Backpacking Yosemite: Half Dome
Yosemite National Park


June 17–20 July 8–11 July 22–25 August 5–8 August 19–22 September 2–5 September 16–19 September 30–October 3

Trip Overview

At 8,839 feet, Half Dome is the most famous peak in Yosemite and a solid climb, but it's more than worth it for the breathtaking views of the Valley from atop.  Backpacking is best way to see this iconic mountain while avoiding big crowds. With Half Dome being a staple on many bucket lists, these trips sell out quickly as permits can be impossible to get on your own. Don't miss this opportunity to see the best of Yosemite! *Please note that this hike culminates in a challenging cable climb up a rock face.  (check out updated COVID-19 trip safety precautions)
Difficulty Rating: Advanced

Participants will be carrying their own gear as well as group gear (35 - 45 lbs total), for roughly 4 to 12 miles each day over moderate to strenuous terrain with elevation drops and gains of up to 3,000 ft in a day. We recommend doing numerous day hikes and training with a 35 - 45 lb pack prior to your trip. Individuals should be in superior physical condition. (see training recommendations)

Trip Itinerary

Although we'll always do our best to adhere to this schedule, it is often dictated by factors outside of our control and is therefore subject to change. We will run this trip rain or shine.

Day 1

Meet at the Glacier Point parking lot at 11 am - park in the far rear of lot near permanent bear bins

Trip orientation and gear discussion

Hike roughly 4 miles on moderate downhill terrain

Enjoy a trailside lunch

Make camp at Illilouette Creek

Enjoy a delicious, hot dinner

Day 2

Enjoy a delicious, hot breakfast

Break camp

Hike 5 miles to Little Yosemite Valley

Enjoy a trailside lunch

Make camp

Optional day hike: If time and group energy permits, potential to hike 3.5 miles for a sunset summit of Half Dome (and 3.5 miles back) with a lightweight day pack

Enjoy a delicious, hot dinner

Day 3

Enjoy a delicious, hot breakfast

If not done the day prior, hike 3.5 miles to the summit of Half Dome  (and 3.5 miles back) with a lightweight day pack

If Half Dome summited the day prior, possible day hike to summit Clouds Rest and back (10-13 miles)

Enjoy a trailside lunch

Enjoy a delicious, hot dinner

Day 4

Enjoy a delicious, hot breakfast

Break camp

Hike 4.5 miles on moderate uphill terrain to a beautiful waterfall

Enjoy a trailside lunch

Hike 2.5 miles on moderate uphill terrain to Glacier Point parking lot

Packing List


Lightweight 2 Person, 3-Season Tent (rentals available)

Backpacking Pack - minimum 60L (rentals available)

Lightweight, Compressible Sleeping Bag rated 15 to 25 degrees (rentals available)

Lightweight Sleeping Pad - inflatable insulated recommended (rentals available)

Headlamp with fresh batteries (rentals available)

Mess Kit (bowl, insulated cup, and spork)

Sturdy Hiking Boots that are broken in

2-3L Water Bladder and 1L Bottle

SunscreenSun HatSunglasses

Hiking Pants/Shorts (lightweight, quick dry)

Wool or Synthetic Hiking Tops (quick dry)

Wool or Synthetic Hiking SocksLiner Socks

Waterproof Rain Jacket and Pack Cover (poncho at minimum)

Gloves for Cables (simple garden gloves with grippy palms)

Seasonal Layers: BaselayersFleece/Down JacketBeanie, Gloves   

Optional (but recommended):

Trekking Poles (rentals available)

Insect Repellant

Small Pack Towel


Ear Plugs


Luxury Item (small book/kindle, deck of cards, etc.)

Guide Gratuities (optional)

Do NOT bring:


Full Wallet and Set of Keys 

Full sized Toothpaste, Deodorant, Sunscreen, etc. (Please only bring small packages of these things or re-package them yourself.)

$645 per person


Expert, Medically Trained Guides

Group First Aid Kit

All Wilderness Permits and Camping Fees

Bear Canisters

Group Cooking Gear

Water Filtration

Dinner & Breakfast meals and Trail Snacks (lunches eliminated due to COVID-19 contamination risks)

Not Included:

Transportation to and from Yosemite

Lunches (see above)

Personal backpacking gear (see Gear List below - rentals available)

Park Entrance Fees

Insurance of any kind

Guide Gratuities