Yosemite Hiking tips: The Half Dome hike

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(see video below for more information)

The Half Dome hike in Yosemite National Park

This hike is not for the faint of heart. The hike will take all day and it is  important that you start early in the morning. This hike will take every ounce of energy you may have.

I suggest that you test your hiking skills first.  Make a couple of  moderate hikes to make sure you are feeling strong enough to make it all the way. One good practice hike would be to start on the mist trail and go up to Vernal falls and then Nevada Falls.  This is the same trail you will take when you do go all the way to Half Dome.

Getting ready for Half Dome

The Vernal falls and Nevada falls trail is a steep hike and you are always climbing in altitude.  This hike makes for a nice day hike and it will tell you if your are ready for Half Dome.

If you can make the Vernal falls and Nevada Falls  hike...maybe a couple of times ~  then you might be able to make it all the way to the top of Half Dome.

When you make it to the top of Nevada Falls, you are not even half way to Half Dome. So remember…practice make perfect!


Things you will need to make the Half Dome Hike

  • A permit. The learn about how to get a permit see this website http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/hdpermits.htm
  • Shoes. You will need good hiking shoes that offer protection and strength to your feet and ankles. Your shoes will get wet, and you want good quality shoes and socks.
  • Water. You need to pack at least one gallon to make it all the way. dehydration and exhaustion ave very common on the trail.
  • Hat and sun screen. There are times you will be in the shade, but most of the time you are in the direct sun.
  • Comfortable hiking clothes.
  • Snacks and food. You will burn a lot of calories on this hike. Bring dense high quality snacks that will give you plenty of calories.
  • Cell phone. Yes believe it or not, there are places where you will get service, and you may need to call for help if you get injured.
  • Travel with a buddy. Two are better than one.
  • Gloves. Bring gloves to cover your hands when you use the cable. The cable is steel and has lots of “steel splinters”.  You need gloves...don't forget them!
  • Carabiner to connect to the cable.   As a safety precaution you can clip to the cable as you go up and down the cable.
  • Flashlight. The hike may take longer than you planned and you might end up on the trail in the dark at night.
  • Camera. You will want to take A LOT of pictures!

Facts about the hike:

  • The hike takes all day. If this is your first time on the hike plan on 10-12 hours.
  • The Half Dome hike is 14 miles round trip
  • You will climb nearly 5,000 feet in elevation
  • Watch for weather. Do not take a chance if it is cloudy or if lightning is possible

Is it worth it?

In a word. Yes.  Truly an amazing and wonderful experience. But only if you are physically and mentally  prepared to meet the challenge.

You will see beauty beyond description

It truly is an experience of a life time. 


The feeling of accomplishment is very real and you will be very satisfied.

Yosemite really is one of the most beautiful places on the earth!

"But no temple made with hands can compare with Yosemite.  Every rock in its walls seems to glow with life...as if into this one mountain mansion Nature had gathered her choicest treasures..."  John Muir


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