Vernal and Nevada Falls via the Panorama Trail

HARD 173 reviews
#10 of 215 trails in

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

DISTANCE
9.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
977 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

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
27 days ago

My wife and I hiked this trail in reverse from Glacier Point to Nevada Falls in July 2018. The Panorama Trail provides you with magnificent views along the entire trail. Be sure to bring extra water in the summer months, but if you have a filter, then there will be locations to refill bottles or bladders along the way. Bring some trekking poles as the switchbacks from Glacier down to illilouette falls is littered with large rocks and some sharp drop offs. I advise taking the reverse route as in and back, because you get some great early morning shots of Half Dome and all the falls, but in the evening when you return, you can watch the sun set on the face of Half Dome from glacier point. It will make for a very long day, but it's definitely worth the work. The trail is moderately trafficked, so be prepared to pass or be passed by other hikers, and expect to see others at the falls when arriving. There is an area between Nevada falls and Illilouette falls with some very large boulders that make for a great photo opportunity, so bring a camera! Have Fun

hiking
1 month ago

Fantastic hike with ever changing vistas. Left at about 830 AM on July 11th from Glacier Point Panoramic trailhead in summer and finished by 230 to the valley via Nevada and Vernal falls and the Mist trail. Stopped numerous times for photos and lunch at Nevada falls.

LOVED the first 6 miles during which our lizard count to other people count was 65 to 7. After Nevada falls this ratio flipped as people way outnumbered lizards and trails became very crowded. The downhill out of Nevada and the Vernal steps is a knee killer w painstaking foot placement required.

Besides the last 2 miles of knee pain and crowded trail down to the valley (which is expected in summer) this was absolutely amazing hike great vistas of Half Dome and El Capitan and numerous waterfalls..

hiking
1 month ago

Out of all the times I've been and hiked to Yosemite, this trail was the most spectacular view wise. Multiple angles of the park from the high sierra to the valley had me blown away. Even with it being 90+ degrees, this hike was worth it from beginning to end. Will never forget my experience and encourage everyone to do this hike.

hiking
1 month ago

After reading some of the reviews here I decided to include this with the Four Mile Trail and do this as a loop. I parked my car at the Half Dome Village (as close as I could get it to The Mist Trail which I would be using as an exit). I then hiked 2.2 miles back to the entrance of the Four Mile Trail and proceeded up that 4.6 miles to Glacier Point. Epic views of Yosemite Falls the whole way. I then hopped on the Panorama Trail and took that 5 miles to Nevada Falls where it junctions with The Mist Trail. The view coming down from Glacier Point is absolutely incredible. You can see all the way across the valley and the path you will be taking to Vernal and Nevada Falls. One of the things that sold me on doing this loop was that I read that the Panorama Trail was mostly all downhill. There is actually a 1.5 mile stretch right after Illilouette Falls that goes uphill that had me huffing and puffing. 3.2 more miles down The Mist Trail..those waterfalls are amazing. And then a 1 mile zombie walk back to my car. Best hike I've ever done!! 16 miles altogether. Took me 7 hours.

2 months ago

We did this trail two days ago, went up to Nevada Falls and then came back around on the John Muir trail. One of my favorite hikes! It's really crowded in the beginning, but after Vernal fall's it's way less people. We started around two and we're done by seven. This is my fourth time doing this hike. The two waterfalls are spectacular!

hiking
2 months ago

I ended up doing this fragmented, starting from bottom, and eventually being from glacier point. I think it can be worth doing the whole thing from the valley, giving you a great view of halfdome, and feeling like you deserve it (instead of driving there). Plus, it takes a while to drive there, so you won't lose so much time, especially if the parking is full and you have to wait an extra 2 hours like I had....

2 months ago

Hiked from glacier point to Nevada Falls and then hiked all the way back. Let me tell you, YOU NEED ALOT OF WATER. Your legs will hurt so take those hiking sticks with you. I had to take a couple of breaks because of the incline. Overall great trail, but you must start hiking early. I started around 11, and finished about 6pm.

3 months ago

So is 9 mil round trip or 9 mil one way!!? And how long is takes to complete the hike?

hiking
4 months ago

Sublime! Besides the awesome views, mist, and enormity of experience from such perspectives as are offered on this route, it was a treat to finally see the enormous bird that we heard for at least a half-hour making an odd fog horn-like noise: a blue grouse!

hiking
5 months ago

Awesome trail I've been able to do a couple of times...

7 months ago

Amazing when waterfalls are maxed

9 months ago

some spectacular views of the yosemite valley. I hiked from glacier point to Nevada falls and back up to glacier point. 2nd day, hiked sentinel dome. I will do it again.

hiking
9 months ago

By far my favorite hike I have done in Yosemite from glacier point down to illohoutte falls cross a bridge upside of another mountain then down to Nevada and then vernal falls and back to the valley .. amazing views the whole entire time

hiking
9 months ago

Hiked this WED, JUL 20, 2016 then back up to the start by way of the Four Mile Trail. Best day of hiking in my life. This trail is ranked #1 in my books. Beautiful! I can't wait to do it again!

11 months ago

Great Views of Yosemite Valley! We'll work the 8.5miles to the top of Glacier Point!

hiking
11 months ago

Took this trail on the way down from glacier point after taking the four-mile trail up. The views are amazing and it's a great hike! Challenging by the waterfall but so pretty!

hiking
11 months ago

Intense hike with breath taking views. Took me 6hrs for the round trip.

Friday, August 18, 2017

One of my favorites at Yosemite!

hiking
Sunday, July 09, 2017

This is an AMAZING hike. I did it in the opposite direction--from the valley floor up to Glacier Point, and then came down the 4-mile trail. The whole 14-mile haul was quite strenuous, but the views were incredible.

The beginning of the hike (near Vernal Falls, especially) is packed with people--but the mist from the waterfalls keeps you cool going up, and the falls are well worth seeing despite the crowds. Once you get past Nevada Falls (heading towards Glacier Point) the crowds thin out substantially. You've also done a substantial portion of the uphill by that point, though past Nevada Falls there's a switchbacking climb, a bit of downhill to hit Illilouette Falls, and then a final uphill push from the falls to Glacier Point. (The last uphill mile felt really tough. I don't think it's actually that steep at that point, but the trail there is sunny and I'd been hiking for a while.) The views of Half Dome and Yosemite Valley along this trail were awesome. Highly recommended, but pack lots of water and snacks. I had a great summit picnic just before Glacier Point!

hiking
Sunday, July 09, 2017

Really good hike. Just the the overview reads up top - phenomenal views. Poor CA air quality can ruin some otherwise great photo opportunities. I started my hike at 0600 sharp and ran into a doe after the first switchback less than a 1/4 mile down the trail. Just prior to Illilouette Fall ran into a big Black Bear (rocking the summer coat no doubt) on the trail itself. Went for about another 1/2 mile up and it felt like uphill switchbacks so decided to head back to the truck. Getting back up there about 0930-10 and the parking lot was beyond packed. If you plan on doing this hike highly recommend you start early and bring a buddy (or some bear mace).

hiking
Saturday, July 08, 2017

Great hike started at about 7:30 am after a 2.5hr drive, well worth it. The falls were over flowing due to the bad winter and a lot of snow, at one point one of the falls was overflowing and created a waterfall over the trail which we had to hike through, one of many times I got wet... but it felt good. I would advise getting there early, as the park tends to fill up making it impossible to park.

hiking
Saturday, July 01, 2017

Truly amazing hike. Just remember: bring sun blocker, mosquito repellent, good hiking shoes, plenty water and there is no regular shuttle bus between Glacier Point and the Valley so add almost 5 more beautiful but challenging miles to your hike.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Stunning views of waterfalls and famous peaks on this trail, views that literally take your breath away. You get to cross Illilouette Creek once and the Merced 3 times, once at top of Nevada falls, once at top of Vernal, and last at the Vernal footbridge. These crossings lend a lot of charm and interest to the hike. Make sure you have good shoes. The footing can be quite slippery at many points along the way, plus the almost relentless downhill can be a toe-buster if your feet slide forward and your toes jam up against the shoe. :( Add 1.5 miles if you opt to take John Muir (from Clark Point) in the final stretch instead of Mist Trail. And I know a bunch of the reviewers thought the trail was moderate, but for this 46-year old in moderate shape, it felt closer to difficult.

Friday, June 23, 2017

you get WET!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Take your time enjoy it

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Take your time enjoy it

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Take your time enjoy it

hiking
Monday, June 12, 2017

We did the Panorama trail on the Memorial Day weekend and it was just spectacular. The waterfalls right now are gigantic and the trail wasn't crowded at all. We hiked up to Glacier Point and then did the trail back to the Valley. I wouldn't consider this hike being difficult except for the steps along the Vernal Falls at the end of the trail which can be quite slippery and you really need to pay full attention after hiking for a couple of hours.

hiking
Saturday, June 10, 2017

So I decided to convince my group of friends to do this hike from the Valley Floor to Glacier Point Rd in the middle of August. It was ambitious, but to this day it is one of my fondest memories of Yosemite. The incline was really steep to get to the falls, but I would say there were about a few miles here and there where it was relatively flat switchbacks. We started our day early and I think it took us about 6.5 hours to complete the hike with breaks, lunch and pictures, Stunning scenery and there is an incredible feeling of achievement when you reach Glacier Point Rd and you can look upon the panorama trail and be able to identify all the falls you hiked past. If I were to do it again I would have done the hike in late spring.

hiking
Monday, May 22, 2017

Just finished this yesterday. Great hike! If you're coming from Glacier Point down the hike should be rated as moderate. The only strenuous part coming down from Glacier Point was after the Illilouette footbridge. It took me 2.5 hours to get to the top of Nevada falls and another hour to get down to the bus stop. The person who said it was potentially a7 hour hike from Glacier Point isn't quite right. 7 hours is insanely long for this trail! It was a somewhat busy trail; I passed between 30-40 people between Glacier point and Nevada falls on a Friday afternoon. Overall it is a beautiful trail and I look forward to doing it again.

If your feeling up to adding some milage to your hike you can head back towards little yosemite valley/JMT. It's very beautiful (but wet) there behind all the different domes.

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