Today’s hike will provide great views, a solid workout for the legs and lungs, and be reasonably crowd-free. As this hike does take place in Yosemite National Park, always come prepared for a crowd, but this route should be relatively crowd free if you get started prior to 8 am.
This hike starts at Glacier Point. For those who haven’t been here, this is the location in the park that gives you a full overlook of the valley floor and is famous for its view of Half-dome. There is a large area for parking, but if you arrive after 7:30am it is highly likely parking will be difficulty to find (especially during peak season).
The hike starts at approximate 7200ft and will incorporate an elevation loss of around 1300ft. As you make your way from the parking lot to the valley overlook, you’ll hang a right and head down the Panorama trail. If you decide to follow the complete Panorama trail, you’ll be looking at around 18 miles of travel round trip and 3800ft of uphill, so in that case expect a full day!
As you begin making your way downhill, you will perform a couple short switchbacks and then hug the southern side of the valley wall. Depending on the time of year, this portion of the trail will be exposed to the sun with minimal breaks of shade. This will make it rough if you plan on ruckking.
After approximately 1.5 miles, the trail will fork and you can either keep heading east or take a turn to the north – follow the trail to the north and continue downhill. You will make a few short switchbacks again prior to entering shade. You will make your way around the bend to meet the bridge over the falls, which will reveal an unique perspective on Half-Dome. You’ll then make one final turn and connect down to the bridge.
Enjoy the water, soak your feet, and prep for your stretch back uphill – cause the easy part of the hike is now over.
All in all this is a really solid hike – and I encountered my first wild bear on it so wildlife will be present as well!
If you have any questions regarding this hike or have any suggestions for future hike summaries just lemme know in the comments below!