- The 14- to 16-mile round-trip hike to Half Dome
- Most hikers take 10 to 12 hours to hike to Half Dome and back
- If you plan on hiking during the day, it's smart to leave around sunrise (or earlier) and then have a non-negotiable turn-around time.
- For instance, if you haven't reached the top of Half Dome by 3:30 pm, you will turn around.
- Regardless, each person should carry a flashlight or headlamp with good batteries
- Rising nearly 5,000 feet above Yosemite Valley and 8,800 feet above sea level
WATER 1 gallon (4 liters) if hiking to the top of Half Dome
RESTROOMS Flush toilets are available at the Vernal Fall Footbridge (below Vernal Fall). Composting toilets are available near Emerald Pool (above Vernal Fall), near the top of Nevada Fall, and in Little Yosemite Valley.
At any other location, you are required to bury any solid human waste at least six inches (15 cm) deep and at least 100 feet (30 m) from water or trails. Pack out toilet paper.
WEATHER The summit is typically 15°F (8°C) to 20°F (11°C) cooler than Yosemite Valley and windy conditions are common. Be prepared for cool temperatures and rain showers.
EMRALD POOL Entering Emerald Pool and the Silver Apron is prohibited, and entering pools above waterfalls is strongly discouraged, because of frequent injuries and fatalities. Use extreme caution near flowing water; rocks adjacent to streams can be surprisingly slick.
TRAILHEAD PARKING Most people begin the hike from Happy Isles (shuttle stop #16), which is about a half-mile from the trailhead parking lot or about 3/4 of a mile from Half Dome Village (formerly Curry Village) (parking available).
Shuttle service doesn't begin until 7 am, so if you're arriving prior to then, you can walk on the road (closed to all but authorized vehicles) from either parking area to the trailhead.
The nearest campgrounds are Upper, Lower, and North Pines Campgrounds, but reservations are very difficult to get in summer. Camp 4 walk-in campground is also busy. The nearest campgrounds outside Yosemite Valley that may have some first-come, first-served space are Bridalveil Creek and Tamarack Flat Campgrounds.