Half Dome Hike
Get your copy
The Yosemite Guide contains information about camping, trip planning, activities, scheduled events, and hours of operations for different facilities and services.
- Denotes which shuttle stop when you see this icon.
via Mist Trail 14 mi/22.5 km round-trip
via John Muir Trail 16.3 mi/26.3 km round-trip
via Mist and John Muir Trails 15.2 mi/24.4 km round-trip
10 to 12 hours
4800 feet (1463m)
Crowds -Very Crowded
Begin this hike at the Happy Isles Shuttle Stop . There you can fill up on snacks or water at the trailhead snack kiosks right at the Shuttle Stop area.
Half Dome is the Mother of all Yosemite hikes and if you start at Happy Isles you will hit the Mist Trail along the way (See Vernal and Nevada Falls Hike) make sure to bring a rainjacket to keep you somewhat dry on the leg of the trip.
You do need a permit to climb the cables at the base of Half Dome. How do I get a permit you ask? Click here to go to the permit page on recreation.gov. Permits cost $1.50 which is basically a service charge.
It is important to take your time on the Half Dome Cables and use good judgment. A slip or fall from the cables may result in serious injury or death. Rescue personnel may be hours away and/or unable to respond due to weather or other incidents occurring simultaneously.
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
Many people find gloves helpful
Another easy way to make your hike enjoyable is to have 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.
The summit of Half Dome is a dangerous place during a lightning storm. Check the weather forecast before your hike and try to reach the summit early in the day to avoid afternoon thunderstorms. If a storm appears nearby, do not continue to the summit and, if in the summit area, leave the area (while still using caution when descending the cables and steps).
The summit is typically 15*F (8*C) to 20*F (11*C) cooler than Yosemite Valley and windy conditions are common. Be prepared for cool temperatures and rain showers. A few visitors each summer have problems with altitude sickness. Know how to recognize the early signs of altitude sickness.
Video Courtesy of the National Park Service
DO NOT BEGIN THIS ASCENT IF:
Follow the Mist Trail or John Muir Trail to Nevada Fall. Continue on the trail, following the signs to Half Dome. The last 900 feet (275 m) of trail is a very steep climb up the east side of Half Dome. Cables assist hikers on the final 400 feet (122 m). They consist of two steel cables, about 3 feet apart and suspended at arm's height from pipes set in the rock. The top of Half Dome is a fairly large and level open surface. Camping is not permitted on top of Half Dome.
Been on this hike? Tell everyone what you know about it here.
|Home | Campgrounds | Food and Beverage | Hiking | Waterfalls | Activities | Videos | Events
Panoramas | Webcams | Yosemite Map | FAQ's
|Other Camping Resources - Camp Arizona | The Ultimate Camping Guide|