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4 Mile Trail -vs- Panorama Trail

PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 12:54 am
by archive
Author: Anne (
Date: 07-03-05 22:09

If you had to choose only one . . . which would you do . . . the 4 Mile Trail or the Panorama Trail?? I am aware that one is longer than the other. Are the views on the Panorama Trail greater, more spectacular? Do they both end in the valley where we could catch a shuttle back to the Lodge? Is one more crowded? More steep? We have done up to 10 mile hikes before in the Rockies.

Would you recommend any other must do hikes anywhere in the park? Thank you for any recommendations.


Re: 4 Mile Trail -vs- Panorama Trail
Author: Dan Anderson (
Date: 07-03-05 22:25

There's no contest--Panorama Trail has more variety and scenery than the Four Mile Trail. The FMT is better if you have limited time. Both can be done one way (take the tour bus up or down), or round-trip. FMT ends up a half mile from Yosemite Lodge and the Panorama Trail hooks up with tje John Muir Trail back to Happy Isles (and shuttle stop).

See ... =319&t=319 ... =319&t=319

The Yosemite Falls Trails is good for close-up views of the upper falls and Yosemite Creek above the falls. As it's on the north side, it's a lot hotter than the Panorama or FMT.

The Snow Creek Trail from Mirror Lake gives you close-up views of the flat face of Half Dome.

Several nice hikes in the Tuolumne Meadows area and the Wawona Grove at the southern end of the park has a Giant Sequoia grove.

Re: 4 Mile Trail -vs- Panorama Trail
Author: Anne (
Date: 07-03-05 22:56

Thank you Dan for your very speed reply to this Michigan hiker. Our plans are to take our rental van up very early, hike down, then only one of us return up on the tour bus to shutttle down the van. Based on your reply, we'll probably shoot for the Panorama Trail if time permits.

I will write down your other recommendations. We plan on going to Tuolumne Meadows and Wawona Grove for a day each while there. I'm sure I will ask more questions soon.

Thanks again,

Re: 4 Mile Trail -vs- Panorama Trail
Author: Bill Elms (158.96.4.---)
Date: 09-13-05 13:11

I always do both - in a loop. Take the Four Mile Trail up in the morning (when it's shady), take in Glacier Point for lunch rest, and down to Happy Isles via the Panorama Trail in the afternoon. 13 miles or so. If you're in good shape, no problem.

Re: 4 Mile Trail -vs- Panorama Trail
Author: Paul (
Date: 02-03-06 05:19

Is there a shuttle bus to the 4 mile trail trailhead from the Valley campgrounds?

Re: 4 Mile Trail -vs- Panorama Trail
Author: Dan (
Date: 02-03-06 07:59

Not directly. You take the shuttle bus to Yosemite Lodge/Camp 4 shuttle bus stop (at the south end of the Yosemite Lodge parking lot). Take the trail south on the Swinging Bridge (which no longer swings) over the Merced River and on the other side is the Four Mile Trail trailhead. Look at a map first.

Maps: ... _maps.html

Re: 4 Mile Trail -vs- Panorama Trail
Author: Jennifer LaDuca (
Date: 02-17-06 19:15

I typically hike up the 4-mile trail and take a break at Glacier Point. During the summer when the store is open up there I get a snack before heading down the Panorama Trail. I think it is thirteen miles with a small section of uphill after descending from Glacier Point to Illouette Creek. Otherwise it's all down hill from Glacier Point and you wouldn't have to worry about retrieving your car. It's an all day hike and the 4-mile trail is pretty strenuous, but I would definately recommend it as a combined hike. Take your hiking poles!

Four Mile Trail/Panorama Trail Questions

PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 1:11 am
by archive
Author: Renee (
Date: 04-06-05 16:31

We will be camping in Yosemite Valley and are interested in doing this hike to Glacier Point.

We have done the hike to Half Dome twice (chickened out both times on going to the top). I am wondering how this compares to the Half Dome hike? (just as strenuous?)

Should we take the 4 mile trail to Glacier Point and Panorama back to the valley? Or Panorama to Glacier Point and 4 mile back? (is one way easier than the other?)

I read that the Panorama Trail begins at the Swinging Bridge Picnic Area. Where exactly is that? Can we park around there?

Thank you in advance to anyone that can help!

Re: Four Mile Trail/Panorama Trail Questions
Author: Dan Anderson (
Date: 04-06-05 17:31

Both are easier than Half Dome, and both are just as easy. I prefer hiking up the Panorama Trail than hiking up the Four Mile Trail--your uphill is broken up.

Half Dome is 6000' up from the Valley. Glacier Point is "only" 3000' up (plus another 1000' for the Panorama Trail).

It's still a long day. At least you have lunch waiting for you at Glacier Point.

A real-easy way is to take the morning daily tour bus from the Valley hotels up to Glacier Point, then hike down the Four Mile or Panorama (I prefer Panorama).

The Four Mile Trail begins south of the Swining Bridge Picnic Area, southwest of Yosemite Lodge off of the Southside Drive (the road coming in). There is a sign and parking for the Four Mile Trail.

Get a map before you go off and bring some water.

Re: Four Mile Trail/Panorama Trail Questions
Author: Renee (
Date: 04-06-05 17:51

Thanks very much for the info! I appreciate it. :)

Re: Four Mile Trail/Panorama Trail Questions
Author: john rodgers (
Date: 05-27-05 09:31

In my opinion, the best time to do the four mile/panorama trail is prior to the opening of the Glacier Point road to cars, which is historically Memorial day or beyond. During this time, when you arrive at Glacier Point (one of the finest viewing locations of the valley floor) via the four mile trail (approx. 4.8 miles), you will witness Yosemite valley at its finest. There is something to be said about arriving at GP with a minimal amount of hikers present. Normally, GP is a zoo of people. Having said that, I will attempt to address the specifics of your question. Don't underestimate the difficulty of the four mile trail. It's strenuous. Although half dome is tougher in elevation gain and distance, the overall elevation gain is not that significant. I believe half dome is approx. 4,400 ft. above the valley floor and the four mile trail is approx. 3,200 ft. of elevation gain in half the distance compared to the half dome hike. On the four mile trail, you will see spectacular views of Yosemite falls and the valley floor. Once you reach GP, you will have views of Half dome, nevada and vernal falls, yosemite falls, and many other marvelous features the valley has to offer. The panorama trail connects to GP. From GP, you will descend for a mile or two on the PT with awesome views of Nevada and Vernal falls. You will then encounter illoutte falls, which requires a bridge crossing over illoutte creek. It's time to climb again for a couple of miles. I remember catching a unique angle of yosemite falls during this section of the PT. Once you finish the last climb, you will descend downhill to Nevada falls. At this point, you can take the John Muir trail or cross the bridge above Nevada falls and take the mist trail down to the trail head at Happy Isles. Just below the Vernal falls bridge (1/4 mi), look to your left and up to see a great view of Illloutte falls from a different perspective. If you plan to start at Happy Isles, reverse the sequence. Be prepared to plan ahead in terms of leaving a car, taking the shuttle, or arranging for a pick up depending on your start location. I believe the four mile trail/panorama trail is approx. 12-14 miles in length. Although the elevation at GP is constant, I am confident it would be a tad easier to access GP via the Mist or John Muir/ panorama trail vs the 4 mi. trail. To hazard a guess based on my experiences of this hike, it's approx. 7-8 mi. to GP via Mist/panorama trail vs. approx. 5 mi. to GP on the 4 mi. trail. In other words, it's longer but it's less steep of a gradient. Disclaimer: I've recollected all info. from memory and didn't consult a map prior to writing this response. Any minor errors are unintentional. Regards, J. Rodgers

Re: Four Mile Trail/Panorama Trail Questions
Author: Renee (
Date: 06-02-05 21:39

Thank you for the info!