Half Dome Hike | Yosemite Day Hikes | Lasting Adventures

Half Dome Hike in a Day

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The Half Dome hike in Yosemite is truly a trip of a lifetime! This 16 mile round-trip takes all day and brings hikers beside majestic waterfalls and to the top of the unique granite monolith, 8842′ Half Dome. While this is one of the most strenuous day hikes in the park, in addition to guiding you to this Yosemite icon, our guides also take the necessary time to educate you on the natural history, geology, and prominent figures who helped shape Yosemite as we know it today.

Half Dome is the signature landmark of Yosemite National Park in California. It reaches 8,842 feet above sea level. Hiking to the top is a taxing ordeal, taking about 12 hours. It is one of the most popular hikes in the country and offers terrific scenery throughout. This hike in total is about 16 miles round trip depending on the trails used. Day hikers will begin their journey in Happy Isles and ascend via the steep Mist Trail next to both Vernal, and Nevada Fall, each via 700 man-carved granite steps. This hike culminates with the cable system, erected in 1919 where you will climb the last 425 vertical feet using a 1/2-inch steel cable handrail. It is a guaranteed adrenaline rush. Once atop this famous landmark (featured on the 2005 Quarter coin) you will have unparalleled views of Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, El Capitan, Clouds Rest, Tenaya Canyon, and pretty much the entire Yosemite High Country.

The Half Dome hike is a very strenuous hike that has lasting effects on the persona. As stated by Mr. Half Dome himself, “The hike can awaken your adventuresome spirit with a new feeling of ‘I can do anything.'” Some of the comments we’ve overheard from those who have gone to the top include: “Awesome,” “Breathless,” “Wow – glad I trained for it,” and “This is the true Spirit of Yosemite.” For many people, this is their Mt. Everest and is one of the most ambitious things they will ever undertake. Maybe after conquering Half Dome, you’ll embark on even more challenging adventures.

Lasting Adventures, Inc. has guided well over 3,000 clients to the summit of Half Dome on over 200 separate occasions. We put safety first and teach both wilderness safety and wilderness ethics/values along the hike. Lightning, rain, and a wet dome are deadly. Fortunately, we have had to turn trips around due to bad weather only a few times. Our guides are proven leaders in the Yosemite backcountry and being the one guide service with the most Half Dome experience, we know what’s around almost every corner.

Dates and Permits

The Half Dome hike now requires permits to hike the cable route every day of the summer season. Permits are awarded on a lottery system. Our 2017 CONFIRMED dates above include cable permits. If you don’t see your date? Why not schedule for Clouds Rest (Half Dome’s taller neighbor) and we will alter the trip if either you or we gain the Half Dome permits in the two-day advance lottery.

See here for Half Dome Permit Information and how to secure a permit on your own: Half Dome Permits

If you gain permits through the lottery system please contact us to schedule an experienced guide who can provide interpretation while leading you safely to the top.

Why not consider a backpacking trip that includes Half Dome? We have a variety of overnight adventures for the first time and/or experienced backpackers that include Half Dome. We can outfit you and provide you with spectacular backcountry cuisine. See here for more information: Backpacking Trips. Also check out this blog on the advantages of doing Half Dome in a Backpacking Trip verses Day Trip: Half Dome Blog

Your Half Dome Hike – What To Expect

The Half Dome hike is a long, challenging and a rewarding day. We will leave Curry Village to the nearby Happy Isles trailhead at 5:30 am and can expect to be back in the Valley around 6 pm if not later. (Plan accordingly) We strongly suggest you be physically prepared for this adventure. This is an “extremely strenuous” hike. Be prepared for sudden changes in weather and for the many aspects of the wilderness such as insects and animals. Feel free to contact us to discuss any recommendations for preparedness. We recommend training by progressing to 6-8 hour day hikes to include long steep hills along with weight training to prepare for the cable pull. (It’s also a good excuse to get outside.)

What to Bring

    • Two one-quart wide-mouth water bottles full for departure. Hydration pack is okay too if you are comfortable carrying it. We will supply water filters for re-filling your bottles along the trail. Natural water is unsafe to drink.
    • Electrolyte powder of your taste preference (3/4 cup)
    • Food. pounds recommended. Carbohydrates are good! Examples include: 4-7 energy bars, trail mix, jerky, candy, etc. A pre-made bagel sandwich keeps its shape and tastes great on the summit!
    • Quality hiking boots are recommended. Trail shoes are okay. We prefer good soles and ankle support. ABSOLUTELY no tennis shoes – you will not be allowed to join this hike if you arrive wearing them.
    • Hiking socks – NO cotton
    • Lightweight shorts
    • Polypropylene shirt to help wick away sweat and keep you cool – NO cotton
    • Hat. Preferably one you can get wet to cool your head.
    • Facecloth or bandana
    • Sunscreen and Lip Balm
    • Flashlight – 4 AA minimum or a headlamp mandatory
    • Sunglasses
    • Small digital camera with neck strap
    • Trekking Poles are very helpful and advised (knee relief)
    • We provide nitrile rubber coated gloves for the cable ascent. They are super sticky and work. Feel free to bring your own pair if you wish.
    • Lightweight rain gear or shells for the Mist Trail and possible afternoon thunderstorm.
    • Blister prevention supplies
    • Fanny Pack or Daypack (whichever you prefer) to carry all of your necessities
    • Zip lock baggies for trash
    • Pre-hike dinner: Eat a balanced meal with nothing that may upset your stomach during the hike. Pre-hydrate that day and night.
    • Pre-hike breakfast: Bagels, muffins, juice, granola, apple, banana – use the bear boxes!

Our cost for the Half Dome in a Day Hike is $250 for a solo hiker. The cost will drop to $200 per person when total participation exceeds two or more people on any single date. This price also includes a Lasting Adventures Half Dome t-shirt. Gratuities for guides are not required but are appreciated. Typically gratuities range from 10-20% of your trip’s total cost; not per guide.

Lasting Adventures, Inc. will bring first aid gear, water treatment supplies, toilet paper/trowel, extra sunscreen, and extra snacks!

Trip Specifics:

Length: 12-15 Hours
Mileage: 16 Miles
Rating: Very Strenuous
Meet: Half Dome Village, 5:30am
Cost: $250/solo hiker; $200/person for 2+ people
All dates below include cable permits
2017 Dates: Sun Jun 25-FULL
Fri Jun 30-FULL
Sat July 8
Sat July 22-FULL
Sun July 23-FULL
Sun July 30-FULL
Thurs Aug. 10
Thurs Aug. 17-FULL
Mon Aug. 28
Thurs Sep. 7
Sat Sep. 9-FULL
Sun Sep. 17
Thurs Sep. 21
Sun Sep. 24
Mon Sep. 25
Sat Sep. 30-FULL
Thurs. Oct. 5
Sun. Oct. 8-FULL
Mon Oct. 9
**All dates above INCLUDE the CABLE PERMITS to summit Half Dome