Half Dome – Bucket-list Hike for Yosemite & the Sierra
Yosemite National Park is many things to different people. To some it is a weekend retreat with the family, others it is a leisurely stroll near the base of world-class waterfalls, & still others it is the wildlife and big tree forests. But to a select group of people each year, Yosemite is an epic adventure to check off Half Dome on the Bucket-list hiking experiences in this world.
In 2015, Yosemite National Park is estimating that Half Dome will open for hiking season near May 22, 2015. But if you want to conquer half dome, you must get a permit, and you must do it now in a traditional lottery system that runs each year in the spring. March 1- March 31 2015 is lottery season for the Half Dome Bucket-List experience.
During Climbing season Half Dome is restricted to 300 hikers a day. (about 225 day hikers and 75 backpackers) Permits are distributed by lottery via Recreation.gov, with one preseason lottery with an application period in March and daily lotteries during the hiking season. Backpackers—including those who want to spend the night in Little Yosemite Valley—should apply for Half Dome permits with their wilderness permit rather than using the process described below. 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 Plan in order to protect wilderness character, reduce crowding, protect natural and cultural resources, and improve safety).
For more information on how to get permits or what to expect in the lottery system check out this page on the official Yosemite Website.
Adding Half Dome to your Bucket-list Hikes takes a little planning if you want it to be a successful enjoyable adventure. 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. Most hikers take 10 to 12 hours to hike to Half Dome and back; some take longer.
If you would prefer a guided experience to Half Dome, you might explore services such as YExplore who have 1 day and two-day packages starting at around $225. Or look into a Yosemite Mountaineering School guide. Either are a great investment if you are unsure of your abilities or your sense of hiking in the wilderness.
Visit the official Half Dome site page for details on the cables, and other tips if you are considering this adventure in 2015.
Sierra REC Magazine is dedicated to sharing the events, news and adventure opportunities that exist in The Sierra Mountains. From Lassen Volcanic National Park to the North down through the Central Sierra and the Lake Tahoe Basin through the rugged eastern slopes of the Mono county and Yosemite National park to the southern tips near Sequoia National Park and the PCT trail. We invite you to share stories, trips and photos from your adventures in the Sierra. Please join us on Facebook, Twitter Google + and You-Tube or email us your events and photos at email@example.com #goexplore