Yosemite National Park in central California is a glacier carved wonderland – nothing less than 1,200 square miles of mountainous scenery. The best way to experience a place like this is by taking a hike.

Half Dome – With a precious permit in hand, my friend and I took off to hike the Half Dome Trail, and I think it’s fair to say that we were super excited. The 14 mile round trip (via Mist Trail) is a strenuous day hike, so we started our journey early in the morning. 14 miles may not sound like much, but with an elevation gain of 4,800 feet, it’s certainly not a walk in the park. We used 11 awesome hours on the trail. This hike won’t give you much solitude, and we knew that. But it doesn’t make it less adventurous. Half Dome, the iconic symbol of Yosemite, just begs to be climbed. Simply, hike and climb it because it’s there. At Half Dome, steel cables are bolted into the granite so you’re able to climb the final 400 vertical feet. The top of Half Dome is a level open granite surface with plenty of space for everyone. My climb up went smooth, but on my way down, I got stuck. So many people were going up and down at the same time. I didn’t care though. With sunny skies, stunning views and no storms on the horizon, I really felt it was the best place ever to get stuck. Actually, the cables were not that much of a challenge. I consider Subdome to be the toughest part. At that point, I’ve never felt my legs so worn out. This part of the trail is a killer.

  • Highlights. Gorgeous waterfalls (Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall), the killer-section at Subdome, and the steel cables at Half Dome. For me also the rattlesnake that I met near the trailhead.
  • Use gloves. Half Dome’s steel cables and bare hands is not a good match. Gloves can be really helpful.
  • Bring your best backpack. You’ll be hiking for many hours, so don’t let a lousy backpack ruin your day.
  • Check the forecast. You don’t want to get caught in an electrical storm halfway up the steel cables. Keep an eye on the weather.
  • Get the permit. Cross your fingers. You need to go through an application process as permits are distributed by lottery.

Half Dome Hike

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