Hike 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.
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.
- 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. Cancel the hike if thunderstorms are predicted. The danger is not worth the risk.
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.
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.
Other Great California Hikes – CLICK HERE –
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.