Looming 4,800 feet above Yosemite Valley is the “Crown Jewel” of the Sierra, Half Dome. This granite monolith has captured the imagination of explorers, climbers and artists alike and is the most sought-after summit in Yosemite National Park. However, at over 17 miles round-trip and with thousands of feet in elevation gain and loss, a day-trip to the summit is certainly not a giveaway. For those that complete the journey, the spectacular views of Yosemite Valley and the Yosemite High Country are worth every hard-earned step. SYMG has been leading Half Dome trips for over 20 years and recruiting one of our experienced guides is perhaps the best way to maximize your chance of standing on the summit of Half Dome. **Please email us at email@example.com to join our pre-sign up list. We will post trip dates once we receive the lottery results. Expect dates to be up around mid April.**
With SYMG’s permit:
$375 per person, up to 5 participants
Minimum of 2 paid participants to run the trip, solo hikers are welcome!
With your own Half Dome permit:
$595 for 1-2 people
$95 for each additional participant
**Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to join our pre-sign up list. We will post trip dates once we receive the lottery results. Expect dates to be up by mid April.**
Explore Custom Trip Options
Your guide will meet you on the porch of the Mountain Shop in Curry Village (formerly Half Dome Village) at 6am. Expect a dawn-dusk experience and plan food and clothing accordingly. The overall trip is appx 17 miles and includes 4,745 feet of elevation gain and then loss. Most groups finish the round-trip by 5:00pm, though it could be hours earlier or later depending on the overall pace of the group.
Trail synopsis: The Valley floor sits at 4,100 in elevation and the summit of Half Dome is at 8,845’. The trail begins by following the “Wild and Scenic” Merced River past Vernal and Nevada Falls. There, we’ll encounter 400+ steep granite steps along the Mist Trail section, which can be wet in the early season when the waterfalls are full. Once above the waterfalls, the trail is well-graded and travels upwards through mixed conifer forests. We gain 2,842 feet in just the last 3.1 miles to the summit. The last 900 feet is a very steep climb up many more granite stairs and semi-exposed rock slabs on the east side of Half Dome. Cables assist hikers on the final 400 feet. After a few minutes to enjoy the hard-earned summit, we retrace the entire route, ideally reaching the trailhead by 5:00pm for a celebratory meal and drink.
Your SYMG Guide
SYMG guides are professional, highly experienced, enjoyable people that have spent years perfecting their interpretive and mountain skills in and around Yosemite. They look forward to teaching and guiding you in these spectacular locations as well as getting to know you. Tell your guide your goals and s/he will do their best to meet your needs in a safe and enjoyable manner! Gratuities are accepted and appreciated for a job well done.
The following can be provided upon request:
- Trekking Poles
See A Few More Notes below for more details about what to bring
A Few More Notes
Travel & Logistics
Your trip begins and ends in Yosemite Valley. If you are driving a personal vehicle, plan for extra time to get to your destination and find parking. Traffic can be heavy in Yosemite Valley during the peak months of summer and it is important that you arrive on time in order to catch the Glacier Point shuttle.
For more information, you can reference Yosemite National Park’s webpage here regarding parking and transportation.
Permits are required to summit Half Dome and are obtained via a competitive lottery system that runs during the month of March. We will post the confirmed dates when we receive our permits in mid-April. To have first choice of our awarded permits, we encourage you to sign up for our Pre Half Dome Permit Sign Up List by emailing email@example.com.
What to bring
Plan to bring the following items in a small daypack for your guided hike:
- 3 Liters (at least) of water per person
- Lunch & plenty of hearty snacks for the day
- A warm layer and/or rainshell (it can be windy/chilly on top of Half Dome)
- Gloves for the Cable Route (gardening gloves work great)
- Camera (optional)
You’ll want to wear clothes that are comfortable and preferably moisture wicking (especially for the warm summer months of July-August). Hiking shoes that are comfortable with grippy soles are the best option for footwear. It’s important to check the weather prior to your day to make sure you’re dressing appropriately- check out our favorite weather forecast here: National Weather Service- Yosemite Valley
Training & Preparation
To ensure the most enjoyable and successful experience out on the trail, we recommend a thorough training plan leading up to your day trip, focusing on:
- Endurance, cardio, and aerobic activities
- Core and leg strength (don’t forget those abs and quads)!
- Cycling, running, step-master or stairs are great cross-training
- Include hilly terrain and steep climbs whenever possible
Lisa S, 2015
Sam M, 2014
Larry E, 2013