Permits Needed Everyday to Hike Half Dome Starting Spring 2011

In hiking, Inside the NPS, On the Trail, Tips, Travel
half dome trail permit 2010 amanda dague

A permit required to hike the Half Dome cable route in 2010. Photo by Amanda Dague.

Following on the success of it’s weekend permit system the NPS has opted to extend the program requiring permits for all hikers who wish to ascend the cables to the top of Half Dome, not just weekend hikers.

Permits will again be issued through the National Recreation Reservation Service ( online ticket counter on a first-come, first-served basis. As was the case last year, permits will become available 4 months in advanced with a slight chance for hikers to get canceled permits up until midnight the evening prior to their hike date.

Last season weekend permit demand was high and permits were reserved months in advance. Hikers without permits will be turned around at the foot of the cables.

For more information on the new Half Dome permit system visit

Photo by Amanda Dague.

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8 commentsOn Permits Needed Everyday to Hike Half Dome Starting Spring 2011

  • While I fully support a plan to control the flow of people onto Half Dome, I’m disappointed in how they’re planning to implement it. Weekend use with the permit system was down below the 400 permits issued, which I think is understandable given that they need to be reserved so far in advance and planning is difficult. I expect weekday numbers will now be even lower. (I’m also unclear on what they mean by only 300 being reserved for day hikers… who gets the other 100?)

    I suspect they could have increased the number of permits issued, and also worked towards implementing a plan to issue some share of the permits on shorter notice, perhaps the day before (which I understand adds a whole additional cost element for the park, that isn’t funded at this time)

    My wife and I climbed Half Dome this summer on a Monday, as we could not have foreseen our plans 4 months ahead of time. If this new system had been in place already we simply could not have done the climb. Hopefully after another year they will continue to monitor usage and revise the system, if they feel it’s needed (as I suspect it will be).

  • The permit system plan for 2011 is flawed and I wonder what were the assumption of success for the 2010 system.

  • This really makes it difficult if not impossible for one to plan a trip. You have to reserve a cabin in January, then you must wait until March 1st to get a permit. If you are unable to get a permit for your scheduled stay, I guess you’re out of luck. Really not acceptable.

    • I sympathize with you Roger but you could always just do a different hike or check back closer to the date for a cancellation. 95% of the park never gets seen by visitors and is just as beautiful. Clouds Rest is a great destination and doesn’t get many visitors plus the view is spectacular. Basket Dome gives you an awesome view of Half Dome and is a relatively short hike too. Or you could try staying somewhere else. Lots of Inns and such around Yosemite have rooms later in the year.

      • I’ve hiked all over Yosemite, the Tahoe Yosemite Trail, the PCT/JMT, Camped on Cloud’s Rest, North Dome, Half Dome, as well as Benson Lake. Each place is special in it’s own way. Each trip being completely different from others. Half Dome is special in it’s own way. People know Half Dome and it’s nice to be able to climb it. Some of my favorite memories are from the top of the dome. I don’t think people should have to go somewhere else.

        Why not reserve half the permits for the day of? Give volunteer docents the tickets and a free RV spot on the valley floor. I guarantee there are people who would snatch up that opportunity in a heart beat. Pass out the tickets between 6 and 8 AM. This would keep the dome open to people unable to plan so far ahead.

  • This makes me sad. I used to live in Fresno and loved being able to drive up to Yosemite on a moment’s notice to climb the dome. There are times and entire months that see very little traffic. Too bad for those of us who liked the spontaneity. Have you visited your halfdome planning clinic today, they give away free tickets, but…. booooooo

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