Half Dome and Clouds Rest Backpack


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Matt Cairns
Matt Cairns

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Summit two Yosemite icons, Half Dome (8,845') & Clouds Rest (9,926')
Camp at the famous Little Yosemite Valley
Hike on the John Muir Trail and Mist Trail

This trip will take you to the summit of two of the most spectacular and famous summits in Yosemite National Park. On our trek we will explore the Tuolumne backcountry, backpack over the summit of Clouds Rest (9,926′), climb to the summit of Half Dome (8,845′), travel down a section of the John Muir Trail and see the breathtaking Vernal and Nevada waterfalls all in a long weekend format!


September 10 - 14, 2024Join Waitlist


2024: $2095 per person

Prices based on shared room occupancy
Single Room Supplement:
Requested $185, Forced $90

Need specific dates or your own itinerary?
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Trip Itinerary

Half Dome and Clouds Rest Backpack - Day 1 - Meet your guide in Yosemite National Park Half Dome and Clouds Rest Backpack - Day 1 - Meet your guide in Yosemite National Park

Check in to Curry Village within spectacular Yosemite Valley anytime after 5pm. Meet your guide and group at 6pm on the porch of the Mountain Shop in Curry Village for a short meet-and-greet and trip orientation. Dinner tonight is on your own at one several local restaurants.

After breakfast on your own, you will meet your guide in front of the Curry Village Mountain Shop at 7:30am. We’ll leave our cars here in the parking lot and take a shuttle to the Sunrise Trailhead at Tenaya Lake (8,140’). The shuttle takes about an hour. We’ll then hike about 4 miles to the Sunrise Lakes area for our first night’s camp.

4 miles, Elevation: +1526’/ -256′

Half Dome and Clouds Rest Backpack - Day 3 - Reach the top of Clouds Rest Half Dome and Clouds Rest Backpack - Day 3 - Reach the top of Clouds Rest

Today we’ll start our day with a hearty breakfast before grabbing our packs and hitting the trail. We’ll hike up and over Cloud’s Rest (9,926’). From the summit you will have incredible views of Half Dome, the Tuolumne High Country and deep down into Tenaya Canyon below. After enjoying lunch on the summit, we will continue another 3.5 downhill miles to our camp on Sunrise Creek (7,210’).

7.5 miles, Elevation: +1402′ /-3671’

Half Dome and Clouds Rest Backpack - Day 4 - Summit Half Dome Half Dome and Clouds Rest Backpack - Day 4 - Summit Half Dome

Beginning early in the morning, we’ll eat breakfast and start our hike to the summit of Half Dome (8,845’). Half Dome is a side-trip from the main trail and we’ll stash our backpacks and hike up with just the necessities. After a few miles of gaining elevation within the fir forests, we break above treeline for our first look at the famous Cables Route. After a bit more hiking we’ll make the quick and straightforward climb up the final stretch to Half Dome’s summit. Spectacular views await of the Sierra high country and down into Yosemite Valley far below. After taking in the beauty of Half Dome’s summit, we’ll come back down to our packs, grab a quick lunch and hike to our final campsite in Little

6.1 miles, Elevation: +2042′ /-3107′

4-day itinerary: After hiking to the summit of Half Dome in the early morning (as described above in the 5-day itinerary, we’ll come back down to our packs, grab a quick lunch and hike all the way to Yosemite Valley (4,035’). We will have breathtaking views of Nevada and Vernal Falls and the Merced River along the way. We will end our trip back at Curry Village by 3-5pm (12 miles).
*length of itinerary is determined by permit availability

Today, we’ll enjoy our last morning together and start our hike down to Yosemite Valley (4,035’). We will have breathtaking views of Nevada and Vernal Falls and the Merced River along the way. We’ll end our trip back at Curry Village by lunchtime.

3.5 miles, Elevation: +574’/ -2660′

What's Included


  • 1st night’s lodging at Curry Village in Yosemite National Park
  • 3-4 nights of wilderness tent camping (permits included)

  • All group gear including stoves, cookware, water filters, group first aid kit, etc.
  • Personal backpacking gear provided by request: backpacks, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, trekking poles, and tents

  • Day 2 shuttle to starting trailhead from Yosemite Valley

  • Starting with lunch on Day 2 and ending with lunch on Day 5
  • Backcountry gourmet meals including trail snacks
  • Hot tea or coffee served each morning

A Few More Notes

Travel & Logistics

Your trip begins and ends at Curry Village in Yosemite Valley, CA. Plan to arrive before 6pm so you can meet your guides and group for your trip orientation. We recommend driving to Curry Village, although public transportation is also an option (see notes about public transportation below). We’ll return to Yosemite Valley by 1pm on the last day of your trip.

Training & Preparation

This trip is rated as moderate and is designed to be a beginner-friendly backpacking trip. You will be carrying a 30-35 lb backpack for 3 days of the trip and should plan to come well prepared. While you will be able to leave your full backpack at camp when you hike to the summit of Half Dome and Clouds Rest, it is still a strenuous trail and a physically demanding day.

In training, you’ll want to focus on leg strengthening using a combination of gym workouts, stair climbing, and hiking in your local area with a fully weighted pack. We recommend hiking in the boots you plan to wear and to feel comfortable with your personal clothing and gear.


With the Half Dome permitting regulations in place since 2013, coupled with a huge increase in demand for fewer permits, itineraries may be subject to slight changes and different trailheads may be used to make sure we can climb Half Dome. The permit we receive dictates whether the trip will be 4 days or 5 days. All departures including Half Dome are not guaranteed until 24 weeks in advance when the permits become available to reserve. We will let you know immediately of any updates.

Public transportation to Yosemite

If you prefer not to drive to Yosemite Valley, public transportation is available for this trip. Yosemite Area Regional Transportation (YARTS) is the sole provider for the surrounding Yosemite area. We recommend reserving a ticket online ahead of time. Please make sure that you choose a time from your location that will have you arriving in Curry Village, Yosemite Valley by the latest 6 pm for your trip orientation (we recommend arriving around 4 pm to check in to your tent cabin first). Note that at the end of your trip, you will be back to Curry Village and done with lunch around 1 pm, so plan departure times accordingly.

What's not included
  • Personal clothing & footwear
  • Dinner on the first night in Yosemite Valley
  • Recommended 10%-20% gratuity for guides
  • Trip Insurance (strongly recommended)
  • Airfare
  • Voluntary or involuntary evacuations

Trip Reviews

Joan S, 2018

I just got back from my trip to Cloud's Rest and Half Dome. It was amazing and much more than I anticipated. I wanted to let you both know that Ashley was a fantastic guide!! As I mentioned to her last night when we parted, she was a great leader, she somehow knew exactly when one of us needed her words of encouragement and was also a fantastic cook! She also fostered a great sense of teamwork with the group (that was great as well). This was my first real backpacking trip and she helped make it a trip of a lifetime and the first of many more to come. In talking with the other participants of the trip, we all felt the same about her. I'm already thinking about the Yosemite Falls/Snow Creek trip next June. Thanks again for everything. I will definitely recommend SYMG to my friends and family.

Miranda R, 2015

Ryan was an absolute STAR on the trip and took everything in his stride. He was calm and professional at all times (and sings wonderfully too!). I would not have made it up Half Dome without his positive reinforcement.

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Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides
Southern Yosemite
Mountain Guides
(800) 231-4575 (800) 231-4575 Local/International
+1 (559) 642-2817
Yosemite National Park, CA

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