Half Dome Trail is a 15.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Yosemite National Park, CA that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, rock climbing, camping, and birding and is accessible from April until October.
Half Dome is a serious endurance hike taking you 4800 feet above the Yosemite Valley to spectacular views of Vernal and Nevada Falls, Liberty Cap, Half Dome, and panoramic views of Yosemite Valley and the High Sierra. Preparation and safety are key and you'll have a fantastic experience. This is a hike that requires you to be in shape. Most take 10 to 12 hours to hike to Half Dome and back depending on the routes up and down. Plan to leave around sunrise (or earlier) and then have a non-negotiable turn-around time. The trail is fairly well marked but make sure you watch for all trail signs as you can miss them. Going up you can start at Glacier Point and take the Panorama trail although it's not the most popular route and is quite a bit longer. Most start from Happy Isles and go up the Mist trail past Vernal and Nevada Falls, then traverse across the flat Little Yosemite Valley before taking the gradual climb through the forest to the subdome and then onto the cables. Make sure you have a permit as they are REQUIRED. The famous part of the hike is the ascent up the cables. The two metal cables allow hikers to climb the last 400 feet to the summit without rock climbing equipment. The Half Dome cables usually go up the Friday before Memorial Day (conditions permitting) and come down the day after Columbus Day. More info here: http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/halfdome.htm