Hike Half Dome via the Mist Trail

14.2 miles 4800 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Bijan Rafie-tari

This iconic Yosemite National Park hike departs from the Mist Trailhead in Yosemite Valley. You'll Pass Vernal Falls and Little Yosemite Valley Campground en route to summit Half Dome. Make sure you remember your permits for the cables (and your gloves).

Be sure to arrive early early in the morning to beat the crowds or if you want to break up the hike, first-come, first served campsites are available at Little Yosemite Valley Campground - make sure to check out the details in that adventure and obtain a wilderness permit. Even if you are just day hiking, you'll still need a day hike permit.

About 5 minutes in you will start your ascent. Soon you will be high enough on the trail to see stunning views of Yosemite Valley, waterfalls, and Half Dome.

As you hike along the Mist Trail you will come across two amazing water falls. At 1,000 feet (300 meters) you will reach the top of Vernal Falls and at about 1,900 feet (580 meters) you will be a the top of Nevada Falls. After Nevada Falls you will start to make your climb towards Half Dome. After Vernal Falls you soon will come to a cross trail with bathrooms if you need to rest.

As you make your way closer to Half Dome, more people will start to show and you will know you are not lost. You can bring your own gloves for gripping the cables for the final ascent, but there is also a large pile of gloves you can pick from at the base of the cables. Once you reach Half Dome and finish your climb, take a moment to take it all in. You can even check your cell phone or make a phone call on top of Half Dome, there is decent service. When going downwards, I found it easier to go face down holding onto both right and left cables then letting myself slide down to each wooden step by releasing my grip just slightly and leaning backwards.

Checking wind conditions and starting early in the morning are essential so you can beat any crowds on the trail and get as high as possible before the heat settles in.

Read More

Tags

Photography
Hiking
Bathrooms
Forest
River
Scenic
Waterfall

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

🥈 Contributor

about 4 years ago

Cable system is unique (and crowded!)

Don't forget your day-use permit (from recreation.gov lottery) and your photo ID. Don't forget your patience... Many people of varying skill levels attempt this hike and it can be crowded/slow. The cables are a little nerve-wracking and the granite is slippery, but generally very safe and a cool experience. If you bring gloves, pack them out! Please don't leave them in a pile at the base of the cables. They are garbage and become infested with rodents, and then the rangers pack out pounds of gross gloves. Similarly, if you want gloves for the cables, bring your own and don't rely on a pile of gloves being available for use. Again, they're garbage and not provided for hikers. Thanks so much!

Admin

🥇Top Contributor

over 4 years ago

Not For The Faint Of Heart

It's strenuous, it's long and it can be crowded...but hot damn it's worth it!!! Bring plenty of water and snacks. And a camera.

🥇Top Contributor

over 4 years ago

Go for sunrise!

We were on the trail at 1:20 AM and made it up about 30 min before sunrise at 5:40. The 2 hours of sleep before the hike sucked but other than that, I think this is the best way to tackled half dome. You'll be virtually alone on the trail the whole way up as opposed to the zoo of people for the majority of the hike if you go during daylight hours. Plus, hiking in the dark is pretty cool. We had no moon at all so the stars were unbelievable. Only about 20 people on the top, too. I did it last year during the day and the sunrise version is much more enjoyable in my opinion.

Stay Nearby

Upper Pines Campground, California

Upper Pines

Overview Upper Pines Campground is located in breathtaking Yosemite National Park in Central California's rugged Sierra Nevada Mountain Range at an elevation of 4,000 feet. The site is situated in ...

From $26/night

Yosemite Valley, California

Curry Village

Seasonal amenities include ice skating, bike rentals, swimming pool, rock climbing and guided hikes.

From $90/night

Yosemite Valley, California

Housekeeping Camp

From Housekeeping Camp, you’ll have unmatched views of Yosemite Falls and Half Dome as you prepare your dinner on your campfire ring’s grill. Enjoy your meal on your covered patio as you take in th...

From $108/night

Yosemite Valley, California

The Ahwahnee

The Ahwahnee offers a gift shop with a focus on local artisans, a decadent sweet shop, a comfortable bar and a heated outdoor swimming pool. The Ahwahnee Dining Room serves breakfast, lunch, dinner...

From $386/night

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike the Mist Trail to Vernal Falls in Yosemite NP

    This is one of the most epic short hikes that you can do in Yosemite. Highly recommend it for anyone staying in the valley or visiting with enough time for a 2-3 hour hike. While the distance isn't long, you will stop a lot along the way to take i...

    2.4 miles 1000 ft gain

  • Hiking to Vernal & Nevada Falls

    This popular hike starts near Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley. The first mile of the trail is paved and almost entirely uphill. You will come to the footbridge which tends to be very crowded. About 0.2 miles beyond the footbridge, the Mist Trail an...

    7 miles

  • Hike to Yosemite's Mirror Lake

    Mirror Lake is a very popular spot in the Yosemite Valley and definitely a must see to check off your explore list. Crowds are much smaller if you go during the winter, but some parts of the water might be iced over.The trailhead you take to get t...

    2.4 miles 100 ft gain

  • Hike to Hidden Falls (aka Tenaya Creek Falls)

    Also known as Tenaya Creek Falls or Three Chutes Falls, this spot is loved by locals and is definitely worth the hidden trail and scramble over rocks. The hike takes you along Tenaya Creek, Mirror Lake, and a boulder-filled canyon. Great for photo...