Travel Rankings & Advice

Half Dome free

Yosemite National Park, California, United States | Official website
Half Dome Photo info
  • Type: Hiking, Sightseeing
  • Time to Spend: More than Full Day
Overall Rating: 4.5 (4.3)
Value: 5.0 (5.0)
Facilities: 2.0 (2.0)
Atmosphere: 5.0 (5.0)
About these ratings

Hiking Yosemite's Half Dome Cables Route has been described as unforgettable and even life-changing. But it's not for the faint of heart. The challenge begins immediately, with a hike along the Mist Trail to Vernal Fall, a steep ascent that serves as a test to see if you're in adequate condition for the remaining journey. The hike then continues to the top of Nevada Fall, followed by a long, flat section through Yosemite Valley. When you finally reach the base of the dome, a steep, rocky climb finally takes you to the Half Dome Cables, a vertical, exposed rock face scalable by two steel cables.

If you're afraid of heights or are not in excellent physical condition, don't ascend the cables. But you can still enjoy many of the Dome's tamer sections, such as the trip to Nevada Fall. If you are going to try the entire hike, you'll need to allot at least 12 hours. The National Park Service recommends you leave just before or at dawn, and be sure to bring all necessary hiking equipment, including durable hiking boots, a flashlight and a whistle. You'll also need at least a gallon of water, and don't rely on park facilities for hydration or a bathroom break.

Half Dome is generally accessible from June to October. A permit is now required if you wish to hike to the top of Half Dome on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and on federal holidays.

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