The trailhead is located near the entrance to the Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise, marked by stone steps inscribed with a quote by John Muir.
Hiking the loop clockwise, the trail climbs 2 miles until reaching Panorama Point, where a toilet is provided for hikers. Past Panorama Point the trail begins its one mile descent to the junction with the Golden Gate Trail. Another 0.75 mile and the Skyline Trail reaches the Stevens-Van Trump Memorial and its junction with the Paradise Glacier Trail. From there it descends into the Paradise Valley, then climbs slightly to Myrtle Falls and finally back to Paradise.
For a shorter version of this loop, take the Golden Gate Trail back to Paradise.