hiker standing in front of waterfallSpectacular Sierra Nevadas viewHikers descending half domeStone mountain and skyView from above waterfallHikers on smooth rock hillHiker standing on top of perfectly vertical cliffDistant water a mid rock mountains

Half Dome Trek

Yosemite Valley, CA
4.9 (31 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • Summit Half Dome
  • Waterfalls
  • Breathtaking Views
  • Climb the "Cables"
  • 2 nights in Yosemite's Backcountry
  • Amazing Natural & Cultural History


Come experience Yosemite’s most iconic hike with this classic Yosemite backpacking trip. The hike to the summit of 8,842 feet Half Dome is one of the most popular hikes in the park and a life-long goal for many! The summit, itself, is just one of the many highlights of this trip: Vernal Fall, Nevada Fall, the Silver Apron, Emerald Pool, Panorama Cliffs, Liberty Cap, Tenaya Canyon, and the sub-dome are just some of the other incredible sights along the way!

The three day itinerary, with two nights spent camping in Little Yosemite Valley, allows us to really soak up all the magic that Yosemite National Park has to offer. We’ll stop and relax in the cool misty air next to roaring waterfalls and cascades, and cool-off and swim in the more placid pools of the Merced. We’ll set up a basecamp in Little Yosemite Valley where we’ll stay for two nights as we attempt the summit of Half Dome high above us. At night we’ll kick back and soak up the beauty next to a warm campfire and those endless High Sierra stars! The hike up Half Dome itself – on day 2 – is an exciting and highly gratifying experience. The hike will enliven you, the “cables” section will thrill you, and the views from the top are sure to inspire you! Join us for an unforgettable Yosemite hiking adventure!


We enter the permit lottery for this trip 5 months prior to the trip start date. To create the best experience for our guests, we also apply for excellent alternate itineraries. If we initially secure only an alternate itinerary, you can accept it, transfer to another trip or request a full refund. However,  we recommend accepting alternate itineraries and remaining on the trip, as there is a second (and more promising) opportunity to secure the primary permit approximately 1 week before the start date. We will update you and notify you of your options throughout this process. In the case that we are unable to secure the primary permit the week before, we will still run the trip with the backup itinerary (which is a highly rated, world class trip). In this case regular cancellation policies will apply.

Read more …
From USD
$1620 Per Person
Trip Type: Guided Backpacking Trip
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 1-10 Guests
Trip Length: 4 Days
Distance: 16MI / 25KM


Scale of 1-5. 1 is least difficult; 5 is most difficult

This trip is along well maintained trails. Some concerns include loose dirt, large stepping stones and tree roots. There are 3,000ft vertical drops on the top of Vernal and Nevada falls. These are protected by railings and can be avoided if guests are afraid of heights.Half Dome cables are extremely dangerous if not climbed properly. There is at least 1,000 ft of exposure on both sides. Only protection is the steel cable system. Guides will demonstrate how to safely go up/down the cable system.Granite is slippery when wet, Half Dome cables WILL NOT be attempted if there is any moisture, rain or a forecast of rain.

Hiking Distances:

5-8 mi

Backpack Weight:

35-45 lbs


Lightly Rugged

Max Daily Elev. ↑↓:

2845 ft

Heights Exposure:


Please Note: Terrain, Elevation Gain and Heights Exposure ratings reflect the section or day of the trip with the maximum difficulty of each. Much of the trip is at easier levels. See the trip itinerary for more detailed information. Backpack Weight ratings are estimates that account for Wildland-provided gear, guest clothing, personal items and a share of group food. By packing light it’s often possible to stay on the lower end of the weight range. Pack weights also decrease during the trip.


  • Hiking uphill or downhill with a 35-45 lb backpack for 6-8 hours
  • Maintaining balance and footing on rugged terrain
  • Ascending “the cables” on Half Dome, which requires use of hands while climbing up smooth slabs with tremendous exposure. Guides provide guidance on how to ascend the cables.
* For an official and complete list of physical requirements, please see our Essential Eligibility Criteria.


Private Trips

Travel in perfect company by booking a private trip exclusively for your group!

Our sliding scale for private trips is based on the final number of guests in your group. Rates are per person and do not include sales tax, national park fees or guide gratuity. The final rate is based on the actual number of guests on the trip and may adjust based on cancellations or additions.

Please Note: you can also enjoy a private trip at our normal scheduled rates by filling any empty tour to capacity. However, if group members drop from the tour those spots will automatically become available on our website for instant booking. By purchasing a private trip at the rates listed below, your trip will remain exclusive to your group regardless of cancellations. 

Private Rates FOr This Trip

  • 2 People: Rate x 2.5
  • 3 People: Rate x 1.75
  • 4 People: Rate x 1.25
  • 5+ People: Rate x 1.15

*all rates are per person

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Day 1

This Yosemite hike begins with rendezvous in Yosemite Valley in the parking lot of Curry Village near the bear boxes at shuttle stop 14 at 6PM on Day 1. You will easily spot your guide waiting for you in a Wildland Trekking hat. We’ll conduct an orientation meeting, after which we’ll get settled in the Backpackers Camp a stone’s throw away from majestic Tenaya Creek and under the spectacular domes and cliffs of Yosemite Valley. We’ll enjoy dinner either at Curry Village or in camp.

Colorful stream and mountain view

Day 2

  • Hiking Mileage: 4.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2650 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 500 ft

Our trek begins at the Happy Isles trailhead along the banks of the cascading Merced River in the east end of Yosemite Valley at 4000 feet. We quickly gain elevation as our route follows the world-renowned Mist Trail. Rain gear may be a good idea as the trail climbs a series of stair steps directly in the path of the thunderous spray of Vernal Fall. Topping out above the falls, a quick break allows us to dry off and warm up before we reach the awe-inspiring Emerald Pool and Silver Apron. Wisely, we ignore the siren’s call of the waters and stay on the trail…every year hikers are injured or even killed by venturing into these dangerous cataracts. A hot and dry ascent, the last of the day, brings us to the phenomenally scenic lip of Nevada Fall. Here the towering domes of Mount Broderick and the Liberty Cap dominate the northern skyline as the view west encompasses 6222 foot Grizzly Peak, the Panorama Cliffs, and Glacier Point across the canyon. Following a leisurely lunch, we continue to our campsite along the Merced River in Little Yosemite Valley. After setting up camp, we can relax by swimming at “the beach” or just hanging around camp enjoying the pine-scented air. Tonight, after a sumptuous dinner, we can swap yarns around the communal campfire as we prepare for tomorrow’s ascent of Yosemite’s most iconic Peak – Half Dome!

Spectacular view of Sierra Nevada mountains

Day 3

  • Hiking Mileage: 7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2845 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 2845 feet

We will get an alpine start to the morning to avoid possible afternoon thunderstorms on today’s climb to the summit of Half Dome. After coffee and a quick breakfast, we will take only day packs and ascend a series of mild switchbacks two and a half miles and 1800 feet up to the base of the sub-dome. Here we begin the real climbing as the trail ascends 500 feet in half a mile on steep stair steps carved into the sheer granite slope. A short level respite provides an opportunity to rest and prepare for the crux of the hike: the final 400 foot vertical ascent along the legendary cables. At the summit, after a well-deserved celebration, we enjoy lunch, gazing out over all of Yosemite Valley below and much of the high country beyond. An astounding portion of Yosemite can be seen from this vantage: from Buena Vista Crest to the south, to the Sawtooth Ridge along the northern border, all the way to Mts. McClure and Lyell in the southeast corner and beyond, to the coastal ranges over 120 miles to the west. After lunch, we will return to our camp in Little Yosemite Valley and celebrate our accomplishment with a victory dinner served up hot by your guide!

Please Note: the ascent of Half Dome involves climbing a section called “the cables,” which is a very steep and exposed part of our hike. The National Park Service has installed a pair of cables to use as handrails, but it is still a physically and psychologically demanding climb. Some of the objective hazards also include mishaps by other hikers, such as people slipping or dropping items. This climb isn’t required to do the trip, but it is required to reach the top of Half Dome.

Rocky cliff over vista

Day 4

  • Hiking Mileage: 5.2 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 740 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 2870 feet

Our return to Happy Isles and Yosemite Valley will follow the John Muir Trail, a parallel trail to the Mist Trail. This more relaxing route offers additional outstanding views of the falls, Liberty Cap, Mount Broderick and the backside of Half Dome, as it switchbacks down through a Douglas fir forest below the north face of the Panorama Cliffs. Reaching the trail’s end at Happy Isles, we can celebrate our accomplishment with a foot soak in the cold waters of the Merced or an ice cream cone at the snack shack!

Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes. Normal terms and conditions apply to trips with itinerary changes.

Trip Dates & Booking


Click on a date to register. You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.

Available to Book


This trip is available and bookable online! Click on the date to register now or contact us online to book through our award-winning customer service team!

Going Fast


This trip has 1 or 2 spots remaining and is bookable online! Click on the date to book now or contact us online to book through customer service.

Request a Reservation


This trip is exclusively booked through customer service due to logistics with lodging, permits, staffing, availability, or something else. Please contact us online or call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to request a reservation.

* We apply for this trip’s permit 5 months in advance. For trip dates fewer than 5 months away, we have already been issued a permit, either for the primary itinerary or an excellent backup itinerary. If a backup was secured, we will apply again for the primary itinerary 1 week prior. Please email  us or call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to learn the permit status of each trip date!

Don't see your dates? Call us! We may be able to add new trip dates.

800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Details

Trip Details

What's Included

  • Top-of-the-line tent, backcountry sleeping pad and multi-day backpack
  • High quality, synthetic sleeping bag (professionally laundered after every use) – or bring your own.
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from dinner on Day 1 through lunch on the last day
  • Trained hiking guide(s) with years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. See Guide Bios.
  • National park backcountry camping permits
  • Bear cannisters for food storage
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and communication device (InReach Explorer or satellite phone)
  • Mandatory 5% national park fee that passes through directly to Yosemite

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear and footwear (see recommendations)
  • National park entrance fee
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about what to pack.

Meals: What to Expect

All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.

Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:

  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty or Big Agnes tents
  • Sierra Designs, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware synthetic-fill sleeping bags (or bring your own)
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Bear cannisters
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Emergency communication device(s)

Guest Packing List

When you register for this tour you’ll receive access to a printable, downloadable trip information packet with a detailed packing list specific to this trip (click here to see it now.) All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, a recommended clothing system, a headlamp or flashlight, a hydration system (water bottles and/or bladder) and other items specific to each trip.

Additionally, some guests choose to bring their own sleeping bag. We supply high quality, synthetic fill bags that are professionally laundered after every trip. Synthetic fill is non-allergenic, insulates when damp and stands up well to repeated washings, but is heavier and bulkier than down. If you’re able to bring your own down sleeping bag, there are multiple benefits. If not, we’ve got you covered!

Trip Logistics

Trip Logistics

How Do I Register?

Reserve your spot today! In the Trip Dates & Booking section of this page, the green and red dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you’re ready to register we’ll email you a link to a registration profile. You’ll have 72 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit.

Feel free to call us for more info – we’re here 7 days a week!

Where Do We Meet?

This trip meets in Yosemite Valley in the parking lot of Curry Village near the bear boxes at shuttle stop 14 at 6PM on Day 1. Your guide will contact you approximately 10 days before your trip to coordinate this rendezvous and answer any last minute questions you have. Your guide will be waiting for you in a Wildland Trekking hat and shirt. This trip includes dinner and camping that night at the backpackers camp. Personal vehicles can remain parked at Curry Village during your trip.

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about flights, shuttles, recommended lodging and more.

Travel to Yosemite Valley


This trip meets in Yosemite Valley in the parking lot of Curry Village near the bear boxes at shuttle stop 14 at 6PM on Day 1. Your guide will contact you approximately 10 days before your trip to coordinate this rendezvous and answer any last minute questions you have. Your guide will be waiting for you in a Wildland Trekking hat and shirt. This trip includes dinner and camping that night at the backpackers camp. Personal vehicles can remain parked at Curry Village during your trip.

Many Wildland guests rent vehicles or drive their own to Yosemite Valley. However, you can also travel to and from Yosemite National Park using train and bus options from much of California:

From FresnoYosemite Area Rapid Transit (YARTS) is offering 1 bus ride each direction from Fresno to Yosemite Valley. To reach the Yosemite Valley Backpackers Camp get off at Curry Village and either walk or take a national park shuttle to North Pines Campground. Walk to the back of the campground and across the footbridge to the camp.

From Other California Cities: by rail on the Amtrak San Joaquin Train to the city of Merced (serviced by most large cities in California) or by Amtrak “Thruway” Bus Service from Merced to Yosemite Valley. To book your trip, use Amtrak’s Online Reservation Service to book round-trip Amtrak travel to “YOS” (Yosemite Valley).

Start/End Times

Your guide will inform you of the first day’s rendezvous time at the orientation meeting. Generally, you can expect it to be between 5 and 8 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. We will be out of the backcountry normally before 5 PM (this time is not guaranteed, as a variety of circumstances can influence our exact return time) on the final day.

Safety Precautions

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT’s, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. Guides adhere to standardized risk management protocols in case of any potential or actual incident, and all tours carry an emergency communication device and comprehensive first-aid kit. Additionally we have a “24/7” system through which guides or guests can reach Wildland support personnel at any time.

If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.

Essential Eligibility Criteria

Essential Eligibility Criteria (“EEC”) have been specifically identified to help you understand the skills and abilities necessary to participate on each Wildland trip, and they apply uniformly to all potential trip participants, irrespective of the presence or absence of any disability.

Once you identify a trip in which you may be interested, please carefully review the EEC and itinerary details. If after reviewing the EEC that apply to your desired trip, you determine you need an accommodation in order to meet the EEC, please contact us prior to registering to discuss your requested accommodation.

The EEC exist for your own safety and the safety and enjoyment of all participants. If you are unable to meet the EEC for the trip, with or without an accommodation, you are not eligible for that trip. If you register and arrive for a trip for which you do not meet the EEC, you will be disqualified from participation on the trip and will be dismissed or evacuated from the trip without a refund.

Guide Shifts

The guide(s) for this trip work daily shifts from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. During off hours (9 p.m. to 5 a.m.) the guides’ time is their own, and they are free to sleep, rest, take personal time, postpone guest requests until the next morning, and any other legal, reasonable activity people engage in when not working. We ask all guests to respect the guides’ off-duty hours by not waking or asking anything of them unless there is a true emergency. Also, state law requires that employees receive an uninterrupted 10 minute break every four working hours, so guides are required to take four 10 minute breaks between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Age Restrictions

Age restrictions on this trip are as follows:

  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 10 and older to join private tours, with final approval on a case by case basis
  • specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis

Weather in the Sierras

Being a high mountain environment, the Sierra Nevada Mountains are prone to sudden temperature and weather shifts. This is an exciting aspect of being in the mountains. On trips in June, snow is a possibility, and the rest of the summer rain is always a possibility on your trip. To be fully prepared, please follow the recommended clothing list closely (this list comes as part of your trip packet when you register). See below for average summer temperatures:

Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)





Sleeping on backpacking trips is in premier 1-person, 2-person or 4-person backcountry tents. Solo travelers, and anyone else who requests it, are issued single tents. Top-of-the-line self-inflating sleeping pads and synthetic-fill sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided.



Meals from breakfast Day 1 through lunch the last day are fully included and prepared by your guide. We never use dehydrated backpacking meals, instead serving freshly prepared, delicious backcountry cuisine made with a variety of common and specialty ingredients that travel well in the wilderness.

yosemite campsite with hikers


yosemite campsite with hikers

Of course campsites vary tremendously by destination, trip and even by the individual day of a trip. However, you can expect to camp in beautiful areas that put you right in the action to make the most of your backpacking adventure. We carefully design our itineraries with campsites in mind.

Trip Reviews

Trip Reviews

  • Average Customer Ratings:

  • 4.9 (31 reviews)
Anne D.

Best Trip Ever!

3 years ago

This half dome trip was the most amazing trip I have ever taken. Our guide JP was amazing and the meals were something to look forward too each day. I trained every day for 3 months for this trip and I was surprised at how I had to push my limits to reach half dome. It all becomes worth it when you reach those gables and disappear over the top. The views are amazing. Going back down is not easier then going up, again I was pushing my body, but every step gets you closer to your goal. This was an amazing trip that I will never forget. I enjoy pushing my body limitations to reach physical goals and this trip did that in many ways. It was a great experience and I would book with Wildland Trekking again.

Jordan P.

Loved This Trip!

3 years ago

5 STARS! We loved the 3 day, 3 night backpacking trip, and our guide JP was so knowledgeable! This was our first backpacking trip, and we trusted Wildland to show us the ropes. This will certainly not be our last adventure with this awesome company!

John M

Professional, Conscientious Guide

3 years ago

Carm was an awesome guide getting us up to Half Dome early with french toast on top for breakfast before the summer heat hit!

See All Guest Reviews!

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