Panorama Trail vs Pohono Trail
JoAnn McDowell · Orinda, CA · September 20, 2018
At first we thought we wanted to hike the Pohono Trail but found out that the Panorama Trail, also leaving from Glacier Point, is exceptionally beautiful AND only 8 miles long as opposed to the Pohono 13 + miles long. AND the Panorama ends up at Happy Isles so the walk is easy after coming off the trail. The one VERY important point no one told us is that the bus to Glacier Point can only be booked through 1. The Yosemite Lodge Tourist Booth, opened from 0730 am to 3 pm, 2. via phone reservations at 888-413-8859, or 3. Via Travelyosemite.com. The last two options you can do ahead and I would most definitely recommend that because you can and should get your bus tickets ahead of time! Most of the 8:30 and 10:30 time slots are completely sold out and you could potentially be up a creek, not being able to do your hike at all. We arrived at the Yosemite Lodge tourist booth at 3:30 pm, hoping to take the bus the following morning, and just missed the attendant! (what we came to call, "Yosemite Time".) The phone reservationist said that all the 0830 and 1030 times were completely booked! You can imagine our concern since this is the only reason we had come to Yosemite!
We took a chance and showed up to the Yosemite Lodge booth at 0700 am the next morning to talk with the attendant, hoping there would be cancellations. As it turned out there were and we as well as 3 other people were able to get on the bus. But don't count on this, book early!! Also, in planning which hike to take, the drive takes 1.5 hours so be aware that if you take the 0830 am bus, you cannot start your hike until 10 am at the earliest. The Panorama trail took us 4 hours of hiking. We are pretty fast hikers. The literature says between 4 - 6 hours. The Pohono takes 13 miles and about 8 hours to complete PLUS the valley floor hike of 5 miles if you were not able to stash a car or bike at the Tunnel View parking lot. Very important: If you hike the Pohono Trail and have to walk the valley floor distance, the valley floor shuttle buses run an expanded route in summer and a smaller route the rest of the year. (Another example of "Yosemite Time") so if you go to Yosemite after Labor Day, don't expect a shuttle bus to pick up at Cathedral Beach. Instead you have to hoof it back to Yosemite Lodge! AND please, If Yosemite would just provide another bus to Glacier Point, to accommodate the large number of people who want to take the bus, it seems the problem would be solved. Example: Bus at 7 AM, 9 AM, 11 am, 1 PM. (Currently the bus leaves at 830 am, 1030 am, and 130 Pm) Also, don't try to time an arrival anywhere in the valley by trying to catch a shuttle bus at a specific time because NO ONE knows when a bus will be at a particular stop! (Yosemite Time) It's a beautiful place but you really need to get out of the valley to experience the authentic Yosemite.
My first Walk at Yosemite
Le Loch Jean-Pierre · Tahiti French Polynesia · March 1, 2018
C’est à tunnel vue que nous avons pris connaissance du trail, en le matérialisant sur la carte en 3D en bronze (situé sur le point de vue du parking). Nous avons rapidement décidé de prendre de la hauteur pour dominer la vallée. Plus nous mentions, plus la vallée s’ouvrait devant mon épouse et moi. Nous avons fait 6 miles en montée puis avons fait demi tour vers le parking. Nous prévoyons de le refaire en entier en automne prochain.
A rough translation: We learned about this trail from the 3D bronze model of Yosemite Valley at the Tunnel View. We quickly decided to climb the trail for the views over the valley. The more we hiked, the more the valley opened before my wife and me. We went 6 miles uphill, then turned back to the parking lot. We plan to do it again in the fall.
Earn it from the tunnel
Chris Koller · Rhode Island · July 6, 2013
Warnings not withstanding, did this from the tunnel and lived to tell the tale. Is as spectacular as its billing. I am allergic to crowds so found stanford, crocker and dewey to be the most enjoyable vistas. Dewey to Taft is a pastoral stroll and nice balance to the knock your socks off views at either end. Sentinel dome is a bit of a slog after all this but definitely worth it.
Minor problem with hiking it in this direction is that photographs up the valley in the am are looking into the sun, as are pm views down the valley when you take those brag shots of what you have done.
I did this in six hours at a pretty vigorous clip. For eastern hikers, you are in for fewer bugs, much smoother trails, a ginormous scale, fewer switchbacks and a lot more hydration.
How come the signs say 13 miles to glacier point from the tunnel, and 13.8 from to the tunnel from glacier point??
Father & son extravaganza
Greg Petliski · Iselin, NJ · December 29, 2012
My name's greg (tumbleweed on the trail). At the request of John Muir himself reincarnated in my mind, I convinced my dad (63 at the time, September 2011) to drive across the country and hike in Yosemite, something he had wanted to do for a long time. I did most of my research on this great site, and we decided on the Mt. Hoffman from May Lake and the Pohono Trail as our backpacking portion of the visit. For the Pohono, we stashed bikes at the tunnel, thanks for that tip, and caught the bus to Glacier Point the next morning.
The tour itself was FANTASTIC! Our driver, Charles, was very engaging and furthered my already substantial knowledge of the park, mainly in the area of fire ecology. Fascinating stuff, well worth the cost of the one way ticket.. From there, we waited around taking in the view, and got dropped off at the lot for Sentinel and Taft. We hiked towards Taft, took in the most awesome view there. I sat on the lip out past the guard rail, swung my legs out over the void and just marveled at this wondrous place. I can't help but relate to Muir, that this place truly is a cathedral, maybe from god, maybe not, who knows, but some kind of magical, amazing, spiritual feeling rises up inside when you see the splendor of the universe spread out before you.
The part in between Taft and Dewey, while described here as a "slog through a less thrilling 4-mile stretch" is actually quite gorgeous! What an amazing stretch of green drenched forest, ponderosas and jeffreys towering overhead. Just because the valley isn't in view doesnt mean there's not beauty abound, and beauty abound there is. In fact, this was the most "relaxing" part of the trail, my mind free to wander and meditate.
Dewey Point was home to the highlight of the whole trip, and maybe even my life. Sunset was an hour off, and we looked for places to camp near Dewey. I hear a rustling, and see two cinnamon colored ears. The bear stands up, looking me in the eyes. I look back. It seems like an eternity, an infinite cosmic connection with another living being. I gently talk to her, saying "good bear! good bear!" with a gigantic grin on my face. As soon as it happened, seemingly, she got back on all fours and casually walked off, a single small cub in tow. We watched her and her cub ascend a ridgeline to the west, and with the sun setting directly behind them, their fur became illuminated, their edges outlined in blazing gold. I was witnessing a National Geographic cover in real life. Every detail of this five minute encounter is etched perfectly in my mind, and will remain there forever.
We did wind up camping a few hundred yards away from Dewey Point, my dad a little scared by the bear, and me telling him not to worry one bit, that we were beyond lucky to have seen what we saw, and we were in no danger. The food was tucked away in its can and we had no issues. Ate breakfast on the point, and finished the hike down to the Tunnel, passing all the other wonderful views and bits of forest along the way. The bike ride back was phenomenal, with packs on our backs we zipped down the hill and cruised back to the backpackers camp at the end of the valley.
Views, giant trees, sunset, sunrise, killer bike ride, and oh yeah, a black bear and her cub up close and personal, can you ask for a better overnight backpack trip between a father and his son? I can't thank Russ enough for the info on this site. It was the info about the crowds in particular that caught my attention for this trail, and it did not disappoint. Saw 3 people at Taft dayhiking, 3 people around Bridalveil Creek going the other way, and no one else until the just above the Tunnel.
Another option--hitchhike. We got back down to the Tunnel area when it was already dark, so we were worried it would be hard to catch a ride into the valley. People came along shortly, however, and gave us a ride into the valley.
robotic legs hiker
stan · sf bay area · July 5, 2012
I trekked it from tunnel view to sentinel dome, and back, best way for me to do it round trip. It took 13.5 hours. Views were great after the first few hours under the trees. Sentinel Dome was magical. 24 miles was a bit much for me, only third hike this year, did 10m and 14m hikes a few weeks before. I checked my body at Taft Point, no damage yet, so went for Sentinel, but I knew I'd have trouble, and it came in the form of a blister burning on the sole of my left foot (started about mile 14). Foot was slipping in the new shoes-won't happen again. I don't recommend this hike round trip, as it would be a death march for most. Skeeters in the morning and evening through the steep area from inspiration to tunnel (July 5th), nothing a little deet couldn't handle. If I had gone to glacier point, I would be hiking to my car in the dark. Started at 7 am, at car 8:30 pm. So I guessed right, and limited my trip (I checked my led light at sentinel dome-batteries were dead). I sweat a lot going up, but creeks were spaced well. I drank about five/six quarts of liquid.
A long day (Pohono + 4 Mile)
Jeff · California · June 17, 2012
We hiked the Pohono trail from the Wawona Tunnel parking lot to Glacier Point, where we had just run out of water, and then down 4 Mile Trail to the valley, where we just missed the last El Capitan Shuttle and had to do a penalty mile to Yosemite Lodge. (We walked out to the car the next day.)
The scenery is astounding - in spite of the fact that we neither hiked up Sentinel Dome (too many more feet on an already long day) nor walked the 100 feet to the Glacier Point Lookout (too many people, and not thinking straight at that point.)
Nonetheless, the terrain and the views were astounding, as was the 5000 feet of elevation gain, and then the punishing drop on 4 Mile Trail - slippery, half-paved asphalt - yuck.
Nonetheless, for an 18 miler with plenty of easy options to fetch the car the next day, it's an astounding hike.