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We begin our Glacier Point hike by taking the shuttle/tour bus from Yosemite Valley to Glacier Point. After viewing the high country from Glacier Point, we descend back to the Yosemite Valley along the Panorama and Mist trails. Awesome viewpoints of the Yosemite Valley throughout! Total mileage is 8.5 miles with a 4,113' feet elevation loss and 941' elevation gain.
Meeting Location: Yosemite Valley Lodge at 3,973′
High Point: Glacier Point at 7,214′
Elevation Gain & Loss: +941′, -4,113′
Start your full-day tour at Yosemite Lodge, located across from Yosemite Falls, where you’ll meet your guides in the morning. From here, hop on a shuttle bus to Glacier Point and listen to informative narration about Yosemite National Park during the 1-hour ride.
Your hike begins at Glacier Point, where you are treated to iconic views of prominent landmarks such as Half Dome and Cloud’s Rest, as well as three waterfalls: Yosemite Falls, Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall. Your guides discuss the historical significance of the viewpoint and other park features while you have plenty of photo opportunities.
Then, follow a guide on foot along mostly downhill terrain that takes you on a scenic 8.5-mile (13.7-km) route with a total 3,179-foot (969-meter) elevation loss; you’ll have breaks to refuel. Your first 1.5-mile (2.4-km) push descends 800 vertical feet (244 meters) in elevation to the top of the 370-foot (113-meter) Illilouette Fall, where you can catch your breath before continuing your hike.
The next 1 to 1.5 miles (1.6 to 2.4 km) takes your small group up a moderately strenuous section of switchbacks that ascend about 300 vertical feet (91 meters). Once the switchbacks are conquered, the trail flattens out for an easy and scenic 1 to 1.5 miles to the next junction — the Panorama Trail.
Running along this eastern point in the valley, the Panorama Trail offers postcard-worthy views that live up to its name. The following mile — a strenuous downhill series of 20 or so switchbacks — drops you 700 feet (213 meters) in elevation to the outflow of Nevada Fall.
After a lunch break atop the 594-foot (181-meter) waterfall, continue with your guides on one of two trails, depending on your group’s preference. A less strenuous 3.5-mile (5.6-km) trek down the John Muir Trail offers higher vantage points with views of Nevada and Vernal falls, as well as of Half Dome’s south face and the abrupt uprising of Liberty Cap. Or, opt for a slightly shorter route of 2.5 miles (4 km) down the granite staircases of the Mist Trail, which runs alongside the scenic Merced River and its 594-foot Nevada Fall and 317-foot (97-meter) Vernal Fall.
Both trails lead to restrooms and running water near the footbridge at the base of Vernal Fall. From here, it’s about a 1-mile downhill hike on a steep, paved trail to Happy Isles, where you catch a shuttle bus back to Yosemite Lodge before you bid farewell to your guides.