National park tips: Here’s how to hike Half Dome in Yosemite
To hike Yosemite’s Half Dome in a day, you need a permit, mild weather and an early start — by dawn, usually. It’s a 16-mile round trip, with 4,800 feet of elevation gain. Plan on 10 to 12 hours.
Do it after Memorial Day, when rangers put up steel cables to help climbers cover the last 400 feet to the top. The cables usually come down on the day after Columbus Day. (This year, Columbus Day is Oct. 10.) Permits, handed out by lottery at recreation.gov, are capped at 300 hikers a day. To boost your odds, choose weekdays.
Permits are $12.50 (if you apply online) or $14.50 (by phone). Details here. Before your first step, set a turn-around time. And if it rains on your day, scrub the mission: Slippery rocks have killed several hikers in the last decade.
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