Highlights: This popular Half Dome backpacking trip offers a comprehensive Yosemite experience for those seeking an authentic wilderness adventure. From Tuolumne Meadows you’ll climb nearly 1,500’ to Tuolumne Pass at 10,000 feet for stunning alpine vistas of the rugged Sierra Nevada backcountry. Meander through pristine alpine meadows and past massive granite domes. Follow the headwaters of the Merced River as you hike past high alpine lakes and old growth forests. This trip ends with the last afternoon and evening in Little Yosemite Valley which provides an option to summit Half Dome. If you’re looking to avoid the crowds and experience some of Yosemite’s most spectacular backcountry scenery, this is the adventure for you!
2019 snowpack update: Our snowpack this year in the Sierras is currently at about 150% of normal. We anticipate a late opening for the Yosemite High Country with snow prevalent into late June and beyond at higher elevations. River, creek, and waterfall flow will be at high and sometimes dangerous levels. We do not estimate the cables on Half Dome being installed until the first week of June. Any trips through mid-late June can be impacted and back-up itineraries will be offered when necessary. Further updates will be provided by email for registered clients and campers.
Day 1: Meet your guide at 3:00 PM in Half Dome Village. Get acquainted with the group and with gear. If time allows before dinner, explore some of the Valley’s iconic features. Eat dinner at one of the park’s many restaurants. (Food in the front-country is not included.) Camp in the Yosemite Valley Backpacker’s Camp.
Day 2: Grab breakfast in Half Dome Village, then take the morning shuttle to Tuolumne Meadows. We will depart Tuolumne Meadows by means of the John Muir Trail but quickly diverge onto the Rafferty Creek Trail. This is a steady uphill hike into high alpine meadows. Our goal this day is to go 6.5 miles to either Boothe Lake (9,845′) or Vogelsang High Sierra Camp (10,130′) for the night.
Day 3: Today we will drop in elevation to Babcock Lake (8,885′). We will hike a total of 5.3 miles as we follow Fletcher Creek, the headwaters of the Merced River. At Babcock Lake you’ll have the opportunity to relax and cool off in the cold alpine lake.
Day 4: After a hearty breakfast we will leave Babcock Lake and drop over 1,500′ over 3.9 miles as we hike down to Merced Lake for a lunchtime break. We will then hike another 2.6 easy miles along the shores of the Merced River to Echo Valley (7,020′).
Day 5: We will continue following the Merced River to Little Yosemite Valley (6,140′). Today we will hike 6.7 easy and downhill miles past incredible backcountry waterfalls and cascades. You’ll be able to experience lush areas filled with wildflowers and babbling creeks as you trek through some of the park’s most pristine wilderness.
Day 6: Our final hike takes us 4.5 miles down to Yosemite Valley (4,000′). We will hike along the famous Mist Trail that descends besides both Nevada Fall and Vernal Fall before ending in Half Dome Village. Typically, the goal is to be finished between 1:00 and 3:00 PM.
Other: Half Dome can be completed in the afternoon/evening of Day 5 or early morning on Day 6 before hiking out. This is a 7-mile roundtrip from Little Yosemite Valley. Half Dome requires cable permits and as requested we will exhaust all means to obtain these permits.
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.