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My girlfriend and I did this hike on Monday (12/3), and it totally kicked our butts!

We had originally planned on just going up to Columbia Rock and back. But after making it up in just 45 minutes, and with it being such a nice day, we decided to push forward and see how far we could make it up to the top.

This ended up being an incredible idea, as we encountered only three or four other hikers on our way up, and the views from the overlook were truly unforgettable!
However, in the deep snow (over a foot in places), the zig-zagging back and forth through the switchbacks made me question our decision at times …

But this is a truly incredible hike with breathtaking views of Half Dome and the Upper Falls leading up to the summit.

CAUTION: Make sure you are cognizant of your surroundings (i.e. falling ice), as there were some massive chunks that came cascading down the mountain side and landed within an arm's reach of us.

The climb to the top is absolutely worth it though, just be prepared to feel that 3,100 feet-plus of elevation gain on your way up.

We thoroughly enjoyed this hike for its solitude, challenge and beauty. Would love to come back in the summertime when the falls are gushing!

hiking
3 days ago

Scariest hike ever. I'm talking about the cable portion, it is steep as hell and even steeper than photos when you see it in person. But it is do-able you just have to focus on moving to the next wooden board. The wooden boards I believe are spaced out 10 feet from each other from the bottom of the dome to the top. It took us about an hour just to get to the top because there was traffic lots of people going up and down simultaneously. We had to take turns for those coming down and those going up. To get to the top without traffic should only take maybe 10-15 mins to give perspective on what traffic does. Also the traffic IMO makes it more scary because you have to hold onto the cables even longer.

I'd recommend using gloves with a latex coating to help with the cables as it gives your hands much more grip and you'll avoid blistering your hands like many other people.

I'd recommend doing it if you want to face your fears. Just take it one wooden board at a time until you reach the top and you'll be fine. Lots of people did it and have done it.

Would I do it again? Probably not lol just because it was scary as shit. BUT DO IT ONCE AT LEAST :D

Awesome hike! I completed it yesterday 12/6/18. The last third of the trail gets quite slippery with hard packed snow. I put my microspikes on at the lookout at the top, but should have put them on sooner. The final path down to the lookout is very exposed and covered in loose sheets of snow and ice, though the metal railing made it passable. I was grateful for gloves, as well as sunglasses and sunscreen - the snow glare was bright. I continued another .8 miles past the falls to Yosemite Point - it was a great view but a lot of trouble (deep snow) to get there. If you aren't up for it, you can still take the short walk out that way to the wooden bridge. It's picturesque :)

hiking
5 days ago

Short walk to the top. I like the views leading up the top more than at the top. It was a little cloudy the day we went, but still worth it.

5 days ago

Climb sand dunes is always fun. Easy access, and be careful with sun even in winter.

Wonderful hiking trail! A bit challenging with the incline but worth every step. Spectacular view of the waterfall and Yosemite rock structure.

Amazing views!

AMAZING HIKE!!

Pros
-Great things to see the whole way up.
-Finding the trail was not too difficult.
-Everyone is very friendly on trail.

Cons
-Very rocky terrain the entire way. Make sure to wear good hiking shoes.
-Very steep and not easy. Make sure to stay hydrated, stretch, and pace yourself. I didnt do any of those and cramped up pretty hard. I was lucky people were nice enough to provide water and energy bars.

Some people brought their dogs. I thought the ground was too rocky and sharp for them. Not a good idea if your dog is not used to that.

Worth it! Just dont be an idiot like me and prepared.

hiking
10 days ago

Tough trail, not a warm-up by any means.

it was a great snowy winterland. it was a wonderful trek and not to long. it is also pretty well marked except after the waterfall. then it got tricky so I decided not to continue and headed back down.

It’s just a walk but it worth it to see

hiking
13 days ago

I love the view

Son of a gun, this trail was tough. This was due to the rock stairs and almost constant steepness. It got my knees on the way down - I had to stop and stretch those knees out from time to time. I split off to check out Little Yosemite at the top intersection because it was only 1 mile away, but then I got about halfway and saw the trail headed down which meant I'd have to go up again to come back. By then, I reached a "nope" point so I turned around and just went to Nevada. The falls were beautiful and the views from the top of Nevada were breathtaking. I had my snack on a ledge overlooking the fall edge. It was the best. I headed back down on John Muir Trail. I felt like both routes were equally steep.

hiking
13 days ago

This was a great hike! We went in late November, so there was ABSOLUTELY no one on the trail. It’s mostly downhill on the way down, so it’s quite the climb coming up, but totally worth it! The beach and the house at the bottom was beautiful and a great place to rest. Highly recommend!

hiking
13 days ago

Some of the most stunning views I’ve ever seen while hiking. Constant amazement at the unreal beauty of the surrounding waterfalls, cliffs, rivers. A magical experience. Highly recommend hiking past glacier point to sentinel dome. Was lucky enough to be the only person atop sentinel dome in late November (Glacier Point driving road closed.)

Easy and fun hike and amazing 360 degrees view of Yosemite at the end. Loved it!

hiking
14 days ago

The James Irvine Trail is a great trail. The trail is long but the elevation gains aren't too bad - I did need to stop and catch my breath at two spots on the return part of this out-and-back.

Went Thanksgiving weekend and most of the trail was covered in fallen redwood needles. It's generally lined on both sides with ferns for almost the entirety of the trail. And of course you wind your way through and around giant redwood trees. This trail constantly meanders, curving thus way and that, so it never feels like slog and the view is always changing.

Near the end, or halfway point, you can head to the beach, which makes for a nice break. If you don't mind wet shoes, you can also diverge from the James Irvine Trail to another trail (Fern Gulch? Something Fern-related) to walk through a small stream that has tall, fern-covered walls that are really beautiful.

In the 5.5 hours I spent hiking this trail (I stop a lot to take pictures) I only passed maybe a dozen or so people until I got to the beach (which isn't crowded but there are people there because you can also drive to that beach).

My advice for this trail is to start early - 9 AM or so - bring a lunch, water, and snacks for the beach, and walk at a comfortable pace; I could have easily spent 8+ hours out here taking photographs and enjoying the beach. Also bring a flashlight because it gets dark right at sunset.

Also, the trail can be slippery and there are exposed roots for much of the trail. I slipped and fell at one point because I was rushing.

hiking
14 days ago

It was a beautiful and fun easy hike. It has great views of the lake. if you are short on time and want a beautiful hike this is the one. you first walk through the trees then eventually along the mountain. Mid hike it gets rocky so just be aware of your stepping. We went Thanksgiving weekend and the river was flowing but just not at full capacity. I would want to do this hike again in the Spring to see the river when the snow melts. but overall it was a beautiful hike!

Hiked to the Backpacker’s camp. It was covered it snow. So beautiful. The hike is grueling but worth it.

Great Hike! Dont underestimate the difficulty level. Took me 5 hours to get up and 3 to get down. Got to the car right as it was turning pitch black outside

spent the morning on the dunes for the sunrise a couple weeks ago and ended up walking around aimlessly for longer and farther than I intended. got some cool pics while heading out to one of the bigger dunes in the distance. dunes look cool even when viewing from a distance

Hard ascent( especially the ice and snow on the upper part of the trail). With the road closed, a good way to access the awesome views from Glacier Point.

Amazing hike!

One of those things you “have” to see... but definitely not exciting. A long walk (downhill) on cement - my knees weren’t a fan of that bit after a previous hike. Then a ton of people crowded around a tree for photos.... just don’t make this the only thing you do that day and you’re golden. Maybe go earlier too.. then a lovely walk back uphill on cement...

I was fortunate to have the views to myself. Less trafficked than Moro rock, tho I recommend doing both Bc they have different views. This trail is super short, you can see Moro Rock from Hanging Rock. Excellent photo op. Sat and relaxed for a bit there before moving on. (See photo of girl hanging from rock - that’s me hah)

16 days ago

Lots of people, but it didn’t ruin the views. I sorta ran the stairs a bit for exercise, but stopped very often. Personally I think the views climbing the stairs up were better than at the top, but that’s only Bc it was after fires, so a very hazy day. Doesn’t take long, worth it. Ok for kids too.

Amazing hike did this back in September and forgot to put a review, but this hike is beautiful! We left early in the morning at 2am and it was perfect going up in the dark with headlamps and enjoying seeing things from a different perspective rather than going later like 7am so heading down you see everything that you didn’t going up so it makes the hike better since it’s pretty much a 10hr hike. Going up early at 2am and not knowing much farther you have to go was just great, but to just keep moving and the hike went by quick because by the time daylight started to show we were at the base of sub dome. Heading down was quick n easy, but by 10am traffic rolls in and makes it difficult.

Leave early for the hike to make the cables with little to no traffic. Make it before 8am cause up top people start to roll in and head down the cables with traffic is a pain to wait for people to pass n continue to descend.

The hike in general starts pretty easy for those that hike normally. The hike gets tough when you hit the foot high steps n they continue to get higher n higher, but that’s why you start early n you don’t see how much farther you have to go. Sub dome is just the same a bunch of foot high steps, but aren’t to bad if you go early and rest at the steps. Cables were surprisingly easy both up and down. Down is easiest, but going up isn’t bad if you have RUBBER GLOVES. Crazy beautiful site seeing going up cables and top. Used my GoPro and the videos are awesome.

Pack some good food and 4L of water. I managed to make it with 3L and have some left over,but it’s probably because we left early in morning.

Go prepared (food&water), go early, proper gear (boots&gloves, don’t forget permit, and enjoy the views going down.

hiking
16 days ago

What can I say, basically nothing beats this for a day hike.

We completed part of this trail on July 25, 2018 before our mandatory evacuation due to fires. We had to be out of the park by 9:00 so we knew we had to start early and hike fast. Due to the early evacuation, we were the only hikers on the trail. We moved as fast as we could in order to see as much as possible. The switchbacks definitely get the heart rate up and I went through quite a bit of water and the sun wasn’t even out. The steps were dusty and dry, but very slippery at times. Start early and bring plenty of water! Even though our hike was cut short due to the mandatory evacuation, this was my favorite hike!

16 days ago

We did this trail back in July. It was very crowded, but worth the stair climb.

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