Check out our Backpack trips that include Half Dome such as our 4-day Half Dome Backpacking Trip, our famous 6-day Cathedral Lakes to Clouds Rest & Half Dome and our breathtaking 6-day Tuolumne Meadows to Half Dome Backpacking trips.
While the typical Half Dome in-a-day hike is certainly an adventure and a challenge, it may not be the most enjoyable way to experience the grandeur of Yosemite’s most iconic feature. The typical Half Dome in a Day hike begins with a wake up around 4am, followed by a strenuous 8 mile hike up nearly 5,000 vertical feet to reach the base of the Dome just in time to hit the adrenaline-inducing cables with many other people. You’ll spend the next 30 minutes to an hour holding onto a half inch steel cable on the steep granite then spend a short time at the top before racing back down to the bottom to finish the 16 mile hike before dark. As past clients have said, “It was my most challenging and yet rewarding day ever.”
Below are 6 reasons why including Half Dome as part of a longer backpacking trip can be a better option for those wanting to summit.
- Avoid the crowds – As most people hike to the top of Half Dome and back down in a single day, everyone is starting at roughly the same time, hiking the stairs of Vernal and Nevada Falls at the same time and ultimately hanging on the cables on the side of Half Dome at the same time. Including your summit bid as part of a longer trip allows you to have a much calmer, more secluded wilderness experience. It also allows you to summit Half Dome at a time in which you have the cables virtually to yourself.
- Summit at Sunrise/Sunset – As opposed to summiting in the middle of the day with hundreds other people, the flexibility in time of backpacking allows you to experience the most incredible sunrise or sunset of your life, often alone atop the summit. This is a favorite park experience among our guides.
- Avoid the Race – Let’s face it, Half Dome in a Day is grueling. With nearly 5,000 vertical feet up and then back down, it is no surprise that the majority of SAR activity in Yosemite occurs on the Mist Trail that leads up toward Half Dome. While you may have the energy to truck it to the top at a fast pace, most injuries and problems occur on the race down before dark. Backpacking allows you to take your time while hiking and acclimate to the high elevations in a more gradual manner avoiding injuries and sickness.
- Enjoy the Yosemite Backcountry – While the hike to Half Dome in a Day is absolutely gorgeous, backpacking allows you to experience much more of the park like swimming in serene, high altitude lakes, napping by the pristine Merced River and even summiting other peaks like the amazing Cloud’s Rest, a thousand feet higher than Half Dome with an arguably better view. The hike then finishes by descending Nevada and Vernal Falls.
- Value – Hiking Half Dome in a day requires lodging the night before and after in proximity to Yosemite. If you’re lucky enough to find available lodging, plan to pay $200-$400 per night for two nights. If you tack on an optional guide for the day plan to add approximately $300 each. Then food costs. However, if you choose a Half Dome backpacking trip with Lasting Adventures, you’ll be provided top brand gear, quality meals, more time in the backcountry and professional, knowledgeable guides for a much lower price than a 3 day/2night trip to Yosemite with lodging.
- Let Go and Relax – With the accompaniment of our #1 rated guides, you will have the opportunity to sit back, relax and experience the nature around you. Disconnect, take a nap, take a walk around a lake, dip your feet, leave the cooking, cleaning and campfire building to us!
Hiking Half Dome should be so much more than a summit-charge. Break away from the rat race and enjoy all the lakes, granite, waterfalls, rivers, lakes, streams, animals, trees, sunsets, rangers, friends and campfires Yosemite has to offer. Your Half Dome backpacking trip awaits!