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Half Dome Trail

Very Difficult
 4.9 (17)

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


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Map Key

2.1

Miles

3.4

KM

Point to Point

8,784' 2,677 m

High

7,019' 2,139 m

Low

1,798' 548 m

Up

33' 10 m

Down

16%

Avg Grade (9°)

49%

Max Grade (26°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildlife

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.

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

Shared By:

Brian Smith

Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 17 votes

#140

Overall
  4.9 from 17 votes
5 Star
88%
4 Star
12%
3 Star
0%
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1 Star
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Trail Rankings

#13

in California

#140

Overall
87 Views Last Month
2,992 Since May 21, 2015
Very Difficult

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25%
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Photos

Coming down the cables from the Half Dome summit.
Dec 17, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA
This was definitely the most difficult part of the climb.
Feb 1, 2017 near Yosemit…, CA
Halfdome in August
Jan 18, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA
A view down the cables.
May 21, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA
This hike can get CROWDED!
May 21, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA
The cables
Jun 10, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA

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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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All Clear 12 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Oct 21, 2019
GLEN NICOL
Oct 14, 2019
Debra Mallinak
Aug 18, 2019
Shengwei Zhang
A must-do hike/climb!
Jul 15, 2019
Oscar Ramirez
Aug 26, 2018
Marc Daniel
Coming from campground 0.45m down the trail
May 26, 2018
Martin Caspersen
Dec 10, 2017
Joseph Rega
Sep 19, 2017
Craig R
6mi