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Yosemite National Park | Death Valley National Park | Sequoia National Park | Kings Canyon National Park
Mono Lake, CA | Bodie, CA | Nevada Deserts | California | San Francisco
All of the small hikes we had done so far on our trip only lead up and warmed us up for our grandest hike of the trip. Wednesday marked the day we would hike 9 miles on the spectacular Panorama Trail for our last full day in Yosemite! A website we read when researching this hike said "one day you'll look back on your life and split it into its "before Panorama" and "after Panorama" periods". While that may sound a little over dramatic, simply put, there's no better way to fully experience the views and get an up-close look of 3 magnificent waterfalls around Yosemite Valley than trekking on the less beaten path of this amazing trail!
To begin our day of hiking, we got up before 7:00 AM to grab some breakfast for us to bring on the shuttle taking us up to Glacier Point. On the shuttle ride, we had a rather passionate tour guide/driver who told us about EVERYTHING we passed. It was definitely entertaining to say the least, but nearly made us ready to go back to bed that early in the morning. But seriously, it was interesting listening to her tell us about Yosemite and it's many wonders. We finally made it to Glacier Point, put on our backpacks, and hit the trail around 9:00 AM to begin our 9 mile journey back down to Yosemite Valley for a total descent of around 3,200 feet!
The Panorama Trail is properly named because on the whole hike you're rewarded with spectacular views on both sides...not to mention the huge drop offs. I hope you enjoy the views from my pictures as we began our hike!
Below: Notice Nevada Falls far in the distance (small white vertical line) directly to the left of the big green tree in the foreground of this picture. We would ultimately make it to the bottom of this waterfall later in the hike.
Illilouette Falls was the first of three waterfalls we hiked upon, about 2.5 miles into the hike. Since it was considered the dry season in Yosemite, the waterfalls weren't flowing near as full as they normally do...but they were still beautiful!
Below: Illilouette Creek - such beautiful crystal clear water!
Below: Giant pine cones I found along the trail.
On top of Nevada Falls, which is a 600 ft waterfall. The huge rock dome in the background is Liberty Cap.
Below: The bridge that crosses over the top of Nevada Falls, which is a 600 ft waterfall.
Below: Just beyond that man is a 600 ft waterfall.
Taking The Mist Trail down to the Valley
After making it to the top of Nevada Falls you run into a junction of trails. You can either take the John Muir Trail down to the bottom of the Valley or you can take the Mist Trail. The John Muir Trail is longer but less steep and doesn't pass Vernal Falls. The Mist Trail is STEEP and passes Vernal Falls (oh and did I say it is steep??). We had already planned to go via The Mist Trail and so we did.
This amazing part of the trail is made of rock stairs cut into the cliffside which creates a very hard workout on your knees as you descend about 1000 feet to get to the bottom of Nevada and Vernal Falls. This is one of the most popular hikes in all of Yosemite with two gorgeous waterfalls pouring over the cliffside right beside you the entire way. During the seasons that the waterfalls are flowing the fullest, you can feel the mist from the falls - which gives the meaning to the Mist Trail. However, since our trip was during the dry season, we weren't rewarded with amazingly full waterfalls, but as you'll see they're still beautiful!
The Panorama Trail leading up to the Mist Trail was okay in strenuousness as you gradually descended with some heavy climbing in some places. But The Mist Trail is when it really got strenuous, particularly for me since I had tweaked my knee on my hike on part of the Appalachian Trail a couple weeks ago. I was fine until the continuous wear on my knees on the rock steps and switchbacks all the way down. It took us some time and sweat getting down, but it was well worth the trip! Once we got to the bottom of the falls and were hiking to the valley, we found a nice secluded spot and got in the river. Boy did it feel good and rewarding after the long hot day of hiking! We finally got back to Curry Village around 6:00 PM.
Enjoy the rest of my pictures as we descend down the Mist Trail. Notice of how steep it is! Also, check out the amazing rainbow that Vernal Falls creates during this time of day!!
The last of the three waterfalls we hiked to on the Panorama Trail. During this time of day, the waterfall creates a beautiful rainbow at the base of the falls!
We finally made it to our campsite in Curry Village around 6:00 PM...exhausted! It was an awesome and memorable way to experience Yosemite to say the least!
Thanks again for viewing my blog. Stay tuned for Day 6 as we make our way out of Yosemite National Park through Mariposa Grove (a forest of giant sequoia trees!) and travel to Kings Canyon National Park! I might even have a special guest write the blog for that day!