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  • Address: Half Dome
  • Admission: Application Fee: $4.50 online, $6.50 by phone. Additional fee: $8
Perhaps one of the most famous hikes in Yosemite National Park, Half Dome was, like El Capitan, once considered impossible to climb. Now, thousands of park visitors reach the summit, but it still remains a challenge that requires knowledge and preparation. Half Dome rises 5,000 feet (1,524 meters) above the valley floor and 8,800 feet (2,682 meters) above sea level.

The hike, which takes between 10 and 12 hours round-trip, is strenuous, but the vistas are more than worth it. Hikers are treated to views of Vernal and Nevada Falls, Liberty Cap and panoramic expanses of Yosemite Valley and the High Sierra. In order to get those views, though, you’ll have to ascend the cables. These two metal cables will allow you to climb the last 400 feet to the summit without rock climbing equipment; if the views don’t take your breath away, the cable ascent just might.

Practical Info

Permits to hike to the top of Half Dome are required seven days per week when the cables are up; the cables usually go up the Friday before Memorial Day (the last Monday in May) and come down the day after Columbus Day (the second Monday in October). A maximum of 300 hikers are allowed each day on the Half Dome Trail beyond the base of the subdome and permits are distributed by lottery. Permits cost two separate fees: the first fee is charged per application ($4.50 online or $6.50 by phone); the second fee is $8 per person and is charged when you receive a permit.

Most people begin the hike from Happy Isles (shuttle stop #16), about a half-mile from the trailhead parking lot.

Tours & Tickets

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Yosemite Hiking Excursion

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 3 Reviews

Outdoor enthusiasts of every fitness and experience level can enjoy this amazing Yosemite hiking excursion. Choose from a beginner, intermediate, moderate, ...  Read more

Location: Yosemite, California
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Guided Half Dome Hike

For hiking enthusiasts, the trek to Yosemite’s Half Dome is a rite of passage — one that many hikers prepare for with training. Take the strenuous challenge on ...  Read more

Location: Yosemite, California
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Yosemite National Park Day Trip from San Francisco

4.5 star rating: Recommended 140 Reviews

Get out of town! Exchange the big-city charms of San Francisco for the fresh air and natural beauty of Yosemite, California's most famous national park. ...  Read more

Location: San Francisco, California
Duration: 13 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

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2-Day Yosemite National Park Tour from San Francisco

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 87 Reviews

Escape to the mountains for two full days of hiking, sightseeing and exploring in the amazing natural wilderness of Yosemite National Park. On this overnight ...  Read more

Location: San Francisco, California
Duration: 2-days / 1-night

From USD $404.00

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