RISING 5,000 FEET ABOVE THE YOSEMITE VALLEY
HIKING HALF DOME
The Half Dome Cable Hike will take hikers about 10 – 12 hours to complete, there and back, depending on skill level and weather. Undertakers of this trail will be rewarded with views of Vernal Fall, Nevada Fall, Liberty Cap, and of course, Half Dome. Once you reach the subdome and summit, you will be blown away by the magnitude and panoramic views of both the Yosemite Valley and the High Sierra.
Half Dome Permits & Lottery Information
Half Dome’s cables are an exciting challenge for many but keep in mind, they are arduous. Every year, rangers are called to assist hundreds of people on the Half Dome Trail Hike and the cables on Half Dome. The hike itself is about 14-16 miles round-trip and hikers should prepare for an elevation gain of about 4,800 feet. This hike is breathtakingly beautiful, and it will take about 12 hours to complete, so make sure you are in the proper shape to take it on.
Half Dome permits for day hikers and backpackers are required seven days/per week while the cables are up. The cables are normally placed on to the Half Dome Trail Memorial Day weekend in late May and taken down after Columbus Day in early October.
The preseason lottery for Half Dome is typically from March 1 – March 31 each year. There are about 225 permits available for day hikers and another 75 permits for backpackers. Applicants for preseason Half Dome permits will learn of their win or loss typically in mid-April, and lottery winners must remember to confirm their Half Dome lottery permits, or they risk losing their permit.
Any Half Dome permits that are left from the preseason lottery be distributed back during the daily lottery where about 50 permits are allotted per day. The application for the daily lottery is two days before the hiking day from midnight to 4 pm Pacific time. (So, if you want to hike on a Saturday, you would apply on Thursday before 4 pm.) You’ll be notified about your success in the lottery late on Thursday evening.
For the latest information on the Half Dome preseason lottery, please visit Nps.gov.
Half Dome Cables: Tips
Yosemite’s Half Dome cables are an incredible and exciting part of the Half Dome Hike and we encourage those that are looking for a challenge to take it on, it’s awe-inspiring! To get to the summit and back safely, we have a few Half Dome cable tips for your journey. We know you know the basics: always carry extra water, a compass, and a topography map. The trail is well-marked, but you can never be too prepared! And of course, check sunrise and sunset times.
Here are a few more:
- Wear high-grip footwear and gloves.
- Clip yourself to the cables as you go for added support and safety.
- If you plan on hiking during the day, we recommend you leave before sunrise and agree on non-negotiable turn-around times.
- It’s always safer to hike in groups of two or more.
- Be aware of other climbers. Don’t push one another to speed-up. Take it one step at a time!
- Check the poles of the cables as you put your weight on them.
- Bring flashlights, headlamps or other favorite light sources with a fresh pair of batteries for everyone in your hiking party.
- DO NOT CLIMB CABLES IF THEY ARE WET. Whether the storm is just rolling in or has left and the cables are a bit damp (even if the sun is shining)—wait. From lightning strikes to slips completely off the summit, you do not want to risk it.