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Half Dome Trail is a 15 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Yosemite Valley, California that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October.

Length 15.0 mi Elevation gain 5,206 ft Route type Out & Back
Hiking Nature trips Rock climbing Snowshoeing Beach Forest Partially paved River Views Waterfall Wild flowers Wildlife Bugs Rocky Scramble Fee No dogs
Description
Waypoints (18)
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Getting There

Note: As of September 11, 2020, the Southern portion of Yosemite is under a fire advisory and Mariposa Grove is CLOSED. Please see the park's website for up to date information before visiting. Half Dome is a serious endurance hike taking visitors 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. A permit is required for this hike, see below. Preparation and safety are key to having 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. The elevation gain is very strenuous, starting with steep climb in the beginning to Vernal Falls, followed by another steep climb to the top of Nevada Falls. After the second waterfall, there is about 1 mile of fairly level hiking until you reach Little Yosemite Campground, followed by steep switchbacks through the forest. At about 7 miles you will reach a break in the trees, with a beautiful view of the side of Half dome with the valley below. After some steep switchbacks carved like stairs into the rock, you will reach Half Dome with only 400 feet to go. These last 400 feet are the most challenging, but also the most rewarding (although you may not realize it until you are comfortably back on the valley floor). The famous part of the Half Dome hike is the ascent up the cable route. The two steel cables allow hikers to climb the last 400 feet to the summit without rock climbing equipment. The cables are around a 45-55 degree grade, with wooden supports every 10 to 20 feet to rest and maintain your balance. Using gloves is highly recommended to get a better grip and avoid painful blisters. Be sure to tightly secure your water bottles and cameras for the climb up, because you will want them once at the top. The Half Dome cables usually go up the Friday before Memorial Day (conditions permitting) and come down the day after Columbus Day. Compared to the hike up, the return journey flies by and before you know it you will be back at the top of Nevada falls. You have 2 options here: the Mist Trail, which is how you came up is about 3.4 miles (5.5km), or the John Muir Trail for a slight change of scenery (about 0.5 miles further). The waterfalls suddenly seem much more pleasant as you hike down compared to earlier uphill climb, and it's hard to hold back a smile as you reach the Vernal Falls bridge where you can refill your water (there are also facilities here). About 30 minutes later you are back at the trail head where you can catch a free shuttle to your car or anywhere else in the valley (there is a concession stand near the bus stop where you can buy cold drinks and ice cream). For Half Dome Permits visit the National Park Service website, recreation.gov or call the Yosemite Park Ranger Station.

Best option is the trailhead parking lot. Just past Curry Village on the road marked "Service Vehicles Only." You can enter this road legally to enter the trailhead parking lot. Trailhead lot has bear-proof storage lockers if you want to store stuff you don't need to take up the trail. Bears will break into cars with food, etc. If trailhead lot is full, park at Curry Village, which is near east end of Southside Drive. Flush toilets are available at the Vernal Fall Footbridge (below Vernal Fall). Composting toilets are available near Emerald Pool (above Vernal Fall), near the top of Nevada Fall, and in Little Yosemite Valley

Call (209) 372-0200 (then dial 3 then 5) The Yosemite public information office is open from 9 am to 5 pm Pacific time (closed for lunch). If the ranger is already on the line, you'll be returned to the main menu. If the ranger is not there, you can leave a message and they'll return your call. Public Information Office PO Box 577 Yosemite, CA 95389 California Travel and Tourism Commision, P.O. Box 1499 , Sacramento, CA, 95812-1499, Phone: 800-862-2543 More info here: http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/halfdome.htm

This trail is possible as a single day hike only if you get a very early start. You could break the trail into two day backpacking adventure by staying at Little Yosemite Valley campground. The cable route to the summit is open between May and October. Check the NPS website for exact dates, which are weather dependent. Tips while using the cables: Take your time and be patient with slower hikers. Allow faster hikers to pass you (when possible). Remain on the inside of the cables Do not attempt the ascent if storm clouds are in the area, the ground is wet (the cables and rock become very slick when wet; most accidents on the cables occur during wet conditions Bring well broken-in boots with good ankle support and good traction. Some of the most common injuries Half Dome hikers suffer are blisters and ankle injuries; good footwear is the best way to prevent these problems. Also recommend gloves be used on the cables. No trash service on trails. Pack out all trash. When possible, help park rangers by picking up trash that you encounter on the trail. Bearproof trash cans are available at trailheads. Have plenty of water. NPS recommends: 1 gallon (4 liters) if hiking to the top of Half Dome 2 quarts (2 liters) if hiking only to the top of Nevada Fall 1 quart (1 liter) if hiking only to the top of Vernal Fall The only treated water on the trail is available (summer only) at a drinking fountain at the Vernal Fall Footbridge (less than a mile from the trailhead). Merced River water is available up to Little Yosemite Valley, however treat water by boiling, using iodine, or using giardia-rated water filter Check Recreation.gov for latest permit requirements.

Directions from Arch Rock (south) Entrance: Travel eastward into the Yosemite Valley, 11.5 miles to the Curry Village day-use area. Park your car and take the shuttle to stop number 16, Happy Isles. Head eastward along the paved path that leads along the northern bank of the Merced River. Even better once you've reached the Curry Village vicinity of the valley, look for the signs for trailhead parking. You are allowed to drive past the "service vehicles only" signs if you're going to the trailhead parking.

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Reviews (1936)
Photos (7887)
Recordings (924)
Completed (6914)
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Kelly Britland
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 19, 2020
Hiking

Yesterday (10/18/2020) I hiked Half Dome from the valley. The cables are "down" but we still hiked it (many people were doing it since you don't need a permit or anything when the cables are "down"). To be completely clear - the cables are "down" and there are no 2x4s for footing. We used a harness and carabeiners (need at least 3). There are about 5 "breaks" in the cables where you will need to switch carabeiners (you'll have one clipped in at all times...google "hiking half dome in the shoulder season" for more info on the equipment / techniques. We started the hike at 6am and were the first ones up to half dome. By the time we were climbing back down there were like 20 people gearing up to get on the cables. I highly recommend starting early and beating the crowd - once I had to completely un-clip from the cable to let someone pass (he had a prusik knot and it would have taken him much longer to unclip/untie than it took me). I felt OK-ish on the rock (it's not slippery). This was my first hike where I had to use a harness & carabeiners and I was a little scared at first but it was totally awesome. I highly recommend clipping in, then keeping the cable between your legs and using your arms and legs to pull you up. As I was climbing back down I kept this same stragety but walked backward for most of it. Don't forget to bring gloves! This was an AWESOME hike, even before the cables. There's tons of elevation and "stairs" and you'll pass by a couple waterfalls along the way (still flowing).

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Whitney Pierce
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 19, 2020
HikingGreat!

sounds like the cables are down? is there any way to summit with out the cables being up?

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Kinsey Marie Aherne
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 18, 2020
BackpackingGreat!RockyScramble
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Victoria Z
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 18, 2020
Hiking

Got in the park at 7am. The parking doe the trailhead says closed. So we parked on the side of the road into the trailhead and to walk in. There was a LOT of stairs. The view at sub dome was amazing. Although the cables are closed, there were still some people climbing up with the harness. Just a note for people who leave their bags at the base, please make sure you don’t leave food out and close your bag tight, there were some really strong crows pulling open some of the backpacks and pecking open some plastic packages to get the food inside.

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Brad Kwasnowski
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 14, 2020
HikingScramble

Please stop using review threads to try and find permits! The cables are down as of today and no permits are required to climb the route.

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Liz Banfield
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 14, 2020
Hiking

Honestly it was a great accomplishment but if you don’t have your mind right it will be rough. Prepare for a strenuous hike and bring poles for the descent. In my opinion sub dome was more difficult than the actual cables.

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Preethi Kandaswamy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 14, 2020
HikingGreat!

very strenuous trail but SO worth the journey! cables are very doable, just need a little upper arm strength and did not use a harness. Took the mist trail up and the John Muir trail back down (easier on knees). Recommend poles and lots of water! Beautiful view of vernal and Nevada falls and breathtaking views of the valley from the top of the dome!

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Joel Camacho
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 13, 2020
Hiking

Hike or a lifetime. The hike inclines aren't as bad as anticipated but the mileage will wear down your feet and legs if not prepared. One of the most amazing hikes I've ever done. Poles strongly recommended.

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Phil Lewis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 13, 2020
HikingGreat!

Hi all, I’m looking for 2 permits to hike half dome tomorrow on the 14th! Will pay a premium :) 2 permits - 10/14 Please contact me at the following: 650-283-2825 Ptlewis97@gmail.com

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Warren Blain
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HikingGreat!
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Michael Kelly
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 13, 2020
Hiking

Stunning hike and climb. I’m not a technical climber and was a little worried about the cables. Turns out, with gloves and a little upper arm strength it’s not too bad. Some folks did seem nervous on the way down. I strongly recommend hiking poles for those who are planning a trip and don’t already own them. We kept a decent pace but stopped to enjoy the views and to hydrate/snack. It took us about 12 hours total and we were walking the last mile in the dark so plan accordingly. I went up in the fall and wouldn’t recommend starting the dome climb past 2pm.

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Tyler Wayne
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 13, 2020
Hiking

The hike of a lifetime and only one option to do it with a buddy. I wasn’t successful thru lottery :/ I’m looking for TWO permits on Oct 18 or 19th. This would be a dream come true! Happy to pay as well. Please contact Tyler and we can discuss more! 9499039770 or tyler@gofardigital.com Thanks in advance!!

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Guadalupe Gomez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 12, 2020
Hiking

Monday, 10/19 - Please reach out to @mindbodyandyoga on IG or text 312-221-7528 if you have two available permits for Monday October 19th. We’ve never done this hike and it would be a DREAM COME TRUE! Thank you in advance! Hike on. Peace.

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Heather Hart
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 12, 2020
Hiking

Looking if anyone has one extra permit under their reservation for 10/12 or 10/13. Tried preseason and daily with no luck. Feel free to email at heather.hart.atc@gmail.com

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Michael Gabriel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 12, 2020

I didn’t get a permit through the lottery but hiked up anyway and found someone with an extra reservation. I was traveling solo so easier just to find one, some permit-less groups waiting at the top didn’t find one. Per the actual hike - amazing. It’s a long trek to the top, capped with this insane experience. The cables are intimidating but take one step at a time and you’ll be fine. I recommend sticking to one side of the cables, maintaining thee points of contact at all times, and keeping your eyes to the ground. All in all, one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The cables are down for the season, but start planning ahead for next year.

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Tim Cerimele
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 11, 2020
HikingGreat!

The hike of a lifetime. Fri, 10/9. Left Curry Village at 415am, headlamps, pitch dark for first 2 hours... surreal under the moon and stars - zero noise just nature. Made it to sub-dome by 930am, checked in and at the base of the dome around 10:15am. Rested and went on up - cables were steep and scary but if you're determined you will be fine - just take your time and do your thing. The elevation change crushed me halfway up on the cables and I had to take long breaks but physically I was fine. Did Mist trail on way up and extended JMT on way down and was back to Curry Village at 5pm. Best accomplishment of my life. 12 hours 40 min, 19 miles, 5k feet up and down including cables - what a day. Spent almost 2 hours at the top. I'm a 250lbs male, I carriers 4L of water and filled up in the Merced near Little Yosemite Campsite on way down and needed another 2L for the way down (6L total) and temps were very cool... 60's 70's most of the day. Happy to chat with anyone who is ever going to do it with tips and advice. 619-384-4202

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Vilma Rodriguez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 11, 2020
HikingGreat!

Hello fellow hikers! I was unlucky on all my lottery entries for Half Dome ): If anyone can spare a ticket for Monday 10/12 or Tuesday 10/13, I’d love to tag along and meet new people. I also have no problem in keeping up (: (323) 205-6145 -Vee

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Guadalupe Gomez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 11, 2020
Hiking

Please reach out to @mindbodyandyoga on IG or text 312-221-7528 if you have two available permits for Monday October 19th. We’ve never done this hike and it would be a DREAM COME TRUE! Thank you in advance! Hike on. Peace.

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Roni P
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 11, 2020
Hiking

Hello I’m looking for two or three permits for weekend of the 16th oct if anyone has any text me 858-925-9525

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LINDSAY SWIFT
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 11, 2020
HikingGreat!RockyScramble
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Mikey Swift
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 11, 2020
Hiking

Bucket list checkmark!

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Cassius Hamm
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 11, 2020
Hiking

Anybody with permits for Sunday 10/18 text 3105706765

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Jae Jeon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 11, 2020
Hiking

I'm looking for two half dome cable passes for Monday 10/12. My dad is going out of country soon for the long haul to take care of my mom in S. Korea suffering from kidney failure. I wanted to have an unforgettable dad-son trip, and what better way is there to do than the half dome since he hasn't done it. Your help is greatly appreciated. My number is 7608154317. Thanks.

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Alexis Hollander
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 11, 2020

Such a great time! So glad the smoke cleared up and got to be honest, I felt the cables were better without gloves but I'm also a climber so I trust my hands. I didn't get any cuts doing so!

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Joseph Reyes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 10, 2020
Hiking

Great views. Most of the smoke from the fires have cleared up significantly but still a bit of haze. Last day to do the cables to the top is tomorrow. I’m glad I got to do it before they come down. Also, I didn’t have a pass but hiked up later in the day when the ranger left and was able to get to the top of half dome. She left her post from the sub dome at about 2pm. I was originally planning to jump in with a group that had extra permit availability in their party, which apparently happens a lot. I was hiking alone so I figured it would be easy to do so, but didn’t even need to since the Ranger left her post and by the time I got to the shop down there was no one there checking permits.  I watch the sunset from the top and hike down at night. I was the last one and only one at the top but had to hike all the way down to Yosemite Valley completely at night time. Got back to my car at 1am. Left Half Dome at 7:30. I wouldn’t really recommend leaving that late unless you are camping at Little Yosemite Valley.

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Kamal S
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 10, 2020

Hi, Looking for one permit for Sunday 10/11 as I was unsuccessful with the lottery. Please text 7657728084 if you can help. Thank you in advance!

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