Two ways to hike Half Dome, Yosemite National Park
Option 1 – Day Hike.
Half dome summit and back to the carpark is about 18 miles, with 4500′ elevation gain. Its a long day, but doable. Means carrying less food and gear, but also getting up early to beat the crowds (we are not good at this).
Don’t forget your hiking poles! You will need them on the way down.
Just look at all these fools elbowing their way to the top. #YosemiteCircus
Even if you get up early I am not sure you can beat all these people to the top, since many of them started halfway up from the backpacker’s camp. If you do this as a day hike you need to 1) not be a type A personality and 2) not be in a hurry.
Option #2 – Spend the night halfway and get an early start on the summit day
This option means bringing food, water filters, a tent, sleeping bags – much more gear than option #1, but it is much more relaxing and when you are on your way down, half the world is still on its way up. Very cool.
Do bring a warm hat at it gets chilly at night, and lots of bug spray or mosquito nets – they can make any nice evening hellish if you are not prepared.
If you camp, you’ll have more time to enjoy these lovely views and to cool off.
Early the next morning, you may be rewarded with views of wildlife and an empty trail.
And just look, half dome has very few people!!
No matter which way you choose, you will probably be pretty tired at the end, and make faces like these. Then you will take an amazing self picture in the parking lot to always remember your travels. Hopefully you will put the camera on the ground and have to crouch really low to get into the frame.
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