View Full Version : Anyone with Yosemite hiking experience?

01-01-2009, 07:52 PM
I'm trying to plan a trip out to YNP first week of June. Really want to summit Half Dome, and second goal is Clouds Rest. Looking at spending 3 nights in the park and having trouble finding suggestions for multi-day hikes. Backpacker.com has several day hikes and then some long-distance 200+ miles trips.

Anyone have any good suggestions, resources, experience?

I need to apply for my hiking permit very soon and need to provide some sort of plan.

Bill O
01-01-2009, 08:42 PM
Isn't Half Dome just an easy day hike? I think it sees heavy traffic so its probably worth making an early morning ascent for sunrise.

Other than that I don't know much about the park. It is worth doing research to find those out of the way hikes. Backpacker Mag probably is a good resource to find the reader's favorites type articles.

01-01-2009, 09:23 PM
Half Dome can be done in a day. I bought a guide book specifically about it and it says its a one day, but be prepared to be wiped out at the end of the day and to get on the trail by no later than 7 am to be at the front of the crowd.

My plan is to get out to Little Yosemite Valley campground, near the base of Half Dome the first night, then up early for a sunrise hike up the dome. From there, its a down and up just a couple miles to hit Clouds Rest which is at just over 10,000 ft.

From Clouds Rest I'm not sure where to go. Its on the south side of the valley. There are no cross trails as far as the maps show to get to the north side of the valley. To cross it I'd have to go east and around it.

Other scenic spots all seem to be on the north side, but I don't know the area well, and not even sure if the mileage I'm looking at per day is too ambitious given the altitude and such.

Just ordered several guide books off Amazon, so well see if that help.

If anyone wants to come along, I'm looking for someone to hike with! :)

01-01-2009, 10:21 PM
Backpacker.com is a really good source for this. If you just do a search for Yosemite you'll get tons of trips with GPS routes, photos, etc. Of course now that I went and looked at a few I want to go even more. Check out this TR for Half Dome in particular (and be sure to look at the pictures along the route): http://bp2.trimbleoutdoors.com/ViewTrip.aspx?tripId=39517
Not sure how I'd do in some of those "vertigo spots" like the top of the cable route. Some really good shots of that (and the whole hike) here as well: http://rawchristianity.wordpress.com/2006/10/01/climbing-half-dome-in-yosemite-national-park/

I mentioned to my wife that I had gotten an offer to go to Yosemite in the spring and got the expected reaction (not to be repeated here). :rolleyes:

01-02-2009, 06:03 PM
Oops--just reread your post, and you're going in June! Anyway, the link will give you some good ideas for the summer.

(Earlier message) Hate to say it, but the cable route up Half Dome is closed in the winter. They take the cables away when it starts getting icy so that people don't get into trouble. Without the cables it's technical, though probably not that hard for anyone with climbing experience. I haven't done it myself, but I've read about it and always wondered what the cables are like. People wear gloves on that section. Here is a detailed and pretty interesting description with photos:


I think a lot of the best destinations are accessible in winter mainly by X-C skis, which sounds like a lot of fun. I've only been to the Tuolomne Meadows end, and only in summer, so my experience is limited.

01-03-2009, 05:09 PM
Yeah.. I'm not nearly skilled enough to attempt it without the cables. Last I read, they are saying the cables will be up around May 15. So, Im planning on 2 weeks after that, just to give a little padding, the weather in June looks to be perfect (very little rain and the waterfalls are at their fullest from the snow melt). Its also just before schools let out, so there shouldn't be a ton of traffic yet.

01-05-2009, 12:15 AM
I've been up half dome and hiked several trails along the High sierra camps in yosemite in the summer. The half-dome trail is a fairly straightforward day hike, save the last exposed section which can be quite unnerving for some. Of the 5 in my group who easily made it to the cables, all but myself turned around when they saw the steepness and exposure of the cables. I think I read at the steepest points it is 60 degrees, don't know if that's accurate though.

My only other experience in Yos is in the high sierra trails, which are far less populated and unbelievably beautiful. Most memorable times for me were the endless backcountry routes and small peaks to explore along the trails.

I think there can be some difficulty getting camping permits up there though, but definitely worth checking out.

01-05-2009, 11:47 PM
Thanks! I think I'm prepared for the cables. I will probably bring my climbing harness and hook into the cables and see how that goes.

Today was the first day that you could apply for backcountry permits for late May early June. 9am sharp (PST) I was one the phone dialing and redialing to endless busy signals. I decided to take my chances and fax my application in as instructed by their alternate options, as I had a meeting to get back to. Two hours after I faxed in my application I got and email from the Yosemite Association.... "YOU APPLICATION FOR A BACKCOUNTRY PERMIT HAS BEEN APPROVED!"

WOO HOO!!!!!! I'm set up for three nights in the park, start 5/31, end 6/3.

I've planned ahead and have two people on the permit, and yet noone has taken me up on the offer to join me. So the spot is still open if anyone is tempted!

01-12-2009, 12:11 AM
My wife and I have spent several years hiking the high country of Yosemite. We are older now and half Dome is not in our list of priorities, but I understand what you are talking about.

June can be a tough month depending on the snow cover, and much depends on one fact: if and when the Tioga Road and Tioga Pass are opened to the public. Track the snow cover on the internet.

For a three day trip I would recommend parking in Yosemite Valley and taking a shuttle up to trailheads on the Tioga Road (if open) such as Sunrise, Cathedral Lakes, or Tuolumne Meadows. Sunrise is the main access to Cloudsrest, and you can easily continue down from Cloudsrest and summit Half Dome, then continue to Yosemite Valley, and spend a few fine days in the process. Half Dome can be done from the other trailheads with more effort.

My wife and I have always had luck following up on other people?s cancellations. Remember, you don?t need a permit for a day-hike, so if you find yourself here you can still see and do a lot. If the cables are up, you can summit Half Dome from Yosemite Valley.

Email me with any specific questions. Good luck.

01-12-2009, 09:28 PM
Thanks for the info.

First week of June.. is there's still snow in the lower part of the park?

I hadn't thought of taking the shuttles up to a trailhead. Doh!

I've got my backcountry permit already approved to start on Happy Isles/Little Yosem Valley. Perhaps I'll looking into the reverse of what you're suggesting. Can you take the shuttles back down to the valley?

01-13-2009, 05:15 PM
I did Half Dome this last September. It's easily a day hike if you're in shape and used to hiking. The beginning and end are steep but the middle is actually quite easy. Start as early as possible to beat the crowds. I started hiking at 5 am in the dark and made it to the summit with a total of 4 other pairs of hikers up there. I had the cables to myself after I waited a few minutes for a couple to finish them off.

I sat and ate breakfast at the summit and took pictures for about an hour and on the way down the cables were just starting to get a crowd. I had to wait a little but the switchbacks at the base were VERY crowded and the entire hike down was full of hikers who looked like they were going to have a coronary. It reminded me quite a bit of Tuckermans...where people bite off more than they can chew. I saw people hiking it in jeans, flip flops..you name it. Most didn't have a chance of summitting and getting down before dark and were in no shape to be trying a 17 mile day hike with 4000 feet of elevation gain.

It is a blast though...start early and keep a good pace, and especially pick your day....lots of lightning strikes.

Here's a few pics...

The final stretch of switchbacks....starts to get difficult





Last shot of the cables after I climbed down

01-14-2009, 09:07 AM
Wow - just spectacular shots! It's amazing how different the cables look from the two spots. The first one looks quite tame but the second one with the view from farther back looks pretty terrifying. Not sure that my acrophobia would let me get up there but man would I like to try.

01-14-2009, 03:32 PM
The cables honestly look worse than they are. I have no fear of heights (hence my pick with my feet hanging over a 2000' drop) but I had to pause when I came over the ridge and saw the cables.....it looks very daunting. Once you're on them they don't seem that bad...at least in terms of fear of heights/falling, NOT in terms of fatigue. I did this hike very quickly and had no real problems with fatigue until I hit the cables...then it hit me like a brick. Living at sea level and not having been at altitude (unless you count the whites) in 10 years I did a short hike up a 10,000'er in the Cascades the week before as a warm up and didn't notice the altitude. I figured I'd be good for Half Dome (only 8k'). Those cables kicked my a$$ though and it was slooooow going. You have to use your upper body just as much if not more than your legs. It's rough but short thankfully.

01-14-2009, 05:03 PM
Wonderful pictures.