If you’re an exceptionally fit and experienced hiker, you may have your eye on conquering the summit of Half Dome. Rising nearly a mile above Yosemite Valley, Half Dome is an icon of Yosemite National Park and an exhilarating and challenging climb—but well worth it to experience the unrivaled views and sense of accomplishment. The journey up can be thrilling, dangerous and breathtaking (quite literally), but will be one you'll never forget.
During the 16-mile, 12-hour round-trip, you'll gain 4,800 feet as you hike up the smooth granite face. Cables have been installed to provide hikers with additional security, and they serve as guide rails during your climb. Despite their security, you’ll still be hiking on a sheer slab of granite thousands of feet above the Valley floor. Our guides are experienced with helping hikers overcome their fear of heights…but it will ultimately be up to you and your willpower to make it to the top.
Our Half Dome guides are some of our most experienced and are trained in first aid and CPR. Most importantly however, they know the trail better than anyone else on earth. Not only will they do their best to motivate you to get to the top safely, they'll also share their unsurpassed knowledge about Half Dome.
Hiking to the summit of Half Dome is quite an accomplishment—even with a guide. The most challenging part by far—both physically and mentally—are the famed Half Dome Cables. Consisting of two metal cables that resemble railings and wood planks on the ground for traction, they make it possible to reach the peak of Half Dome, which a century ago was declared “unclimbable.”
Fit, experienced and the brave hikers can typically do the 16-mile round-trip in approximately 12 hours. Inexperienced hikers—or hikers with a true fear of heights—shouldn't attempt summiting Half Dome.
The Half Dome cables are usually up between the Friday preceding Memorial Day and the day after Columbus Day. Always check the weather conditions and never hike the cables when the ground is wet or if rain is in the forecast. Be sure to know what time the sun sets, and turn around if you are in doubt of making it back before dark.
Hikers must have a permit from the National Park Service obtained during the preseason or through the daily lottery. A park ranger will be stationed at the approach to the Half Dome Cables and will request your permit.
When hiking to the summit of Half Dome, you should be equipped with:
- Well broken-in hiking boots with exceptional traction
- Plenty of water (a minimum of 1 gallon per person)
- Plenty of food to get you through 12 hours of strenuous hiking
- A flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries
- Gloves for gripping the cables (please do not leave gloves behind)
- Emergency kit with extra batteries, a compass and first aid