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Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

(4.9/5 based on 1,100+ reviews on the web)
Half Dome is a granite dome at the eastern end of Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park, California. It is a well-known rock formation in the park, named for its distinct shape. One side is a sheer face while the other three sides are smooth and round, making it appear like a dome cut in half. The granite crest rises more than 4737ft above the valley floor.GeologyThe impression from the valley floor that this is a round dome that has lost its northwest half is an illusion. From Washburn Point, Half Dome can be seen as a thin ridge of rock, an arĂȘte, that is oriented northeast-southwest, with its southeast side almost as steep as its northwest side except for the very top. Although the trend of this ridge, as well as that of Tenaya Canyon, is probably controlled by master joints, 80 percent of the northwest "half" of the original dome may well still be there.On March 28, 2009, a large rock slide of 1,500,000ft3 occurred from Ahwiyah Point. The slide happened at 5:26 a.m. and damaged a large area under the dome. No one was injured, but hundreds of trees were knocked down, and a portion of the Mirror Lake trail was buried. The slide registered on seismographs as an earthquake reaching 2.5 on the Richter Scale.AscentsAs late as the 1870s, Half Dome was described as "perfectly inaccessible" by Josiah Whitney of the California Geological Survey. The summit was finally conquered by George G. Anderson in October 1875, via a route constructed by drilling and placing iron eyebolts into the smooth granite.
To visit Half Dome and other attractions in Yosemite National Park, use our Yosemite National Park vacation planner.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • We got to see it only from a viewpoint, we didn't come close to it or climb it, but it was more than enough. Very impressive, very big rock formation. We saw it the best at Glacier point. 
  • We left the cabins in Curry Village at 4:30am wearing headlamps and returned safely to the cabins at 5:30pm feeling wonderfully exhausted. The best part is the feeling of accomplishment once you are n...  more »
  • This is a very hard, all-day hike, but you can do it. Start as early as you can stomach (4:30 am-ish), bring headlamps, wear several layers of clothes, and as much water as you can carry. We didn't "t...  more »
Google
  • Tough day hike but great climax (don't know if that's the right word but we'll go with it). The cables section is a nice way to reach the summit and the view is very rewarding. 10/10 would do again. Get a permit though, hefty fine if you don't have one and you'll cause more traffic on the cables which makes it more dangerous.
  • It's a lot of work to get to the top, but it's well worth it. Plan to revisit in a couple years with my wife. Be sure to get a permit before you try to climb because they check every person who goes up the trail. The checkpoint is about 3 miles from the dome, so you do t want to go that far and get turned around!
  • Spectacular hike! Quite tough due too its length (it us nine hours and half with return) and to the last part with the cables. It is necessary to book a reservation 2 days in advance and probably it makes sense to bring 1 gallon per water per person as suggested on the website (I was quite skeptical about it at the beginning). Definitely worthed!
  • A stellar experience if you find yourself in Yosemite or a great reason to travel to the park. The experience of the hike to the park is exceptional, giving breathtaking views of the vernal and Nevada falls. Pack plenty of water (4+ liters) and give yourself 6-12 hours for this hike if you're coming from the valley.
  • I made it up here twice, once when I was 45 years old. Both times with my son JIM. First time I forgot my camera.. Know one believed I did it, to tough . He and I made it up the second time when I was 47 years old and took a ton of pictures. The hike up was beautiful and hard... Yosemite is my church.