Half Dome Backpacking Tour
Half Dome Backpacking Tour

Half Dome Backpacking Tour

5 days

Autumn colors in the Yosemite ValleyAscent to Half DomeHikers climbing up the Half DomeHalf Dome (Yosemite)Hiker standing on Half Dome

Discover some iconic scenic wonders within Yosemite National Park

One word describes this "bang for your buck" guided 5-day Half Dome Backpacking Tour in Yosemite National Park: epic. Traverse a montage of remarkable scenery before ascending the iconic Half Dome. Camp along the scenic Merced River, pass by the roaring Nevada Fall and meander a portion of the famous John Muir Trail.

But the pinnacle of this guided backpacking adventure is the Half Dome summit, which has you climbing cables up a steep rock face. The adrenaline-induced climb will enhance the views of the green-tinged cliffs' layered in the valley below. You'll spend three nights backcountry camping on this wild adventure, so get ready to immerse in Yosemite's magnificent backyard!

*Do note that there’s a 4-day option for this tour and the Length of itinerary is determined by permit availability. These permits are secured 24 (or less) weeks before the trip.

Please check out this blog to find out more about the COVID-19 precautions during the tour.

Highlights of the Half Dome Backpacking Tour

Summit the incredible, the rugged Half Dome, which will have you using cables to climb a steep rock face to reach otherworldly views.
Enjoy refreshing dips in the “Wild and Scenic” Merced River after hours of hiking to magnificent vistas.
Spend three nights camping in Yosemite’s backcountry, where the flow of the river acts as a natural white noise.
Consume tasty backcountry meals in stunning locations, such as lunch atop Half Dome and dinners at your wild campsites.

Prices

From $1,295USD
$600USD off $1,895USD
5 days
Difficulty
Guided
Hotel and camping
  • No Booking or Credit Card Fees
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Half Dome Backpacking Tour

Half Dome Backpacking Tour Itinerary

Day 1 Meet in Yosemite National Park

Head to Curry Village and check in sometime after 5 pm. At 6 pm, you’ll meet your guide and the rest of your group for a brief orientation. Enjoy dinner on your own tonight at one of the surrounding restaurants.
Overnight Location: Hotel in Curry Village
Distance: None
Meals: None

Day 2 Start your hike

Get ready for your first day of hiking! After breakfast on your own, you’ll meet your guide at the Half Dome Village Mountain Shop bright and early (at 7 am). Your car will stay in the parking lot, and head towards the trailhead to start your journey. Soon you will reach your camp, situated along Illilouette Creek, below the shadow of Mt. Starr King.
Overnight Location: Camping at Illilouette Creek
Distance: 4 mi, 697 ft ascent, 1540 ft descent
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3 Go to Little Yosemite Valley

Today will take you to another compilation of scenic views, such as Nevada Falls, and at your campsite, you’ll have a chance to chill at beaches flanking the wildly stunning Merced River. Enjoy marvelling at the incredible views of the Little Yosemite Valley!
Overnight Location: Camping in Little Yosemite Valley
Distance: 5-7 mi, 1798 ft ascent, 2070 ft descent
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4 Climb Half Dome

Consume a fulfilling breakfast before getting ready to summit the iconic Half Dome! After climbing the cables and once your adrenaline rush fades, the views of Yosemite high country will emerge into focus. It’s genuinely mesmerizing from the top! Enjoy lunch here before making your way back to camp. Once you’re back at camp, you can cool off in the Merced River.
Overnight Location: Camping in Little Yosemite Valley
Distance: 6.7 mi, 2875 ft ascent, 2876 ft descent
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5 Hike the John Muir Trail

Today may be the last of your backpacking trip, but that doesn't mean the trail won't wind to more mesmerizing views—you get to travel a section of the iconic John Muir Trail along the bubbling Merced River. You will catch views of the Nevada and Vernal falls. Arrive back in Curry Village in the afternoon.
Overnight Location: None
Distance: 5.3 mi, 811 ft ascent, 2935 ft descent
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

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Half Dome Backpacking Tour Price and Dates

This guided tour in the Sierra Nevada is always run as a fixed-departure tour where you would be joining a group, therefore the price is fixed and only depends on the number of people sharing the room or a tent.

Prices below are per person and are based on a 5-day tour itinerary. In case the permit is secured for 4-days, the prices below will be $200 USD per person lower.

Jul 06, 2022
Jul 10, 2022
From Fresno
To Fresno
USD$1,895
5 days / Sold Out
Sep 14, 2022
Sep 18, 2022
From Fresno
To Fresno
USD$1,895
5 days / Sold Out
Jun 14, 2023
Jun 18, 2023
From Fresno
To Fresno
USD$1,895
5 days / Sold Out
Jul 05, 2023
Jul 09, 2023
From Fresno
To Fresno
USD$1,895
5 days / Sold Out
Sep 13, 2023
Sep 17, 2023
From Fresno
To Fresno
USD$1,895
5 days / Sold Out

Accommodation on Half Dome Backpacking Tour

This backpacking adventure will have you staying in a cozy luxurious campground one night. The specialty lodging has modern necessities that will keep you comfy and relaxed. Keep in mind that rooms are double occupancy, but you can always upgrade to single occupancy for an additional fee. Single travellers are also required to pay a supplement. You will spend the remaining 3 nights backcountry camping.

In some cases, the accommodation listed below may be swapped for other similar accommodations.

Single Rooms and Solo Travelers
You can pay a supplement of $165 USD to have a private room in a hotel. Contact us and we can try and match single travelers up, where possible. However, if there are no options, solo travellers will pay a supplement of $80 USD.

Hotels on Standard Tour

Curry Village in Yosemite National Park

Curry Village offers a “glamping” experience. They have a combination of rooms: heated tents, unheated tents, cabins, and hotel rooms.

Night 2-4

Camping in Yosemite National Park

Revel in the mountainscapes as you camp at lakefront and riverside spots below a blanket of stars.

What’s included in the Half Dome Backpacking Tour?

Meals

4 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners, and trail snacks along the route are included.

Accommodations

Accommodations for 1 night in Curry Village. 3 nights of wilderness camping are also included. Accommodations before and after the tour in Yosemite Valley are not included.

Transportation during the Tour

Receive a free private shuttle ride from Curry Village (Yosemite Valley) to the trailhead on Day 2.

Also Included

  • Guide
  • Personal backpacking gear (per request), such as sleeping bags, backpack, sleeping pads, tents, trekking poles
  • Group gear, such as stoves, group first aid kit, cooking items, water filters, etc.
  • Hot coffee and tea in the mornings

Not included

  • Flights and transportation to get to and from Yosemite Valley
  • Personal clothing and shoes
  • Accommodations before and after the adventure tour in Yosemite Valley
  • Personal expenses + gratuities (recommended 10-20% for excellent service)
  • Evacuations
  • Insurance

Optional Extras

  • You can upgrade to a single occupancy in the hotel for an additional fee
  • Extra night in Yosemite Valley before or after the tour

Frequently Asked Questions about Half Dome Backpacking Tour

SYMG was started in 1991 by three friends offering hiking trips into California's mountains in hopes of more closely meshing lifestyle with work. The combination proved successful and SYMG has become a leader in the active travel and mountain guiding world, providing carefully planned and executed trips in the most spectacular wilderness areas of California and beyond. Now, 30 years later, we've shown thousands of people the beauty of Yosemite and the High Sierra and have been named one of the "Best Outfitters on Earth" by National Geographic Adventure Magazine.

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Half Dome Backpacking Tour Map

Click map for a larger version

Is this tour for me?

This tour is rated as 3 / 5, as it has you hiking moderate routes every day. You also need to be comfortable with camping in the wild for 3 nights. Please note that the ascent to Half Dome is very steep, and those who are afraid of heights might feel very uncomfortable here.

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