Half Dome Hike. Yosemite’s most iconic attraction and most prestigious hike.
Half Dome is Yosemite’s most iconic attraction in all of Yosemite Valley. The trail to Half Dome from Yosemite Valley is an extremely strenuous hike covering over 17 miles. Hikers gain 4,800 feet of elevation along the trail that passes highlights such as Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall, before reaching the cables on Half Dome’s steep granite domes. Steel cables and wooden planks are placed along the dome to assist hikers to the summit in the summer months. The cables are removed every October, and replaced in late May.
Half Dome is Yosemite’s most iconic attraction in all of Yosemite Valley, but it is also the most sought after which is why this is the only day hike in the park that requires a permit. A Half Dome hike is one that should only be attempted when the cables are up and the weather permits.
Do not hike Half Dome unprepared. Despite the popularity of this hike, it is not suitable for novice or unfit hikers. Understand your limits, take the recommended amount of water, and plan appropriately. Several Half Dome hikers are rescued each year due to unpreparedness. The most common first aid response issues are related to dehydration, so please carry plenty of water. For the Half Dome hike, you should have at least four to five liters of water on hand per person. It is also a good idea to take a filtration water bottle or iodine tablets in case you need to replenish your water along the trail.
Permits to hike to the top of Half Dome are required seven days per week and reservations will be distributed via a lottery system. If your bid for a permit is successful, you will be notified in early April. A maximum of 300 hikers will be allowed on the Half Dome cables per day. There are a limited of first-come, first-served permits available daily.
Reservations for the permits can be made online at www.recreation.gov or by calling (877) 444-6777.
To learn more about the Half Dome hike please visit www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/halfdome.htm
Yosemite National Park announces that the 2019 preseason lottery for Half Dome permits will be delayed this year due to a transition to a new contracted provider. The preseason lottery typically opens on March 1. For the latest information on the status of the Half Dome preseason lottery, please visit https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/hdpermits.htm. No date is yet determined on when the preseason lottery will open.
All hikers are required to have permits to ascend the subdome steps and the Half Dome cables seven days a week when the cables are up. Park Rangers install the Half Dome cables each spring and take them down each fall, based on weather and trail conditions. The cables are typically up from late May to early October.
All day use hiking permits are distributed by lottery via Recreation.gov, with the preseason lottery in the spring and daily lotteries during the hiking season. During the preseason lottery, 225 permits are available for each day that the cables are up. To include Half Dome as part of an overnight wilderness trip please visit https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/hdwildpermits.htm.
All visitors planning to apply for permits to climb the Half Dome cables are strongly encouraged to thoroughly read all information posted on Yosemite National Park’s Half Dome page and the “Cables on Half Dome” page managed by Recreation.gov, https://www.recreation.gov/permits/234652, as there have been some new changes to the application process. The most accurate information will be posted on both the Yosemite National Park webpage and on Recreation.gov.
Looking for Half Dome trail maps to prep you for your hike?
Official NPS trail head map
Topographic maps by sector of Yosemite National Park