Thursday, May 25, 2017

Yosemite: Glacier Point And The Panorama Trail

Dale Matson

Click On Photographs To Enlarge

From Fresno California take highway 41 north to the Yosemite Gate then take Wawona Road to the Glacier Point Road turnoff at Chinquapin. Glacier Point is another 15 miles. It is about a 2 hour 15 minute drive and requires an early start to avoid traffic and parking issues, which become difficult later in the day.
            There are roadside views along the way at the Clark Range Overlook, Sentinel Dome and Washburn Point. Sentinel Dome requires a hike and climb to the top but the view is 360 degrees. Glacier Point (7,200’) is about a one-quarter mile walk from the parking area. On a clear day I believe it is the best view in the park with the least effort.

 Yosemite Falls
 Mt. Hoffman, Kettle Dome And North Dome

 Don't Believe This Sign!

Panorama Trail Route

 Illilouette Falls
 Illilouette Creek

 Mike The Patient Trail Buddy

 Half Dome And Mt. Hoffman

 Illilouette Creek And Falls

 Mt. Clark Center

            The Panorama Trail is about 5.5 miles round trip to the bridge over Illilouette Creek. You can see the falls from an area just off the trail before you drop down to the bridge. Take plenty of water for the return climb of about 1,400’ back to Glacier Point. The sign at Glacier Point says it is only 2 miles to the bridge but don’t believe it.
            If you are interested in a longer hike you can continue on the trail past the bridge to Nevada Falls and then return. You could also park in Yosemite Valley at Half Dome Village and take the shuttle bus to Glacier Point and hike back down.
            There is a lot to see from Glacier Point and plenty of views along the Panorama Trail. Just remember to get an early start because it can be a hot climb back out from Illilouette Creek.

            The photographs were taken with a Sony A7R2 with an adapted Leica 28mm 2.8, Voightlander 15mm 4.5, and a Zeiss Batis 85mm 1.8.

A YouTube Video consisting of these photographs and additional video clips is available here.


  1. A buddy and I did the 4 mile trail up to Glacier Point then took this trail down back to the valley floor. We thought that it would be mostly down hill but you have to climb back up to about the altitude of Glacier Point, then head down to the valley floor. Finished hiking down the Mist Trail. Overall, great hike, but a killer one. I think we logged about 16 miles that day.

  2. When you hit the bridge over Illilouette Creek you have to climb out in either direction you take. Glacier Point would seem like a good place to start to get to Half Dome but it has more climb if done as an out and back than starting from Happy Isles. I remember the climb to to Nevada Falls from the Illilouette Creek bridge goes above 6,000 and actually drops back down as you approach Nevada Falls.

  3. Have you hiked Twin Lakes this year yet? I've been looking to do it but don't know it kaiser road is open yet. One of my favorite hikes and you said you do it every year as a warm up.

  4. Hi Justin,
    Here is the current road report on Kaiser Pass Road.
    Your "namesake" Potter" Pass is about 9,000'. I don't think much is snow free above 7,000' yet. Most of my hiking for now is below 7,000'. My son and I tried to get to Courtright Reservoir for photographs today and the road is closed. We went to Wishon Reservoir instead.