Hike Half Dome via the Mist Trail

14.2 Miles Round Trip - 4800 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Mist Trail - Search Nearby - 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.

Tags

Photography
Hiking
Bathrooms
Forest
River
Scenic
Waterfall

Details

14.2 Miles
4800 ft elevation gain
Out-and-Back Trail

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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.

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.

Make sure you get an early start on the trail. We hit the trailhead right around 5am. The earlier you can get to the base of the cables the better -- it can get crowded and slow down the process in that tight space. With that said, be patient and don't rush it, you'll make it to the top shortly. For the cables, I would bring gloves, but if you forget, there was a pile of used ones at the base to the cables.