Friday, August 8, 2008

Great Hikes in Yosemite: The Panorama Trail

One of the most scenic trails leading into Yosemite Valley, the Panorama Trail offers sweeping views of the Sierra landscape including some of the most famous granite formations and waterfalls Yosemite has to offer. At 9-miles one-way, the most enjoyable way to start this trail is to take the shuttle bus service to Glacier Point and begin the descent into Yosemite Valley.

The gradual descent back to the Valley floor gives hikers time to savor the views along the way. Within the first mile of the hike, panoramic views of Half Dome and the High Sierra remain in view. Shortly after, the trail will cross Illouette Creek, offering a spectacular view of Illouette Fall.

The trail continues with great views of Glacier Point and Yosemite Valley. As the half-way point of the trail approaches, the back-side of Half Dome, one of Yosemite’s most famous granite structures, comes into view. Shortly after, the trail links up with the Mist Trail to take you on the final descent into Yosemite Valley past Vernal and Nevada Falls.

The best time of the year to take this hike is June – August, when the trail is snow-free and the waterfalls along the way are still flowing strong.

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