Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Half Dome

Latitude, Longitude: 37.744250, -119.533911

Yosemite's most distinctive monument, Half Dome, dominates most Valley views. Standing at the eastern end of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome rises to an elevation of 8,842 feet. At 87 million years old, the granite of Half Dome crystalized deep within the earth under miles of overlying rock. Forces of uplift, erosion from rivers and glaciers, and rockfall shaped this famous feature. For sweeping views of Yosemite Valley and Half Dome rising above, visit Glacier Point.

Rising nearly 5,000 feet above Yosemite Valley and more than 8,800 feet above sea level, Half Dome is a Yosemite icon and a great challenge to many hikers. Despite an 1865 report declaring that it was "perfectly inaccessible, being probably the only one of the prominent points about the Yosemite which never has been, and never will be, trodden by human foot," George Anderson reached the summit in 1875, in the process laying the predecessor to today's cable route. Today, thousands of people reach the summit. For most, it is an exciting, arduous hike; for a few, it becomes more of an adventure than they wanted. Indeed, park rangers assist hundreds of people on the Half Dome Trail every summer.


From Yosemite Valley (aka Happy Isles): The most popular approach is to take the John Muir Trail (JMT) up from the Happy Isles Trailhead in Yosemite Valley. You can reach Yosemite Valley via CA SR-120, CA SR-140, and CA SR-41 which enter the park at the Big Oak Flat, Arch Rock (aka El Portal), and Wawona (aka South) Entrances to the park.

From Tenaya Lake (via Clouds Rest): Drive to CA SR-120 and park at the Sunrise Trailhead just south of the lake from where you can take the trail south towards Clouds Rest. In 9.9 miles (including a summit of Clouds Rest) you will reach the JMT. Continue southwest for 0.5 miles before joining the 2 mile Half Dome summit trail. This stretch of CA SR-120 is closed during the winter.

From Tuolumne Meadows (via JMT): Park at Tuolumne Meadows off of CA SR-120 and head southwest on the JMT for 14.4 miles before heading northwest at the 2 mile Half Dome summit trail. This stretch of CA SR-120 is closed during the winter.