Hikers are attracted to Glacier Point because there are so many ways to access it. You can take a shuttle bus to the top, then hike down — or vice versa.
Or you can use it as a springboard to other hiking destinations, such as the Panorama Trail or Sentinel Dome, made famous by Ansel Adams’ photos of a gnarled Jeffrey pine that has long since died.
We chose the traditional hiking route — all the way up and all the way down. The Four-Mile Trail (which is actually 9.2 miles round-trip) is made up of sand, dirt, chunks of rock and chipped-away pavement — the remnants of a small toll trail built in 1872.
Glacie Point is about the most amazing place in the park that you can drive to. Hardy hikers insist on hoofing it the whole way from the Valley. I met an English guy on the Panorama Trail last summer who had started out on the Mist Trail, hiked up to Nevada Falls, then headed up Panorama to Glacier Point and back down the 4-Mile. About 14 miles, if memory serves, and worth every step.