Yosemite National Park - June 5 - 12, 2010

Panorama Trail - June 10

Photos © Peter Mansbach, 2010.
No commercial use without written permission.

The aptly named Panorama Trail extends about 9 miles, starting at Glacier Point and ending at Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley. It encompasses one panorama after another - from Glacier Point itself, views of Half Dome, Nevada and Vernal Falls along the way, and views of Yosemite Falls from Panorama Cliffs; and it passes Illilouette Falls, Panorama Point, Nevada Falls and Vernal Falls. It's mostly downhill, about 3900 feet down with about 700 feet up along the way. The last three miles is along the Mist Trail, with its hundreds of steps. Hiking leisurely, it took us nearly 10 hours.

As you can see from these photos, all the falls were at peak flow. The previous winter saw 40% more snow than usual, and we were in Yosemite during the first hot (over 90°) spell of the year, causing a lot of the snow in the high country to melt.

Half Dome from Glacier Point
Tenaya Canyon is to the left of Half Dome

Nevada Falls (top) and Vernal Falls, from Glacier Point
We'll pass right by these towards the end of this hike

Vernal Falls, seen through a forked tree along the trail.
Jean took this shot - she's good at spotting artistic opportunities
  Jean at Illilouette Falls
She looks very happy that we got here. Or maybe that we just ate!

← Yosemite Falls - upper and lower - seen from the Panorama Cliffs section of the trail.

After a bunch more hiking, we finally arrive at the top of Nevada Falls. This photo shows the turbulent Merced River just as it tumbles over the edge.  →

The Mist Trail takes us down several hundred small steps along the north side of Nevada Falls.
At the bottom of the steps we can look out through the trees at the mist kicked up by the power of the falls. Even within the forest everything is damp from the spray floating in.

The next photo is a shot of Emerald Pool, just above Vernal falls. You can see how angry and turbulent the flow is. The shot to its right, also of Emerald Pool, was taken five years ago, in October when the flow was much less. It's quite a contrast.

Jean, now in rain gear, peers over the top of Vernal Falls

(the background for this page
was taken from this photo)

The very heavy waterfall flow kicked up a lot of spray: the "mist" on the Mist Trail was more like a heavy rain!
The many steps (I read that there are over 600!) were wet and slippery. That's Jean, a bit further down.

The wettest part of the Mist Trail

A few hundred steps further down
there's still enough mist for a rainbow.

Yosemite Valley photos, from the same trip
Wawona and the Mariposa Grove of sequoias, from the same trip
More Yosemite Valley photos, from previous trips
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