Half Dome Hike is a 10-12 hours (24.1 km or 15 miles) round trip hike with an elevation gain of 5160 feet or 1573 meters. The maximum altitude that you can reach in this hike is 8800 feet or 2682 meters. This trail is filled with awe-inspiring and magnificently gushing waterfalls, and the ultimate beauty of the nature. This is a hard difficulty hike in Yosemite Valley, California. This is a loop trail which starts and ends at Happy Isles.
The Half Dome Hike route is a tough journey of multiple steep patches till the top. This can be termed as high difficulty in terms of the inclination of the route.This trail can turn out to be fun for getting a cardio workout done.There is little to no shade throughout the route and thus the sun exposure is extreme.. This trail has dry and sunny weather conditions. If you want to witness the best weather conditions, visit this place between June to September.This trail involves crossing of river stream which will be a refreshing experience for you!
The trail is well maintained by the authorities. In any case, always make sure you have proper sandals and shoes in order to avoid injuries and provide comfort to your feet. The visibility is straight forward and, in any case, you should always follow the directions properly. It goes without saying but it’s always a good practice to keep an online or offline map (with a compass) handy during all your hikes. This trail is extremely popular and thus attracts a high amount of traffic. There are some restrictions for number people allowed on a given day.
Dogs are not allowed on this trail.
Since the difficulty of this hike is high, this hike is not suitable for kids.
The park opens at 7:00 AM. The entry fees for this is $20 which can either be paid at the entry or online at https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/passes.htm. Parking facilities are available at an additional cost of $35. Camping is not permitted along the trail. You can communicate with the park authorities for the details on this number: 209/372-0826.
Hiking on this route remains closed from October to May. So if you are planning to visit the Half Dome Hike during these months, confirm with the local authorities before planning your travels.
Entering Emerald pool, Silver Apron, and pools above waterfalls is strictly prohibited.
You can drive your car up until this point. Use GPS to get to this point. If you follow the directions correctly, you can get here easily.
Drinking water is available at a drinking fountain near Vernall Fall Footbridge (1 mile into the trail). In any case, always carry at least 2-3 litres of drinking water with you whenever you’re going on a one-day hike.
Pay attention to the weather conditions and avoid hiking in conditions when there are chances of a thunderstorm. Additionally, there are chances of facing altitude related issues – descend quickly when you face the symptoms and consume plenty of fluids. Sightings of snakes such as Northern Pacific Rattlesnake, Kingsnake (non-venomous), Yellow-bellied racer (non-venomous), Gopher Snake (non-venomous) have been done in this area so keep an eye out for these reptiles. Never try to intimidate the snakes. Wild animals found in this region are Black Bear, Mule Deer, Coyote, Gray Fox, & River Otter. Stay safe and have a word with the local authorities to take precautionary measures for dealing with the wild animals.
As long as you are aware about the route and are carrying either a physical map or a digital map, you can do this hike pretty much on your own without hiring any guide.
There are no specific technical requirements for this hike.
In addition to the usual hiking gear, we recommend you pack a rain jacket, sun protection, and headlamp with extra batteries.
Here is the list of typical hiking gear that you must carry for all the hikes:
- 2-3 Liters of water
- Sun hat or cap
- Good Hiking boots
- Light snacks to munch on during breaks, Trail Mix, Fresh fruits / Dried fruits such as dates, figs / Nuts mix, etc. for eating along on the trail
- Personal medications and a first-aid kit
- Sun goggles
- Wet tissues
- Cameras (optional)