My hiking & inspiration guide to The Panorama Trail
It’s 05:00 in the morning and still pitch black outside when we drive off from the hotel. Our plan is to catch sunrise at Glacier Point, a viewpoint in Yosemite that is situated 2199 meters above sea level.
When we get to the viewpoint we are greeted by gorgeous mountains, a wonderful view of Half Dome and a sky on fire. It is simply breathtaking!
After watching the sun rise behind Half Dome me and Katarina set off on a hike. We are to walk down to the valley floor from Glacier Point following the Panorama Hike Trail for 8.5 miles (13.5 km).
This hike rates as a 6 / 10 in difficulty going downhill from the top to the bottom of the valley. We had considered doing the trek upphill but I am very pleased with our decision to do it the other way around.
It’s a beautiful autumn day to do a hike in Yosemite. We have the path all for ourselves in the early hours of the day with only a coyote running on the path ahead of us and some chipmunks darting back and forth across the road. As time passes and the sun rises higher in the sky we start to shed our layers.
Thankfully the shadows in between the trees are cool and soothing.
We walk leisurely while talking and taking everything in. It smells of forest and smoke (they’re doing controlled fires throughout the valley) and after a while we start to hear a waterfall fall in the distance.
Then we finally reach Illouette falls, the first fall out of three.
Somewhere along the way the Panorama Trail turnes into the Mist Trail that goes along all three waterfalls and is said to be a beautiful hike. During this season the waterfalls doesn’t hold a lot of water though, but they’re still quite the sight to see.
One of the rocks normally hidden by the water in Illouette falls is now dried out and situated in the sun so we sit down to enjoy a second breakfast / early lunch. What we usually had while out and about was sandwiches with tomatoes, red onion and tuna. What’s your go to snack for hikes?
Before setting off on this journey, I went to Naturkompaniet and invested in a Leatherman. It really came in handy for things like opening cans or bottles and slicing vegetables. It feels good to always have it in my pack as a part of my basic equipment.
Low water levels in Illuoette falls
After lunch the trail starts to slope uphill & the hike becomes more strenuous. This has us to walk in silence and focus on our steps, putting one foot in front of the other and just listen to the sound of nature.
We meet one person doing the hike from the valley floor to the top and further down the trail we encounter two more couples emerge through the foliage. But other than that we are still all alone. Except for all of the curious squirrels of course; Perched on tree trunks or rocks they watch us from a distance until we get too close and then they dart away.
We also see a beautiful Stellers’s Jay jumping around amongst the fallen leaves, it’s blue colors offering a wonderful contrast to the warm hues of autumn.
The views along the Panorama Trail are beyond amazing and of course we have to stop and enjoy it all.
I ate a crazy amount of Clif Bars during my stay in Yosemite. They come in so many delicious flavors and really provide you with protein and energy whilst being active + they are easy to carry with you when hiking.
And not only do they offer a great product, but Clif Bars also do what they can to have a sustainable production which I value greatly and it feels so good to support them.
My dear friend Katarina, thank you for being such a fun travel and hiking company, and for helping me get shots of myself when I was too lazy to use my tripod (which was almost all the time) ♥︎
As I hike it’s not just my feet moving me forward, I feel my mind wander as well. My thoughts go here and there and I think of everything yet nothing in particular. It’s soothing for the soul and it makes me feel free which is why I love hiking so much.
The forests here are the most beautiful ones I’ve ever witnessed. Just like in Sweden it’s mostly coniferous trees and even though the flora is kind of similar to ours, it looks completely different.
The sunlight shines through the trees and I see huge pine cones scattered everywhere. I’m thankful to be here during fall so that I get to experience Yosemite clad in my favorite season.
During the entire first part of the hike, Half Dome was always visible in some direction.
I felt very pleased with my decision to bring along my Marsden Camera Pack from Millican. It’s perfect for shorter hikes like this one. It fit my camera + lenses, tripod as well as extra clothes and food.
One of my goals for my trip to the states was to replace my heavy, klinking Klean Kanteen with a Nalgene
We reach Nevada Falls and here we find a lot more people enjoying the views or taking a break. We sit down by the water to enjoy a snack, rest our feet and watch a squirrel eat a small nut of some sorts before we continue onwards.
When leaving this waterfall behind we encounter a lot more people, most of them probably tourists only aiming to get to the fall and then head back down again.
The path starts to decline and become a steep sort of staircase made out of rocks. It’s hard on the feet and knees and I feel myself walking more tensely and focused. It’s definitely challenging but still very enjoyable.
We’d brought a trail mix that we got down in the valley
After hiking downhill for quite some time we reach the last waterfall: Vernal Falls. It’s beautiful even though there’s not a lot of water in it and we take a short break to enjoy the view of the water cascading down the rocks and into the blue-green pool below before we continue down the last mile.
We finally arrive down in the valley again, tired and our feet are sore. We have been hiking for about seven hours and my body is screaming. It is such a wonderful exhausted feeling though, knowing you’ve worked hard and experienced wonderful nature and scenery in the meantime.
We grab a shuttle bus back into the village center where we head into Degnan’s for pizza and a cold beer by the fireplace. Never before has anything tasted so good or felt so rewarding!
This sign was at the bottom of the trail and oh boy did it feel good to read how far we’d trekked down, all the way from Glacier Point.