Highlights: Looking for an incredible Half Dome backpacking trip? This trip will make the experience unforgettable! Begin the adventure at Glacier Point (Yosemite’s number one attraction) with panoramic views of the Sierra Nevada high country. Quickly lose the crowds by descending into the Illilouette Valley and setting up camp along the creek. On Day three hike around the base of Mt. Starr King to Little Yosemite Valley, passing by the precipice of Nevada Fall along the way. If we are unable to summit Half Dome this afternoon for a sunset; we will take in the sunrise the next morning. Return to Yosemite Valley along the famous Mist Trail soaking in both Nevada and Vernal Falls. This is one of our most popular Yosemite backpacking trips for good reason!
For a detailed map with elevation profile of the tentative itinerary, click here: Map.
Meet your guide in Curry Village at 4:00 pm. Get acquainted with the group and with gear. If time allows before dinner, visit some of the Valley’s walkable destinations. Grab dinner at one of park’s numerous restaurants. (Food is not provided while in the front-country.) Camp in the Yosemite Valley Backpacker’s Camp. Today’s Mileage/Elevation: 0 / +0′, -0′
We will head over to Yosemite Lodge for breakfast and to catch the 10:00 AM bus to Glacier Point (7,214′). After taking in the views at Glacier Point, we will descend down into Illilouette Valley. After 3.8 mostly easy downhill miles (only one short climb of about 300′) we will cross the Illilouette Creek and camp at a knoll along the water. If the sky is cloudless, experience an incredible show of stars! Today’s Mileage/Elevation: 3.8 mi / +350′, -1,250′
After a hearty breakfast we will hike out of the Illilouette Valley on a moderate uphill and scenic climb to the Panorama Trail before descending to the precipice of Nevada Fall and ultimately Little Yosemite Valley at 6040′ where we will camp for the night. There is a beach along the Merced River here that makes for excellent relaxation. Today’s Mileage/Elevation: 5.5 mi / +700′, -1,150′
Half Dome will be completed either in the afternoon on Day 3 to catch the sunset, or the following morning with an alpine start to catch the sunrise. This is a strenuous uphill of 3.5 miles to the summit at 8,836′. Round-trip mileage: 7.0 mi, 2,700′ elevation change
We will descend to the Yosemite Valley Floor (4,000′) via the Mist Trail which parallels the Merced River and both Nevada and Vernal Falls. Today’s Mileage/Elevation: 4.5 mi / +300′, -2,440′ Generally, our goal is to finish between 2-4 PM but this can be later due to the human factors within the group.
Required shuttle costs are included in the above costs. We also include backpacks, sleeping bags, tents, pads, trekking poles, and eating utensils at NO EXTRA COST as needed. Lastly, all profits from our guided trips go towards our non-profit youth summer camp program.
Note: All trips are subject to Lasting Adventures obtaining the necessary wilderness permits. Although our success rate is 98%, should we not obtain the exact trail-head, a trip of equal quality will be obtained. Should weather, fire, and/or delayed seasonal openings affect the chosen itinerary, a different itinerary will be offered. Lasting Adventures is recognized for its commitment to safety and risk management. In this regard, the summit of Half Dome (or any other peak) will not be attempted when clouds are in close proximity.
*All trips are pending permit availability which we gain 24-weeks in advance. Please refrain from making travel arrangements until we have confirmed dates.
Lasting Adventures runs traditional backpacking trips. Traditional backpacking is done without the use of porters, stock, or other assistance. You will be expected to carry all of your own personal gear and a share of the group gear and food in a backpack for the duration of this trip. The weight can be expected to be 30-50 lbs and no more than the recommended ⅓ of your body weight.
As needed, it is recommended that participants discuss their ability to conduct a backpacking trip with their doctor, including (but not limited to) the ability to carry heavy loads over long distances and strenuous and uneven terrain. Levels of difficulty listed on our web site are relative and in no way an objective declaration of difficulty, and a regular physical exercise program is recommended prior to going on your adventure.