Glacier Point Time: 11:03am
4-Mile Trail Start Time: 12:00pm
End Time: 1:55pm
LYV Start Elevation: 6128 ft.
Glacier Point high Elevation: 7279 ft.
Valley End Elevation: 3979 ft.
Panorama Trail Hike Elevation: +2882 ft, -1579 ft.
Panorama Trail Hike Mileage: 6.72 mi.
4-Mile Trail Hike Elevation: -3200 ft.
4-Mile Trail Hike Mileage: 4.54 mi.
Day 4 of our full week of hiking in Yosemite was the first day we weren't making up way up to a high summit. That is, unless you count Glacier Point at 7,279. This would be our third day in a row of moving with our full backpacks, but also our last. As usual we were up before 6am today, but at least it was a warmer morning than yesterday when we woke up 1000+ feet higher in the open.
|Our view of Half Dome from Little Yose
When we reached the top of the Mist Trail our companion Ken decided to call it a day there. He was beginning to deal with a back issue and the prospect of dragging 30+ lb. packs another 10 miles up and over Glacier Point wasn't a good thing. He decided to head down the Mist Trail while Matt and myself proceeded on.
|Top of Nevada Falls
From that junction it wasn't far til we hit the top of Nevada Falls. It was about a quarter mile to the Falls where we snapped a pic or two and then another quarter mile to the junction where the JMT heads down and the Panorama Trail heads up. We almost missed it. When the Panorama Trail begins it climbs heavily through a serious of switchbacks. We came a cross a downed tree in this area which looked like it had fallen and subsequently shattered all over the place in the last few days.
|Just beautiful easy trail on the Panorama
After the switchbacks gain a hard-earned 600 feet the trail levels out for over a half mile as it contours to the west and then the south towards Panorama Point. At this point in the hike you've climbed 750 feet already over about 3 miles. However, the trail then begins a descent down to Illilouette Creek. This drop in the middle works against many a hiker who gets to lose and regain much of their previous hard work. In the midst of the descent Panorama Point is passed and great views of Half Dome and the eastern end of Yosemite Valley are had.
At Illilouette Creek
|Somewhat comically, Half Dome looks like a big thumb from here
|Amazing views of the Merced River area
|The beautiful forest just before Glacier Point
|Panoramic views here, hard to really take it all in
|A nice family whose picture we took, was kind enough to take one of us
After having hiked the Mist Trail, John Muir Trail, Yosemite Falls Trail, Snow Creek Falls Trail and the beginning of the Pohono Trail in 2011, there was one major trail heading out of Yosemite Valley that we hadn't enjoyed: the 4-Mile Trail. This trail when created in the early 1900s was originally 4 miles and so aptly named. However, the trail was revamped and lengthened, likely to add switchbacks, sometime in the 20s or 30s and now it is more like 4.7 miles in length.
|The 4-Mile Trail: it gets a bit cliffy
Just have to love Yosemite Falls
During the last 2 miles, being about our 10th and 11th of the day with heavy packs our feet really began to feel the wear and tear. What didn't help us was the occasionally paved nature of the trail. From the looks of it this trail used to be a paved blacktop trail which time and weather has mostly worn away. The walking on this occasionally firm surface however took its toll.
Slowly but surely, the valley draws nearer
Map/TrackI have Tracks and waypoints from our hike all contained in a KML file that you are welcome to download and use (at your own risk):