Half Dome Cables



The National Park Service anticipates the Cable Route will be in place by May 21, however snowpack and weather may delay the process. Early season permit holders should be aware that possession of a permit does not guarantee the cables will be up and accessible.

Reservations to access the Cables on Yosemite's Half Dome will be available on May 1, 2010 at 7:00am (PT) / 10:00am (ET).
READ MORE on how to secure a reservation to climb the Cables on Yosemite's Half Dome.

Please ensure you have read the Safety Information prior to securing your reservation.

Ticket Availability


Tour Description

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 that 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, in the process laying the predecessor to today's cable route.

The 14 to 16-mile round-trip hike to Half Dome is not for you if you're out of shape or unprepared. You will be gaining elevation (for a total of 4,800 feet) most of your way to the top of Half Dome. Most would say the reward is worth the effort. Along the way, you'll see outstanding views of Vernal and Nevada Falls, Liberty Cap, Half Dome, and--from the shoulder and summit--panoramic views of Yosemite Valley and the High Sierra.

For further information on Half Dome and Yosemite National Park click here.

Tour Details

  • Distance: 16 miles
  • Accessible: No
  • Effort: Difficult

Know Before You Go

It is important to take your time on the Half Dome Cables and use good judgment. A slip or fall from the cables may result in serious injury or death. Rescue personnel may be hours away and/or unable to respond due to weather or other incidents occurring simultaneously.

Tips while using the cables:
  • Take your time and be patient with slower hikers
  • Allow faster hikers to pass you (when possible)
  • Remain on the inside of the cables
  • Many people find gloves helpful

This 14 to 16-mile round-trip hike gains 4,800 feet in elevation. Most hikers take 10 to 12 hours to hike to Half Dome and back; some take longer. If you plan on hiking during the day, it's smart to leave around sunrise (or earlier) and then have a non-negotiable turn-around time. For instance, if you haven't reached the top of Half Dome by 3:30 pm, you will turn around. Check for sunrise and sunset times before you hike. Regardless, each person should carry a flashlight or headlamp with good batteries (hikers commonly struggle down the trail after dark because they don't have a flashlight). Although the trail is well marked, you should be prepared with a good topographic map and compass and know how to use them.

Another easy way to make your hike enjoyable is to have well broken-in boots with good ankle support and good traction. Some of the most common injuries Half Dome hikers suffer are blisters and ankle injuries; good footwear is the best way to prevent these problems.

The summit of Half Dome is a dangerous place during a lightning storm. Check the weather forecast before your hike and try to reach the summit early in the day to avoid afternoon thunderstorms. If a storm appears nearby, do not continue to the summit and, if in the summit area, leave the area (while still using caution when descending the cables and steps).

The summit is typically 15*F (8*C) to 20*F (11*C) cooler than Yosemite Valley and windy conditions are common. Be prepared for cool temperatures and rain showers. A few visitors each summer have problems with altitude sickness. Know how to recognize the early signs of altitude sickness.

For a short video on Half Dome click here.


Flush toilets are available at the Vernal Fall Footbridge (below Vernal Fall). Composting toilets are available near Emerald Pool (above Vernal Fall), near the top of Nevada Fall, and in Little Yosemite Valley. The last potable water is at the Vernal Fall restroom below the waterfall. Springs, streams and a river provide water above this point, but should be properly treated before drinking to remove pathogens.

Note: Some Tours may be available only from the Tour Park on a first-come-first-served basis. Arrival dates earlier than the online-reservation-window may also be available at the Tour Park.
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