The Half Dome Cables are Down for the Winter Season/Permits Now Required When Cables are Up
Permits to hike to the top of Half Dome are now required on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and federal holidays when the cables are up.Ê This is an interim measure to increase safety along the cables while the park develops a long-term plan to manage use on the Half Dome Trail.
As of 2010, all people using the Half Dome Trail above the subdome must have a permit in possession on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and federal holidays when the cables are up. A maximum of 400 permits will be issued each of these days (300 of these permits are available to day hikers). (Before the permit system, fewer than 400 people used this trail on weekdays, while about 800 people used this trail on weekends and holidays, on average.)
Permits typically are available up to aboutÊfour months in advance to one week in advance only through the National Recreation Reservation Service (NRRS). Permits are not available in the park or on a first-come, first-served basis. Demand for permits will be very high; availability may last only a matter of minutes on the first day permits become available. Each permit has a service fee of $1.50 (which covers the cost of NRRS processing the permit; Yosemite does not receive any money).
Note: Backpackers with an appropriate wilderness permit can receive a Half Dome permit when they pick up their wilderness permit with no additional reservation required. Rock climbers who reach the top of Half Dome without entering the subdome area can descend on the Half Dome Trail without a permit.
The Half Dome Cables are usually in place and available for use the weekend before Memorial Day, conditions permitting. The last day to use them usually is Columbus Day Monday. We can not guarantee the cables will be available on any given date. If you choose to get a permit for dates in May or October, there is an increasedÊchance the cables will not be in place.
If you are unable to hike Half Dome for any reason (including weather, cables not available, illness, etc.) on the day you have a permit, we will not be able to provide a permit for a different date.
When in place, the cables extend approximately 300 yards up the steep shoulder to the 8,842-foot dome. They give access to the summit and to the unparalleled views of Yosemite Valley and the surrounding mountains of the Sierra Nevada. The Sierra Club funded the installation of the first cables on Half Dome in 1919, the Civilian Conservation Corps replaced the original cables in 1934.
Ascending Half Dome when the cables are not installed is dangerous & strongly discouraged. Do not ascend to the top of Half Dome if thunderclouds are visible anywhere in the sky.
Additional Information: Many visitors consider this hike to be the ultimate Yosemite hike. This is a difficult climb. It’s considered very strenuous and the round trip hike is 17 miles long and typically takes 10 to 12 hours. It is not wheelchair accessible. The starting point is the Happy Isles shuttle bus stop (about a half mile south of Curry Village).