wished I had not tried to keep so dry as I passed thru it as it was pretty hot by the time we reached the bottom. We were camping in North Pines where we finished. Finished in 5:31. GPS said 10.94 miles.

hiking
5 months ago

One of my favorite hikes ever! The views of Half Dome and the valley are continuous along the first stretch of trail to Illiouette Falls. Panorama Point spur trail is shortly after that, though the trail is not marked. You wind through shrubs until they suddenly open up to fantastic views of the valley. Most of the trail is not strenuous, but a gradual downhill. The exceptions are hiking up from Illiouette Falls and then hiking down the steps past Nevada and Vernal falls. I was so impressed by the power of the waterfalls. The rushing waters create their own windstorms as they crash over the cliffs. The waterfalls are great places to stop, rest, set up a hammock, and relax. By far, our favorite part was hiking down the Mist Trail after Vernal Falls. It was absolutely breathtaking and exhilarating! You will get soaked though, so be prepared.

hiking
5 months ago

We did this hike with a group of 13. An amazing hike with incredible views. We did this hike backwards... starting down in the valley and finishing at Glacier Point. Mostly uphill and at times steep uphill. Much more rewarding than starting at top though. Hope to do it again!

hiking
rocky
5 months ago

The views from this hike were incredible. You will see half dome at so many angles and you’ll see so many waterfalls and walk through some really unique parts of trail. I would say this hike is more moderate with a couple hard sections and some steeper downhill closer to the end. When we got down to the part where panorama trail and John Muir intersect, rather than going right to Nevada Falls we went left on John Muir Trail. Glad we did because there is the coolest section of trail that walks under a wall of flowing water sort of like a waterfall (if you’re not looking to get wet you can avoid the water mostly). When John Muir and mist trail connect, I suggest going right to at least the top of vernal falls to get a picture. After that you can either go down mist trail (which is very busy with people and is a lot of steps some of them steep) or go back to John Muir to go down (which is steep kind of monotonous switchbacks with maybe a little less of a crowd but still busy). Any way you do this hike, it’s going to be beautiful - the end just might be a little busy and hard on the knees after having already done 7-8 miles prior.

hiking
5 months ago

So, wxcellents spots on the trail but other portions are drawn out and a little long before the next big attraction. Dont let this deter you though! 3 falls and excellent lunch spot.

hiking
5 months ago

Best day hike loop in the valley! We started at the valley floor and took 4 mile trail to glacier point. We then took Panorama trail to Nevada falls. Next we went down mist trail passing Vernal Falls, and finally walked the valley floor loop back to 4 mile trailhead. Was supposed to be a 17 mile loop but we both recorded a little over 20 miles on our fit bits.

hiking
6 months ago

This is one gorgeous trail. Make sure not to miss the illilouette Falls viewpoint little bit before the bridge. The path along Nevada falls is really hard to go down so just be careful. And get ready for the showers along Vernal falls. Combined with Four Mile Trail. This includes almost everything great Yosemite has to offer.

hiking
6 months ago

If you want to see all the waterfalls and some of the best views of Yosemite, take this trail. I started on the 4 mile trail up to Glacier and added the Panorama to get back to the valley floor. I started at 10:30 and it took me 4 hours to get to the end of the Mist Trail. From there, catch the shuttle to where every you parked. This is a long trial, but an easy route most of the way. After you cross over Illiloutte Falls, you get to the uphill section of this trail. It lasts for about a mile or so. Take a break and be sure to look back towards Glacier Point and Yosemite Falls. Once you reach the ridge, you drop down towards Nevada Falls and get a great view of the back side of Half Dome. Also, Illiloutte Falls is a gorgeous water fall, but you dont get a good look at it unless you vear off the trail a little before you work your ways down to the bridge. See the point of interest marker on the map right before the creek. If you dont go there, you will be disappointed after you cross the river because you'll realize you cant see anything from the other side.

hiking
6 months ago

The waterfall is gushing and amazing and you will get wet!! Trail is steep and a bit slippery in spots. Recommend going early in the morning before all the crowds as it is a very popular hike.

hiking
6 months ago

Made it to about halfway between Illilouette Falls and Nevada Falls before turning around due to the time of day wasn't that difficult climbing back out to Glacier Point. There are trees that have fallen across the trail in several spots and one that fell into the trail hiding it. Passed a lot of people with no water on them and even saw someone drink water from one of the streams please make sure you come prepared!

7 months ago

beautiful snow blocking last bit of trail 4/12/19

hiking
10 months ago

If you have no way to get to Glacier Point to start the Panorama Trail, you can start from the "4 Mile Trail" but beware of the steep uphill dizzying switchbacks and the kids who like to run down the switch backs! Once you get to the top, you can rest at Glacier Point then take the Panorama Trail down hill for the most part. There's only a short section where you climb then it's downhill again. Take the John Muir Trail (behind Nevada Falls) even though sections of it are paved (or used to be paved) it's much easier on downhill knees than the Mist Trail (Vernal Falls).

11 months ago

This hike never disappoints! Hiked this again July 2018. Glacier point to the valley floor. So far, this is my favorite of all time.

Wed Nov 21 2018

I’m not sure I’m reporting on the correct trail. I did a loop starting from the Myst Trail. Once you get by all the tourist on the paved portion of the trail, you can either go up the mist Trail or take the Muir trail to your right. I say start on the Muir trail and go counterclockwise and descend on the Myst Trail. The reason, there is less people going counterclockwise and the hike is more comfortable and less rocky. On the Myst Trail you are essentially climbing stairs a large portion of the trail and there’s tons of people. The mist Trail has really narrow steep portions which isn’t comfortable when there’s a lot of people on the trail. For those not prepared for this type of hike, you come across groups sitting on the stairs huffing, without water, which you have to navigate. If you love stair climbing, start with the Myst Trail. The entire trail is breathtaking. The waterfalls are so enjoyable. There was still a little ice at the top in November. On the way down on the mist Trail, I came across a bear Around 330 4:00 PM. It was a juvenile bear. It could actually care less about me however since I was hiking by myself, it kind of gave me a startle. Please make sure you read about the bear policy and how to handle the situation if you come across to bear. I would do the trail over and over again. So scenic and you see half dome to your left. Bring lots of water and snacks and enjoy yourself.

hiking
Sun Nov 18 2018

Love this hike. Great views.

Wed Nov 07 2018

Beautiful scenery. I took the Mist trail and my toe fingers were killing me when I ended this trail.

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