Hiking to Illilouette Falls on the Panorama Trail in Yosemite National Park

Illilouette Falls is a 380 foot waterfall that is lesser known when compared to many of the other famous Yosemite waterfalls but still a very impressive. The hike to it takes you from Glacier Point down 2 miles to a sketchy overlook for the waterfall. It is a beautiful trail with views towards Half Dome, Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls on the side of you the entire time you are hiking. Here is all the information.


  • 4 miles
  • 1,200 feet
  • Location: Glacier Point parking area
  • I did this hike in 2020
  • Read about all of my favorite spots in Yosemite here


Here is a video I made of the hike in 2020.

Getting There

The hike leaves from the parking area near Glacier Point. You will have to make your way to Glacier Point via car or shuttle to start the hike. Note that Glacier Point is at least 45 minute drive from Yosemite valley. Once you park, you will look for the signs for the Panorama Trail. Also, spend some time at Glacier Point as well. It’s epic.

The Trail

After exploring Glacier Point, head to the start of the Panorama Trail on the south side, near the parking lot.

The trail starts from there and actually goes 10 miles, all the way down to the valley, if you have a shuttle that can take you back up to where you started.

We just set out for Illilouette Falls though, which was 2 miles each way.

It’s a reverse hike, so you hike down to the falls and then up to get back to the trailhead.

It’s not too hard, but there is a decent incline on the way back, and it can be tough if it is a sunny day as the sun beats down on you.

The best part of this trail is that it has stunning views the entire way with Half Dome always in your sight, and Vernal and Nevada Falls as well.

The trail goes in and out of small groves of trees, so you do get shade breaks on the way down or up.

The beginning and the end are the steepest inclines, and they have switchbacks. The middle is just a gradual grade, which is great.

During the middle portion, you are walking along a trail that has a lot of broken rocks and loose rock steps. It’s not bad, but watch your step.

Eventually, you will finish the mile of gradual downhill, and you will be at the top of a series of switchbacks that will lead you to the overlook.

There is a sign here at the junction, so you know that direction to go, and it drops about 500 feet during this section, making it steep on the way up.

After the fourth switchback, you will be near the waterfall and can hear it rushing and see it from the trail.

There is a rocky overlook here that provides the best views. If you go near it, do not go to the edge and be very careful! It has loose sand on it, and the drop would surely be deadly if you fell.

I stayed in a safe section and was able to get some great views of the waterfall, but it would be better if they had some sort of safe overlook here.

I was initially going to go down to the creek as well, but multiple people told me it was not worth it and that you couldn’t see the falls at all from there, so we just stayed at the overlook.

After soaking it all in, we started the long hike back up. Save your energy for it, but you will undoubtedly have adrenaline as you walk with the fantastic views of Half Dome and the other waterfalls as you go up.

I loved this hike because of the consistently amazing views.  I wish the overlook was a little better at the end, but it was still a great hike in Yosemite. Let me know what you think in the comments.

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