Click on photos for larger images. Sometimes you have to refresh the page to re-activate this feature. Hide Slide Show (you will have to refresh the page to see it again)

Yosemite National Park Half Dome

Sunday, August 4, 2024 - Sunday, August 11, 2024 -- $1725 ★★★★


Yosemite National Park is a beautiful Sierra wonderland featuring towering mountains, thundering waterfalls and rugged pulchritude. The incredible views in this wilderness are virtually inescapable, it's actually hard to avoid them. On our trip, we will be hiking to two of the most iconic, universally recognized landmarks, Half Dome and Clouds Rest as we traipse around the high Sierra.

Our journey will begin on Tioga Road at Tuolumne Meadows. On our way to Half-Dome, we'll stay at Cathedral Lakes, Lower Sunrise Lake, up and over Clouds Rest eventually going to Little Yosemite Valley. Our journey back will return via Lower Sunrise Lake to Tenaya Lake. Along the way, you may see black bears (we carry bear canisters), big horn sheep, yellow bellied marmots, mule deer, pika, short tailed-weasels and possibly even a mountain lion. But probably just deer and an occasional bear.

Come join us for a true life-list adventure.

Topographical Map of Proposed Route

See CalTopo map


Weather is always an important concern when hiking. Expect daytime hiking temperatures well into the 70s and nighttime temperatures in the 40s & 50s. However, be prepared for the possibility of day temperatures in the 80s and as low as 30 with the possibility of violent afternoon thunderstorms. Here is the anticipated weather.

Probable Trip Leaders

Rick Romine
Any Other Guide(s) TBD


The trails through Yosemite National Park are very well groomed with good footing. However, elevation gain and loss can be dramatic. Furthermore, some days have relatively high elevation changes making this trip difficult at times. And Half-Dome is not easy, even with just a day pack. Attainable yes, but challenging. Still, the views are engaging and rewarding with incredible, continually changing scenery few ever get to see.


$1725 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a room with another participant during the 1 hotel night. You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Fresno, CA (FAT), personal equipment, restaurant meals eaten off the trail and any gratuities for guides.

Covered expenses include 1 hotel night, 1 night in a frontcountry campground, 6 days of trail meals, ground transportation, National Park permits and 2 awesome guides.

Tipping: In order to keep our prices competitive with (and hopefully favorable to) other outfitters, we shamefully can’t pay our guides as much as we think they deserve. Like most other guiding services, we rely on the generosity of our participants to make up this shortfall by tipping the guides. While tips are not required or expected, if your guides have served you well, please consider a gratuity so they can continue living their extravagant lifestyles of eating powdered meals, sleeping in the dirt and pooping in smelly outhouses and small holes they've dug.


Half-Dome permits are notoriously difficult to obtain. In order to obtain them, we must enter a lottery 6 months in advance of our trip with countless others, many of whom held permits during Covid but were unable to go during that time as well as those who held permits in 2023 but could not go because Tioga Road was closed until late in the season.

Our chances of obtaining Half Dome permits are better when we have schedule flexibility, a smaller group size and a lot of luck. Even obtaining permits for certain trailheads in the Yosemite backcountry without a trip to Half-Dome can be difficult and competitive as Yosemite imposes trailhead quotas for each entry point into the wilderness. Therefore this is only a proposed itinerary as we may be awarded a permit for a different route. We can submit 5 proposed itineraries 168 days (24 weeks) prior to the trip dates in order to be included in the trailhead quota lottery for any trip we propose. Depending what permit we are ultimately awarded (if any), we may do this itinerary at a different time, in reverse or possibly even another itinerary completely that does not guarantee us access to Half Dome.

The 2023 snow pack was historically deep and long-lasting. Snow season lasted until the end of July. Please be prepared for lingering patches or snow travel along the trail. This does not mean crampons and ice axes, but trekking poles will be invaluable.

The frequency of wildfire in Yosemite and its environs has markedly increased with climate change, so that there is often a fire burning either in the park or within range to send smoke into the park. Despite the enormous Oak Fire and Washburn fires that were burning during the 2022 Half Dome trip, the smoke was barely noticeable in the backcountry, but of course that may not be the case this year.

Back to top
Sign Up For a Trip
Guides for this trip
Important Note
Difficulty (Please Read)


Sunday, August 4, 2024

Fly or drive into Fresno, CA (FAT). Some time between 9AM - 2PM is the ideal time to arrive, but if you have been on our trips and have had your virtual equipment shakedown, you can arrive later.

Note: Flights to Fresno can be expensive, so book early. It's possible that someone else will drive in from Oakland (3+ hours) so we might be able to arrange a carpool if you decide to do this.

Take the free airport shuttle to our local hotel

We will assemble at: TBD, To Be Determined

Mini-equipment shakedown. We reiterate the virtual shakedown you did pre-trip.

Make Your Own Trail Mix Bar from our copious list of ingredients

"Before" body composition measurements taken

If you have forgotten or overlooked gear, we may take a trip to REI, 7810 N Blackstone Ave, Fresno, CA 93720, (559) 261-4168

All the items that you won't bring on the trail will be set aside and placed in storage

If you drove, vehicles may be left at Hotel. However, the hotel may charge you a fee and assumes no responsibility for your car's security and will have you sign a document saying so.

At around 3PM, shuttle to campsite: Yosemite Valley Backpackers Campground, Yosemite Valley, CA 95389, (209) 372-0200. Site(s) TBD Elevation: 4000'

Shuttling will take about 2.5 hours

Guides prepare dinner in camp. On some trips with longer shuttle times, we may opt to go out for an opening dinner at a local restaurant. (Cost of restaurant dinner not included in trip price)

Camp at Yosemite Valley Backpackers Campground, Yosemite Valley, CA 95389, (209) 372-0200. Site(s) TBD Elevation: 4000'

We must pick up the wilderness permit first if the office is still open, otherwise we will do it in the morning.

Be prepared to set up camp in the dark if we leave Fresno late.

Monday, August 5, 2024

Pick up backcountry permit and bear canisters if we have not already done so

Shuttle to Tuolumne Meadows Trailhead (about 1 hour)

Start hiking at Tuolumne Meadows Parking lot, elevation 8590'

Hike 5.2 miles on the Tenaya Lake Trail to the Medlicott Dome Approach, elevation 8530'

Hike 1.0 steep uphill miles on the Medlicott Dome Approach to Lower Cathedral Lake, elevation 9300'

This 1 mile is an unmarked route, not an established trail although people use it all the time. Expect steep exposed slabs of rock and an occasional drop off. It is rated as moderately difficult and will take extra time to complete and will be a huge contrast to the relatively easy hiking at the outset of the day.

Camp at Lower Cathedral Lake, elevation 8530'

Miles today: 6.2 miles. Total to Date: 6.2 miles

Possible Bailout: Tioga Rd

Tuesday, August 6, 2024

Hike 5.3 miles on the John Muir Trail to Sunrise Camp, elevation 9400'

Turn right and hike 2.0 miles up and over Sunrise Pass past two of the Sunrise Lakes to Lower Sunrise Lake, elevation 9400'

Camp at Sunrise Lake, elevation 9400. There are excellent swimming opportunities here.

Miles today: 7.3. Total miles: 13.5

Possible bailout: Tioga road

Wednesday, August 7, 2024

Hike 0.4 miles on the Sunrise Lakes Trail to the Clouds Rest Trail, elevation 9220'

Hike 3.5 miles on the Clouds Rest Trail to the summit of Clouds Rest, elevation 9931'

OMG look at the view!

Hike 3.3 downhill miles to a trail intersection near Sunrise Creek, elevation 7190'

Camp in a dispersed campsite along the Sunrise Creek tributary, elevation 7190'

We will stay here 2 nights

Miles today: 7.2. Total miles: 20.7

Possible bailout: Tenaya Lake, but it's far

Thursday, August 8, 2024

Day-hiking only today. Keep tents pitched at Sunrise Creek. Although mileage is low and we'll only be carrying day-packs, be mentally prepared for a (doable) challenge.'

Day-hike about 5.1 round-trip miles to the summit of Half Dome, elevation 8836'

Take lots of photos of this iconic view and drink in the grandeur.

Camp at Sunrise Creek, elevation 7190'

Miles today: 5.1. Total miles: 25.8

Possible bailout: Happy Isles, but it's pretty far

Friday, August 9, 2024

The first half of today will be steadily uphill. The second half of today will be just slightly uphill.

Hike 10.3 uphill miles on the John Muir Trail to Upper Cathedral Lake, elevation 9590'.

Miles today: 10.3. Total miles: 36.1

Possible bailout: Tioga Rd.

Saturday, August 10, 2024

Hike 3.8 downhill miles on the John Muir Trail back to Tuolumne Meadows, elevation 8590'

End of hiking

Miles today: 3.8. Total miles: 39.9

Possible bailout: Tioga Road

Shuttle back to local hotel: TBD, To Be Determined

Gather your off-trail items from storage

After body composition measurements taken

Dinner and awards ceremony at a local restaurant (Dinner cost not included in trip price)

Stay in our local hotel (included in trip cost)

This is the official end of the trip. You are welcome to spend the night at the hotel, however if you drove and would like to get on the road or if you flew and would like to schedule a late flight (or a red-eye if this is a West Coast trip) you can definitely do so.

Sunday, August 11, 2024

Take free airport shuttle or we will pay for a shared cab/Uber

Back to top