Yosemite National Park Reservations Half Dome: 5 Incredible Tips

Yosemite National Park requires reservations for hiking Half Dome, which is a 14-16 mile round-trip hike with an elevation gain of 4,800 feet. The most famous part of the hike is the ascent up the cables, which allows hikers to climb the last 400 feet to the summit without rock climbing equipment.

What are the Yosemite National Park Reservations for Half Dome?

Half Dome permits are required seven days a week when the cables are up, even for backpackers with wilderness permits. The quota for Half Dome permits for backpackers is about 75 permits per day, and the cost is $10 per person, payable at a wilderness center the day of or day before your trip.

For day hikers, a maximum of 300 hikers are allowed each day on the Half Dome Trail beyond the base of the subdome. Permits for Half Dome permits for day hikers do not include any camping, lodging, or overnight accommodations of any kind. Half Dome permit holders and alternates should bring a photo ID and the email confirmation indicating that the permit has been paid.

How to Apply for Yosemite National Park Reservations Half Dome?

Yosemite National Park Reservations Half Dome

To apply for a permit, visit Recreation.gov or call 877/444-6777. The first fee is $10, charged at the time you submit an application, and the second fee is $10 per person, charged only when you receive a permit. The $10 fee is fully refundable if you cancel your permit by 11:59 pm Pacific time the day before your hiking date or if the cables are not up on the date for which your permit is valid.

Wilderness Permits and Half Dome Permits

It’s important to note that Half Dome permits associated with wilderness permits are not valid for day hiking to Half Dome; they are only valid for backpackers. Additionally, if you have a wilderness permit for an itinerary that travels near Half Dome, you’ll need a Half Dome permit, which you can apply for using the lotteries. There are no exceptions.

Yosemite National Park Reservations Half Dome Permit Lotteries

The Half Dome permits are allocated through a lottery system. There are two lotteries:

  1. Preseason Lottery: This lottery opens in March and allocates permits for the entire hiking season (typically from late May to early October). The application period is usually open for two weeks in March.

  2. Daily Lottery: This lottery opens two days before the hiking date and allocates permits for that specific day. The application period is usually open for 24 hours.

To participate in the lotteries, you’ll need to create an account on Recreation.gov and submit your application with the required information, such as the desired hiking date, group size, and contact details. If you’re successful in the lottery, you’ll be charged the $10 per person permit fee and receive your permit.

Tips for Yosemite National Park Reservations Half Dome

Here are some tips to help you with your Yosemite National Park Reservations Half Dome:

  1. Plan Ahead: The Half Dome permits are in high demand, so it’s essential to plan your trip well in advance and apply for the permits as early as possible.

  2. Consider Alternate Hikes: If you’re unable to secure a Half Dome permit, consider exploring other hikes in Yosemite, such as the Mist Trail, the Panorama Trail, or the Clouds Rest hike.

  3. Check the Weather: The weather can be unpredictable in Yosemite, so be sure to check the forecast and plan accordingly. Stormy or windy conditions may cause the cables to be closed, rendering your permit invalid.

  4. Prepare Physically: The Half Dome hike is strenuous, with a significant elevation gain. Make sure you’re physically prepared for the challenge by training and building up your endurance.

  5. Bring the Necessary Gear: Ensure you have the proper gear, such as sturdy hiking boots, layers of clothing, plenty of water, and snacks to fuel your hike.

  6. Follow the Rules: Respect the park’s regulations and guidelines, such as staying on the designated trails, not littering, and not disturbing the wildlife.

By following these tips and understanding the Yosemite National Park Reservations Half Dome process, you’ll be well on your way to an unforgettable and safe hiking experience in one of the most iconic national parks in the United States.


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