Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

4.9
#3 of 25 in Parks in Yosemite National Park
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 5:25 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.
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Half Dome Reviews
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  • Well worth the view. Start early so you can make it back down before dark. It's awe-inspiring. The "back" way is more scenic, up past Vernal Falls.  more »
  • In addition to El Capitan, other famous Cliff in Yosemite National Park was Half Dome. True to its name, its shape is a half circle. The cliff is relatively easier ascent compared to El Capitan.
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  • If you can only do one hike/climb at Yosemite this is the one you want to choose. It is epic but make sure you are physically ready for the challenge and have proper gear. Hiking boots with good vibra...  more »
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  • The Half Dome hike was an AMAZING experience. Once in a lifetime! You do need to be in good shape to complete the hike, it took us about 16 hours. The cables were not as bad as some folks make them out to be, however, you do need to be someone in very good physical condition. Remember to slowly drink water and eat food on the way up and you will be good! The views and accomplishment are more than worth it!!!
  • Part of Yosemite National Park attraction. I felt speechless when i saw this. I accomplished one of my dream to visit here. Great spot to shoot sunset here or sunrise. Easy visible when you pass along the road.
  • This is a challenging hike, either from the valley, or the Little Yosemite campsite above the falls. Bring more water than you think you need, as there is None on trail for the upper 3 miles, and you will need it. Bring your own work gloves for the cable ascent...and pack them back out!
  • Hike to the top takes about 12 hours return and requires a permit to climb the cables. Bring gloves with grip. High elevation is very exposed no shade. Start the hike no later than 4am (use a headlamp) to reach summit before midday and get back before dark. Once in a lifetime experience!
  • The magnificence of Half Dome cannot be understated. Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, Vernal Fall, Nevada Fall, Yosemite Valley and countless other granite domes can be seen from Glacier Point. Late April through early June is the best time to see the falls. Climbing Half Dome, an experience of a life time and an arduous hike, requires a permit.

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Where to stay in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park offers something for everyone. Choose from upscale or historic hotels, a well-appointed lodge, motel rooms, rustic cabins, canvas tent cabins, and developed campgrounds. Yosemite Village in the heart of the valley is the most convenient place to stay, but other accommodations line the roads leading to the village. If you can't secure a place inside the park, try the various lodges, inns, bed and breakfasts, cabins, cottages, and motels on the roads leading in from the west. Staying any further out can cost you valuable time that you could be spending hiking, biking, and sightseeing. To escape from the crowds in the valley, reserve a campsite at Crane Flat or Hodgdon Meadow, which are far enough out to provide solitude but close enough to reach major valley attractions in less than half an hour. Campgrounds along Tioga Road see even fewer crowds. If you plan to visit in summer, you must reserve accommodations (even campsites) well in advance, as Yosemite remains extremely popular with both visitors from afar and those based in California.
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