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Half Dome 2014 Information:

Permits to hike to the top of Half Dome are required seven days per week when the cables are up (as called for in the Half Dome Trail Stewardship Plan in order to protect wilderness character, reduce crowding, protect natural and cultural resources, and improve safety.) A maximum of 300 hikers are allowed (about 225 day hikers and 75 backpackers) each day on the Half Dome Trail beyond the base of the sub-dome.

Applicants for Half Dome permits must specify the name of the group leader and may specify the name of an alternate trip leader. Each person may apply as a group leader or alternate trip leader only once. People applying multiple times as a group leader or alternate trip leader will have all permits canceled. Permits will only be valid if the group leader and/or alternate trip leader specified on the permit is present at the base of the sub-dome (where rangers check permits) with the remainder of the group using the permit. The names of the trip leader and alternate may not be changed once the application is submitted. Permits are not transferable.

Daily Lottery: May 21- October 12
The daily lottery is the only way to apply for any remaining permits once the preseason lottery is complete. Approximately 50 permits will be available each day by lottery during the hiking season. These permits will be available based on the estimated rate of under-use and cancellation of permits (the exact number may change through the summer). The daily lotteries have an application period two days prior to the hiking date with a notification late that night. (So, to hike on Saturday, you would apply on Thursday and receive an email notification of results late on Thursday night. Results will also be available online, or by phone the next morning.)The application period is from midnight to 1 p.m. Pacific Time.

Two separate fees are collected. The first fee, which is charged at the time you submit an application, is $4.50 (internet application). This non-refundable fee, which is per application (not per person), is charged by for the costs of processing your permit application.
The second fee is $8 per person and is charged only when you receive a permit. (This fee also applies to wilderness permit holders.) The $8 fee is fully refundable if you cancel your permit more than two days before the hiking date specified on your permit or if the cables are not up on the date for which permit is valid.
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Rising nearly 5,000 feet above Yosemite Valley and 8,800 feet above sea level, Half Dome is a Yosemite icon and a great challenge to many hikers. Despite an 1865 report declaring it was "perfectly inaccessible, being probably the only one of the prominent points about the Yosemite which never has been, and never will be, trodden by human foot," George Anderson reached the summit in 1875, and in the process created the predecessor for today's cable route.

Today, thousands of people reach the summit. For most, it is an exciting, arduous hike; for a few, it becomes more adventure than they bargained for. Every summer park rangers must assist hundreds of people on the Half Dome trail.

The most famous--or infamous--part of the hike is the ascent up the cables. The two metal cables allow hikers to climb the last 400 feet to the summit without rock climbing equipment. Since 1919, relatively few people have fallen and died on the cables. However, injuries are not uncommon for those acting irresponsibly.

The 14 to 16-mile round-trip hike to Half Dome is not for the out of shape or unprepared visitor. Hikers gain an elevation of 4,800 feet on their way to the top of Half Dome, but the reward is worth the effort. Along the way, you'll encounter outstanding views of Vernal and Nevada Falls, Liberty Cap, Half Dome, and - from the subdome and summit - panoramic views of Yosemite Valley and the High Sierra.

It takes most people 10 to 12 hours to hike to Half Dome and back. If you plan on hiking during the day, it's smart to leave before or at sunrise, with a non-negotiable turn-around time. Check sunrise and sunset times before you embark on your hike, and always bring a flashlight or headlamp with good batteries. Although the trail is well marked, you should be prepared with a good topographic map and compass, with the ability to use them.

Much of the hike to Half Dome is an unpredictable adventure into Wilderness, but preparation is paramount. Use the links in the Know Before You Go section and Information from Associated Websites (on the right-hand side of the page), for tips to help reduce your risk of injury.

Two lotteries will be held this year to distribute Half Dome Day Use Permits. A single preseason lottery application period will occur from March 1 to March 31, 2013, with results announced in early April. This lottery will cover all dates the cables are expected to be up this year. Permits for 225 people per day will be available through this lottery.

An additional daily lottery held throughout the Half Dome hiking season will allow for more spontaneous trip planning. This lottery will have an application period two days in advance of the hiking date with lottery results announced one day in advance. The application period will be from midnight to 1 pm Pacific time with results announced by email or phone the next morning (one day before the permit is valid). Based on previous experience, the National Park Service estimates that permits for approximately 50 people will be available each day. The actual number will be based on the observed rate of cancelations and under-use of permits, allowing the park to manage daily permit numbers such that as close as possible to 300 permits are used each day.

Each person may apply as a trip leader only once per lottery. People applying multiple times as trip leader will have all their lottery applications canceled. Each lottery application allows for up to seven date choices. A permit request may be made for up to 6 people. A trip leader and alternate trip leader must be added at time of purchase. Permits for the Cables on Half Dome are not transferrable. Any resale or auction of permits will make the permit/contract null and void.

Know Before You Go
  • The group leader or alternate listed on the permit must be present (with photo ID) to use the permit. Resale or auction of advance reservations is prohibited. Any resale or auction of permits will make the permit/contract null and void.
  • Read the Safety Information prior to making your reservation.
  • General Rules and Regulations for Cables on Half Dome are located here.
  • FAQs for permits for Cables on Half Dome can be found here.
  • Boots with sufficient ankle support and traction are recommended.
  • Protective gloves for the cables are also recommended.
  • The summit of Half Dome is extremely dangerous in the case of lightning; Check forecast before your hike and summit early in the day to avoid afternoon thunderstorms; If a storm appears nearby, descend immediately with caution and patience on the cables and steps.
  • The summit is typically 15-20*F (8-11*C) cooler than Yosemite Valley and windy conditions are common; Be prepared for cool temperatures and rain showers.
  • No trash service on trails.

Contact Information

Public Information Office
P.O. Box 577
Yosemite, CA 95389
Phone: 209-372-0200 helps you discover and book trips to all of America's public places.
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