Hike Half Dome – Yosemite Hikes

Yosemite National Park HikesHike Half Dome in Yosemite National Park for the challenge of a lifetime. Half Dome, a 14 mile trek, is often listed as one of the top hikes in the world.

The round trip hike typically takes approximately 12 hours. The elevation gain of 4800 feet is arduous and suited only for people who are in good physical condition.

hike half dome
The scenery is truly unforgettable. Hikers are rewarded by breathtaking views of the top of Vernal Falls, Nevada Falls, Liberty Cap, and Half Dome. Once you reach the summit, you’ll have panoramic views of Yosemite Valley and the High Sierra. If you have a fear of heights, this hike is not for you.

Metal cables are installed that allow hikers to climb the last 400 feet to the summit without rock climbing equipment. These cables are usually put up the end of May and are taken down in early October. Permits are required and are limited to a certain number of hikers each day. Permits are distributed by a lottery system. Click here to apply for a permit.

Hiking Tips for Half Dome Hike

  • Arrive at the park the night before the hike. Leave for the trailhead at sunrise or even earlier.
    Most hikers arrive at Yosemite the day before the hike. There are a variety of lodging options to choose from. You could camp under the stars, stay in a tent cabin or housekeeping campsite, or splurge and stay in a hotel. There are also a variety of places to stay just outside the park. Click Here to learn more about lodging at Yosemite National Park.
  • Bring gloves (for the cables), plenty of water, a sunhat, sunglasses, snacks, a whistle, and a windbreaker. Time your return so that you are off the trail before dark, but bring a flashlight or headlamp just in case.
  • Wear hiking boots that you’ve broken in.
  • Check the weather forecast before you begin the hike. Cancel the hike if thunderstorms are predicted. The danger is not worth the risk. National Weather Channel – Yosemite Forecast

    Directions to Hike Half Dome:

    There are a variety of routes to the top of Half Dome. Most hikers begin the Half Dome hike from Happy Isle. After reaching Yosemite Valley, follow the signs toward Curry Village. Watch for signs for trailhead parking. If that lot is full, park at Curry Village.

Yosemite Waterfall

Other Yosemite Hikes

If Half Dome is not for you, there are many less strenuous, but still spectacular hikes. With over 800 miles of trails this is a hikers’ paradise. Hike through peaceful meadows, pass waterfalls, walk through quiet forests all while enjoying the breathtaking beauty of the huge granite mountains. Some Yosemite National Park hikes are just a short distance from the road, while others are remote trails through the wilderness.

  • Lower Yosemite Falls – This hike is located in the Yosemite Valley. It’s an easy hike just half of a mile roundtrip from the trailhead.
  • Bridalveil Fall – This hike is in the Yosemite Valley. Another easy hike that’s 1.2 miles roundtrip from the trailhead.
  • The Mist Trail – This trail leads to two waterfalls. Vernal Falls is a 3 mile roundtrip hike. If you want a longer hike, continue down the trail to Nevada Falls, which is a 7 mile roundtrip hike.
  • Tuolumne Grove Giant Sequoias – 2.5 mile roundtrip hike.
  • Cathedral Lakes – 8 miles roundtrip if you hike to both lakes.
  • Mariposa Grove Trail – Medium difficulty; 7 miles roundtrip. This is the largest Sequoia Grove in Yosemite and is located in Southern Yosemite.
  • The Wawona Swinging Bridge – Easy hike, .75 mile roundtrip.
  • Sentinel Dome – This 2.2 mile hike is at Glacier Point, which is 3,500 feet above Yosemite Valley. Most of the hike is easy, but the final section up to the dome is steep.
  • Taft Point – 2.2 miles roundtrip. Hikers are rewarded with a dramatic view of Yosemite Valley. Those afraid of heights will want to stay away from the edge. Moderate difficulty.
  • Wawona Meadow Loop – Choose either the 3.5 mile or 5 mile loop. This dog friendly hike is moderately difficult.

Other Great California Hikes – CLICK HERE –


Bishops Peak San Luis Obispo

Hike to the top of Bishop’s Peak


If you have hiked to the top of Half Dome, please leave a comment below about your hiking experience. Those who plan to hike Half Dome would love to hear about your hike.


Calaveras County Golf Courses

calaveras county golfLearn about the Calaveras County golf courses where you can enjoy a round of golf in the scenic foothills. There really are some great courses to choose from. Scroll down for details on each golf course and book a tee time soon.

Tip: When you call to make reservations, see if they offer any discounts or special packages. Many courses have deals that can save you money!

Calaveras County is also a great destination for wine tasting. Learn more about Calaveras County Wineries and combine a golf getaway with a wine tasting tour of this beautiful area. Consider planning a getaway that lets you enjoy golf one day and wine tasting the next. This is a scenic area with lots of small historic towns to explore and other fun things to do.


List of Golf Courses in Calaveras County


Forest Meadows Golf Course
Forest Meadows Golf Course
Address: 633 Forest Meadows Dr., Murphys, CA 95247
Telephone: (209) 728-3439
Designer: Robert Trent Jones, Jr.
Par: 60
Check out their website for special stay and play packages.



Greenhorn Creek Golf Resort

Address: Hwy. 4 and Greenhorn Creek Rd., Angeles Camp, CA
Telephone: (209) 736-8111
Designer: Robert Trent Jones II
Greenhorn Creek has been voted the “Best Playing Conditions” and “Best Value for the Green Fee” by Greenskeeper.org


La Contenta Golf Club
Address: 1653 Hwy. 26, Valley Springs, CA
Telephone: (209) 772-1081
Designer: Richard Bigler
Par: 72
La Contenta features a blend of meadow/valley fairways and rolling terrain highlighted by the dramatic drop of the signature 13th hole. It’s a fun course to play! Check out their website for specials!


Saddle Creek Golf CourseSaddlecreek Resort
Address: 1001 Saddle Creek Dr., Copperopolis, CA
Telephone: (209) 785-3701
Designer: Carter Morrish
Par: 72
In 1997, Golf Digest voted Saddle Creek the 7th Best New upscale golf course in the U.S. Golf Digest has also rated Saddle Creek four and a half stars. Only Pebble Beach is rated higher in California with five stars.


Sequoia Woods Country Club
Address: 1000 Cypress Point Drive, Arnold, California 95223
Telephone: 209-795-2141
Designer: Bob Baldock
Par: 70
Sequoia Woods offers beautiful scenery and challenging golf. Nestled in the western Sierra Nevada at a 4,000-foot elevation, many of the fairways are lined with tall pine trees. The golf course is usually closed during the two coldest months of the year due to snow.


Explore a Cave


The Sierra Foothills offer a variety of fascinating caverns just waiting to be explored. You will be amazed by impressive formations created by nature through the centuries.

A whole new underground world is waiting for you to discover at these caverns in California. Formations include stalactites, stalagmites, columns, draperies, columns, curtains, flowstone, and helictites.

Tour options vary. Many tours are easy walking tours. You can also rappel down into the caverns. Explore the unlit portions of the cave using cave helmet lights. Take a short raft trip across a lake to reach caves. There are tours to fit everyone’s desire for adventure!


These caverns are open to the public for guided tours and are located in Calaveras County:

  • * California Caverns
    * Mercer Cavern
    * Moaning Caves

    Click Here to Learn More About These Caves


  • Have you golfed at any of the Calaveras County golf courses? If you have, please take a moment to tell us about the course below.


    Amador County Golf Courses & More

    Amador County Golf CoursesDiscover Amador County golf courses. Escape the hustle and bustle of your everyday life. Vacation in this scenic area of the Sierra Foothills.

    Amador County is a great destination for a mountain getaway. There are just two golf courses in the county, but lots of other things to do. Explore the antique shops of these small Gold Rush towns. Pan for gold. Tour a gold mine. Stay at an historic inn. Dine at unique restaurants. During the winter, you can ski or snowboard at Kirkwood Meadows Ski Resort.


    Amador County Golf Courses


    Castle Oaks Golf Club
    Address: 1000 Castle Oaks Dr., Ione, CA
    Telephone: (209) 274-0167
    Par: 71
    Designer: Brad Benz
    Castle Oaks Golf Club was named “Best Public Golf Course in Nor-Cal” by Golf Digest. Castle Oaks opened in 1994. It remains a Golf Digest Places to Play. It is a 4-Star rated course.

    Mace Meadow Golf Club
    Address: 26570 Fairway Dr., Pioneer, CA 95666
    Telephone: (209) 295-7020
    Par: 72
    Mace Meadow is located 19 miles east of Jackson on Scenic Highway 88. Play surrounded by tall oaks, towering ponderosa pine, douglas fir, and cedar trees. This a challenging course for golfers.


    Go Wine Tasting


    Amador County VineyardAmador County is famous for the many fabulous wineries that produce wine in the region. Amador is especially known for producing world class Zinfandel. Amador Zinfandels have a reputation for being big and bold. Wineries from regions of California will often purchase Zinfandel grapes from Amador growers. However, there are many other types of wines made in the area. Plan a trip to Amador Wineries and taste for yourself these delightful wines.

    Wineries are spread out throughout the county, but you don’t want to miss the beautiful Shenandoah Valley near the small town of Plymouth. Shenandoah Road is the main road through this region. There are many outstanding wineries in this area including Young’s Vineyard, Villa Toscano, Karmere Vineyards, Andis Wine, Helwig, and Borjon Winery.


    Explore Caverns


    Cave formations Explore the fascinating caverns located in the Sierra Foothills. There are a number of different caves that offer tours. This is especially fun during the hot summer months because it can be quite cool inside these deep limestone caves.

    Black Chasm is located in Amador County in the town of Volcano. They offer a guide tour that lasts about one hour. Additional activities include gold panning, gemstone mining, hiking, and geode cracking. There are three additional caverns located in nearby Calaveras County.


    Stay in a Unique Bed and Breakfast


    Foxes Inn - Sutter Creek, CaliforniaOur favorite place to spend the night in Amador County is Foxes Inn This charming Bed and Breakfast is located in the historic Gold Rush town of Sutter Creek. Enjoy a uniquely decorated room, friendly hosts, and a delightful breakfast in the morning.

    Stroll the town exploring the shops, walk to wine tasting rooms, attend a live performance at the Sutter Creek Theater, or enjoy an ice cream cone at the Sutter Creek Ice Cream Emporium. There are many small shops and boutiques as well as antique shops with interesting things for sale. Enjoy lunch or dinner at one of the restaurants —- all walking distance from the Foxes Inn.


    If you have golfed at one of these Amador County golf courses or done any of the other fun things suggested, please scroll down and leave a comment. We’d love your opinion!


    #1 Calaveras County Bed and Breakfast

    Dunbar House 1880


    Calaveras County Bed and BreakfastLooking for a Calaveras County Bed and Breakfast? Dunbar House 1880  offers wine country accommodations in Calaveras County that will not disappoint you.

    Located in the charming and historic Gold Rush town of Murphys, Dunbar House is ideally located for a stay in the California Wine Country.

    You are within easy walking distance of 10 Calaveras wineries situated on and just off of Main Street in Murphys. You will have fun discovering the charming shops and restaurants near this great Calaveras County Bed and Breakfast.

    Dunbar House is a Calaveras County Bed and Breakfast that is rated four diamonds by the Automobile Association of American. Each of the 5 unique rooms is beautifully decorated and designed for pampering.

    Calaveras County - Wine Country Accommodations We stayed in a suite called Sugar Pine, which was tastefully decorated in blue and white with rose accents. The queen size bed faced a gas burning stove and a french door leading out to a private balcony surrounded by elm trees.

    The sitting area had 2 chairs, a small desk, and a table with 2 chairs. The flat screen television swiveled to face either the bed or the sitting area and DVDs were available in the library.

     
    Dunbar House Murphys
    After checking in on a rainy spring afternoon, we sat by the fire in the living room and enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Lovely antiques added to the ambiance.


    Dunbar House MurphysThe owners of Dunbar House have included every amenity we could imagine. We enjoyed soaking in the six-foot claw tub with candles lit, drying ourselves off with warm towels heated on the towel warmer, and slipping into the robes and slippers provided.

    There was a plate of appetizers waiting for us and a bottle of wine. We enjoyed a nap in the luxurious bedding provided including a soft down comforter and four down pillows. (Usually we are telephoning housekeeping asking for more pillows.)

    Later we walked a block or two down Main Street and enjoyed a fabulous dinner at
    V Restaurant and Bar. This is a great choice for either lunch or dinner. It’s a small restaurant so make reservations to be on the safe side.

    Bed and Breakfast Calaveras CountyOn our return walk to Dunbar House, we could hear the sounds of crickets and the creek as it rolled along. It was a peaceful walk and a quiet night as we slept.

    We woke to the sounds of birds in the trees. The sun was out, the sky was blue and we enjoyed some time in the beautiful garden before eating breakfast.


    We had a choice of eating in the privacy of our own room or in the dining room. We decided to eat in the dining room where we had fun meeting the other guests of this Calaveras County bed and breakfast. The meal was delicious…..soufflé, a variety of fresh fruit, lemon bread, juice, tapioca in a chocolate boat, and marinated tomatoes.

    Breakfast at Dunbar House InnLater, as we drove down Main Street on our way to wine tasting, we saw people waiting outside a restaurant to be seated for breakfast and were thankful we had been served breakfast without such a wait.
    Everything about Dunbar House 1880 was a delight. It was immaculate and tastefully decorated. We truly felt pampered.

    We can enthusiastically recommend this Calaveras County Bed and Breakfast. . .it definitely offers high quality, unique Wine Country Accommodations in the Sierra Foothills. Dunbar House and Calaveras County is a wonderful part of the California Wine Country that you are sure to enjoy.

    Contact Information:
    Dunbar House
    Address: 271 Jones Street, Murphys, CA 95247
    Telephone: (800) 692-6006 or (209) 728-2897.


    Calaveras Vineyard If you are planning a trip to Calaveras County, you will want to

    check out our Calaveras Wineries Page We have winery information, pictures, links, recommendations, and a link to the winery map for Calaveras County Wineries. Start planning a wine country vacation today!


    Have you stayed at this Calaveras County Bed and Breakfast? If you have, please scroll down and leave a comment about your stay at Dunbar House.


    Fascinating Caverns in California

    California CavernsExplore fascinating California caverns located in the Sierra Foothills and be amazed by impressive formations created by nature through the centuries.

    A whole new underground world is waiting for you to discover at these caverns in California. Formations include stalactites, stalagmites, columns, draperies, columns, curtains, flowstone, and helicites.

    Caving can be an exciting and for the whole family. Caverns of all ages can appreciate the natural wonders of these underground chambers.

    Most caves offer short 45 to 60 minute tours. Some also have longer tours and other activities available as well.

    Black Chasm (Amador County)
    Black Chasm15701 Pioneer-Volcano Road
    Volcano, CA 95689
    (209) 736-2708
    These caves offer a 50 minute guided walking tour. Additional activities include gold panning, gemstone mining, hiking, and geode cracking. Black Chasm was declared a National Natural Landmark in 1976 but did not open to the public until 2000. These caves feature rare pristine white helicites that are delicate and spiraling into interesting shapes with one resembling a Chinese dragon. These caves are amazing.

    Directions to Black Chasm: From the Amador town of Jackson, take Hwy. 88 east. At Pine Grove, turn left on Pine Grove-Volcano Road. Make a sharp right onto Pioneer-Volcano Road. Turn right about 100 feet down this road into the entrance.


    California Cavern (Calaveras County)
    California Caverns9565 Cave City Road
    Mountain Ranch, CA 95246
    (209) 736-2708
    You have a choice of tours at California Caverns. The shortest is the 60-80 minute Trail of Lights guided walking tour. You need reservations for their more adventurous tours. The Mammoth Cave Expedition is 3 hours long and will take you crawling, climbing, and sliding along the cave floors and walls. Even more challenging is the Middle Earth Expedition, which takes 4-5 hours. Visit areas of the cave illuminated only by cave helmet lights. This trip also includes a short rafting trip across Tom’s Lake. These caverns were discovered in 1849 by miners during the Gold Rush. Experience the beauty of these caves and hear tales about life during the California Gold Rush.

    Directions: From the Calaveras town of Angeles Camp, go north on Hwy. 49 to San Andreas. Turn right onto Mountain Road and drive 9 miles. Turn right on the second Michel Road turnoff. You will see a sign that says “California Cavern”. Follow the signs for about 2 miles to the entrance.


    Mercer Cavern (Calaveras County)
    Mercer Caverns1665 Sheep Ranch Road
    Murphys, CA 95247
    (209) 728-2101
    This facility has a guided 45 minute walking tour that descends 16 stories underground. The natural wonders of these caves will amaze you as you explore its seven major chambers. The first chamber you enter is 58 feet high and extends 200 feet long by 60 feet wide. The variety and beauty of the formations will make this cave tour an experience you will not forget.

    Directions: From Calaveras town of Murphys, turn off on Main Street onto Sheep Ranch Road for 1 mile to the entrance. After your cave tour, continue a short ways on Sheep Ranch Road, and you will find yourself at Stevenot Winery for complimentary wine tasting in their historic winery.


    Moaning CavernMoaning Caves (Calaveras County)
    5350 Moaning Cave Road
    Vallecito, CA 95251
    (866) 762-2837
    Moaning Cavern has been known for centuries as the cave that moaned. You can still hear its moaning sound today. The spectacular main chamber is large enough to hold the entire Statue of Liberty. The 45 minute guided Walk Tour descends a 100 foot spiral staircase. Or, you could opt to enter the cave via the 165 foot rope descent. The 3 hour Adventure Trip begins with an optional rappelling descent and allows you to explore the unlit and undeveloped areas of the cave.

    Moaning Cavern also offers an above ground adventure, a twin zip line. Race a friend or family member on their 1500-foot twin zip line, at speeds in excess of 40 miles per hour, for the thrill of your life!

    Directions: From the Calaveras town of Angels Camp, go east on Hwy. 4. Turn right on Parrotts Ferry Road for 1 mile. Turn right on Moaning Cave Road. You will see park sign.


    If you have visited any of these caverns, please let us know what you thought. There’s a place below for comments.