Half Dome

Half Dome near Yosemite National Park, CA

This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars
17 miles
Spring, Fall, Summer
Yosemite National Park, CA
User Bell444ucci

This being my first trip to Yosemite, Half Dome was a must. Everything I read said that this trail was very difficult, and that 10-12 hours should be taken to hike it. Another option is obtain a backcountry permit ($5 I think) and camp out over night. You will need to get started at about 5am if you want to get it done in one day. Bring plenty of water or a good purifier. For about the first 3 miles you gain some pretty good elevation, for me it was the hardest part of the trail. Be prepared for lots of steps and switchbacks. Take your camera; you will be passing a few very beautiful waterfalls with some nice photo ops. The trailhead is called the mist trail, so if you have no interest in getting wet in the wee hours of the morning bring a shirt change! After you get passed Nevada Falls, I think that’s the tallest on this trail, you will come to a relatively flat tail next to a river (stay out of the water, you can be dragged over the falls). This a very sandy path, if you can walk on the edge you wont feel like you are walking on the beach, and will not use up as much energy. Into the woods you go for a few more miles, enjoy the beauty, and don’t run like I did. When you come out about the tree line you will start to see the amazing views and get a site of half domes summit. The switchbacks at the base are pretty steep, so take your time. The stone has been cut into very primitive but functional steps. The cables of half dome can be very sketchy, if you value your existence you will wear a good rubbery shoe that has a decent amount of grip (even with climbing shoes on, the granite was pretty slick). As far a safety goes, I wore my climbing harness with a sling going through it, on the other end of the sling I had a beaner that I clipped onto the cables with. More then once I was told I had to have been the smartest person on the dome. I was also nice because I could stop turn around and really look at what I had just climbed. When you get to the top take it all in and enjoy. Go to the edge and glance down, if I were into base jumping this would be the spot. A few people that had hiked the dome before suggested when going down to hop on the John Muir trail to safe your knees from the pain of hiking down the mist trail. There are also less people on the Muir trail, the only drawback is that it adds another 2 miles to the trip. As I said in the beginning, everything I read said the 17 mile hike with its 4000+ elevation gain takes about 10-12 hours, can anyone out there beat MY time (5:50)?

Pictures are courtesy of the National Park Service.


Go into Yosemite Valley and follow the road until it ends and look for signs for the Mist Trail.


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Yosemite National Park, CA

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By hughPosted By: hugh  - Wed Sep 15 15:57:05 UTC 2010 Not Rated Upside Incredible day hike encompassing magnificent scenery and providing considerable physical and mental challenge. The views of Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls early in the morning are amazing. Also, if you can summit well before noon when the sky is not hazy, the 360 degree views at the top are beyond description. I have done this with each of my two boys. At the time, they were 14 and 22. It was a great bonding experience for us. Downside Other than the 4850 feet of vertical climb and the mental challenge presented by the steps of Subdome and the cables at Half Dome, there is no down side. Comment In my opinion, this is the ultimate day hike in America. It is a tough hike. You will be tired at the end, however the scenery and the sense of accomplishment are well worth it. A few recommendations: First, make sure that you arrive at the trail head early. You will want to summit a good bit before noon to avoid the conjestion on the cables, avoid afternoon thunderstorm possibilities and to experience the clearest haze-free sky at the top. Remember, you will have a half mile walk from the closest parking lot to the actual trail head so don't forget to factor that in. Second, make sure that you adequately prepare. I did a great deal of distance walking starting about 60 - 90 days before going. Additionally, at least once a week I spent at least 30 minutes walking up/down steps. A local football stadium works great. If you live at sea level , like we do, make sure that you acclimate prior to dolng the hike. We spent our first day on Tioga Road and did a great hike, Lembert Dome and Dog Lake, prior to doing HD. Next, enjoy the hike. You may have a tendency to want to get back down once you've summited. Admittedly, the cables and Subdome will test your mental resolve, however...the views are fantastic at the top; enjoy them and rest up a bit. Also, the scenery on the way up and down is spectacular. You're not in a race. We've made it both times in 9 - 10 hours which provided plenty of time at the top and in between. Fourth, we took the Mist trail up and down. Most people don't recommend this. For us, it shortened the distance by 2.4 miles (1.2 miles each way). As mentioned earlier, we did a great deal of stair climbing prior to going so our knees were conditioned. We didn't experience any knee pain. On my first trip, we came down on the Muir trail which was beat up and pretty hard on us. I believe that the Mist trail is in much better shape and no harder on you than the Muir trail. Lastly, you may want to consider soaking your feet in the 40 degree water of the Merced River on the way down. There are plenty of places to do this. I can't tell you how refreshed we were afterwards.<BR>I hope that this helps and wish you the best.<BR>
By horsepoorePosted By: horsepoore  - Sat Nov 28 20:59:44 UTC 2009 This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars Upside Incredible views, challenging hike, lots of tired happy people. Downside Crowds if you go at the wrong time of day. Comment It takes me 6 to 8 hours roundtrip, depending on how long I spend at the top. Take gloves- the rubber garden type work best. Leather will slip! I have avoided the crowds all 9 times I went up this fall- arriving either just before dusk or just after dawn. I bring a climbing harness and a short tie-down with a large beaner, and clip on to the cables. That way, I can pass onthe outside of the cables if necessary in perfect safety. Plus, I look really smart :) Wear granite-friendly shoes, the middle of the dome is veeerrrryyy slippery and newbies lose confidence, holding up the line.

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