Half Dome Trail

 3 votes
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Trail

2.1 Miles 3.4 Kilometers


Singletrack

1,798' 548 m

Ascent

-33' -10 m

Descent

8,784' 2,677 m

High

7,019' 2,139 m

Low

16%

Avg Grade (9°)

49%

Max Grade (26°)

Unknown

Update

One of the most Iconic "trails" in the world.

Brian Smith

Overview

A permit is required to hike to Half Dome seven days per week when the cables are up. A maximum of 300 people are allowed (about 225 day visitors and 75 backpackers) each day on the Half Dome Trail beyond the base of the subdome. Permits are distributed by lottery via Recreation.gov, with one preseason lottery with an application period in March and and daily lotteries during the peak summer season.
Features: Birding — Fall Colors — River/Creek — Views — Waterfall — Wildlife
Dogs: No Dogs

Description

You'll find Half Dome Trail at the intersection with John Muir Trail: Happy Isles to Half Dome Trail, ~6 miles from the Happy Isles trailhead. The trail steadily climbs to the north-northwest through the forest for roughly a mile before turning west and then southwest toward Half Dome. You'll eventually emerge from the tree-cover onto solid granite and begin ascending a steep series of switchbacks to a saddle below the cables.

The most famous--or infamous--part of this trail is the ascent up the cables. The two metal cables allow hikers to climb the last 400 feet to the summit without rock climbing equipment. Since 1919, relatively few people have fallen and died on the cables. However, injuries are not uncommon for those acting irresponsibly.

The .Half Dome cables usually go back up the Friday before Memorial Day (conditions permitting) and come down the day after Columbus Day.

Tips while using the cables:
  • Take your time and be patient with slower visitors
  • Consider bringing used cycling gloves or gloves with traction to protect your hands. There will be a pile of used gloves at the base of the summit.
  • Allow faster moving traffic to pass you (when possible)
  • Remain on the inside of the cables
Do not attempt the ascent if:
  • Storm clouds are in the area
  • The ground is wet (the cables and rock become very slick when wet; most accidents on the cables occur during wet conditions)
  • You are not wearing sturdy shoes or hiking boots
  • The cables are down for the winter (typically, from the day after Columbus Day until Memorial Day weekend) (Check conditions update for status and any available updates)

Flora & Fauna

During night outings on this trail, you may encounter a wild bear or two!

Contacts

Land Manager: NPS - Yosemite

Rate Trail


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4.7 from 3 votes


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Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

May 16, 2016
Chase Tucker
Jul 8, 2011
David Hitchcock
Hiked as part of the day hike to Half Dome, 17 miles total, stunning views. 4.2mi
Aug 29, 2010
Catherine Ho

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 3 votes

#1301

Overall
  4.7 from 3 votes
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Rankings

#177

in California

#1,301

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