Large half dome hiking weekend in yosemite

Half Dome Backpacking Weekend in Yosemite

See the top of the world-famous Half Dome, a granite block rising majestically over the Yosemite Valley in California’s Sierra Nevada! Hiking along different routes up and down, this long weekend will give you the maximum exposure to the views, geology and landscape in the Yosemite Valley.

Small Group Adventure 4 days

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

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The Half Dome lies in the very heart of the Yosemite mountains, which form part of the 400mile Sierra Nevada range running from north to south in California. It is a well-known sight in the National Park, offering an incomparable view from its peak that rises more than 4,737 feet above the rest of the Yosemite Valley. Getting there, involves getting deep into the wilderness, far away from modern civilisation, following the Mist and John Muir trails, some of the most famous treks in the world. A truly unique way of seeing the work nature has done on this landscape over millions of years.

This 4 day half dome backpacking trip takes you deep into the back country and conquering the Yosemite’s iconic natural landmark; the Half Dome. You will start off, hiking along the Mist Trail following the Merced River along its U-shaped valley. You will pass some spectacular scenery, including the 180m high Nevada Falls and the 97m high Vernal Falls. At the latter, you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a complete circular rainbow – an extremely rare sight elsewhere in the world. However, the ultimate highlight of the trip is reaching the summit of the Half Dome, which you will accomplish on your third day. From there, you will enjoy breath-taking panoramic views stretching across Yosemite. On your descent, you will follow the scenic John Muir trail back down to Curry Village.

Please note, this is a back packing trip, which means that you will be carrying your own equipment, including camping gear.


Day 1: Check in at Curry Village anytime after 5pm. At 7pm, you will meet the guide to go through the plan of the trip and last minute details.

Day 2: After breakfast on your own, you meet the group at 7.30am to set off on the hike. You will follow the Mist Trail, which makes its way eastwards through the valley of the Merced River and passing the famous waterfalls of Vernal and Nevada. The trip is 5.3 miles long, and ends at Little Yosemite Valley at 6,140 feet, where you make your camp for the night.

Day 3: After breakfast, you climb the Half Dome, the most famous top in the Yosemite Valley. At 8,847 feet above sea level, it offers a stunning view of the mountains and surrounding landscape. As you descend to complete the 8,8 miles round trip, the evening is free for relaxation, swimming and stargazing in the stable summer weather.

Day 4: After a nourishing breakfast, you head back down to the Yosemite Valley, this time following the famous John Muir Trail that stretches about 6,6 miles along a scenic route. Arrival back at Curry Village is in the early afternoon.


Getting there

Fly to San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles or Fresno International Airport. Hire a car and drive from there.

Is it for me?

Before you think about signing up for a trip like this, make sure you are fit enough to complete the day hikes - some of them close to 9 miles and with a rapid elevation gain. That said, the trip is graded as “intermediate”, so there is nothing to stop you from getting in shape, and preparing at home before you go – but make sure you are comfortable with carrying a backpack for long periods of time. With a group size of maximum 13, it will be a close and cosy atmosphere, well suited for both couples and solo travellers.

What customers are saying after travelling with Tourdust

Average Rating

based on 602 reviews


  • Thanks for organising an excellent holiday for us. It's my first time using Tourdust and I've been really impressed and will certainly be recommending you to friends and family. You provided an excellent level of service all the way through, and the bespoke nature of the trip was fantastic whilst being really good value for money.
    Key highlights:
    - Le Kasbah de Toubkal blew us away - one not to miss!
    - The trek was amazing and my kids loved it. The camping was really fun, the food was excellent, and I'd particularly call out our guide Rashid who was fantastic show especially with my kids.
    - Riad Adore was outstanding - far exceeding my expectations - it was beautiful and we were very well looked after
    - Le Doux Tour was luxurious and a nice relaxing way to end the holiday.
    - Logistics were great and our main driver Mustapha was brilliant

    If there was one build / thing I would change, it's a very small one but some candles / lanterns to use in the evening whilst camping would have made it easier to stay outside for a bit longer.

    MissingMark Dilley reviewing Boutique Marrakech & Atlas Mountains on 07 June 2016

  • Truly another world. The sky was enormous and the summits snow covered. Blue irises, wild herbs and fruit trees flowered on the slopes. Even as I toiled up the dry river bed I gazed in admiration.

    Without exception, everyone was courteous and welcoming. Food was good ( and far too plentiful); accommodation clean. Above all-everything worked! A pick-up was promised for 9.00am. At 8.55 the doorbell rang. Impeccable.

    No praise is too high for the organisation and staff. I am definitely going back.

    MissingTerence Humphreys reviewing Classic Atlas Valleys & Villages Trek on 16 May 2016

  • Our trip was excellent. Thank you! We were particularly impressed with the way it all worked seamlessly: someone was at each arrival point to meet us (or Alex was on the end of the phone to tell us what to do) or there was a phone message at Reception for when to expect someone.

    The Jerusalem Hotel in Lalibela is not the same standard as Tukul Villages but it was OK for one night & we had plenty of warning. Lalibela at Christmas is pretty manic: full to bursting!

    I must say that Alex looked after us well. He came to see us in Gondar to make sure everything was in place for the Simiens Trek & that we knew what to expect. When we got back after it, there he was again! Small but highly-valued pieces of customer care, evident again when he spoke to drivers while we were travelling.

    All the staff who worked with us were of high quality, especially drivers and guides. Two who stood out were Younus, our driver both times we were in Addis Ababa, who we felt went beyond the call of duty & made our time there enjoyable - our last evening when waiting for a 2 a.m. flight could have been a drag, was in fact absolutely fine because of his suggestions (the Via Via cafe for dinner & then Mama's Kitchen for some music) and company.

    The Simiens Trek was outstanding. Spectacular scenery, challenging at times, full of interest. Key to making it so was Dereje Gedamu who is a wonderful guide: we felt privileged to have him. he was ably assisted by the other staff & when our first, excellent chef had to leave at short notice to visit his mother in hospital, a replacement was found immediately (at Chenek!) who fed us to the same high standard. It was all a great experience that we will be talking about for a long time.

    We were all pleased to have selected the 8 day option (& were not at all jealous of the peak-baggers heading for Ras Dashen). The second half of the trek was a good contrast to the high altitude section in the National Park's heartland as we descended through more intensively cultivated and populated areas, down steeply to the river and then back up past wonderful rock formations towards Mulit and out to the road at Adi Arkaye. It was full of interest and we were pleased to be pretty much on our own, rather than with the crowds at Geech & Chenek.

    By comparison, the TESFA trek was rather tame, although an interesting comparison to see a more pastoral landscape and less remote villages. We had another good guide & enjoyed the lunch & evening stops, and the "loos with a view".

    Pleased as we were that we had opted to drive from Bahir Dar to Lalibela, we had mixed feelings about driving the rough Gashena-Lalibela road three times - the starting and finishing points for the TESFA trek were just beyond Gashena. In 3 years when the road is complete this point may become academic, but meanwhile - if anyone else wants to do the same thing - it would be better for them to drive from Bahir Dar to Gashena, meet the TESFA crew there, do the trek & then continue to Lalibela. I am sure that TESFA could look after any extra baggage that people did not want on the trek.

    One other point about the TESFA trek: we were not aware that there are several grades offered. I think we did the easiest and might well have preferred something more challenging so perhaps you could clarify the options available.

    Only one other critical comment: we were underwhelmed by the Mayleko Lodge near Gondar airport. It was indeed welcome to have somewhere peaceful to return to after the trek, the rooms are nice & a couple of us enjoyed a "refreshing" swim, but on the other hand the restaurant was pretty mediocre and slow: we might have preferred to be out in the town.

    Apart from that it was all good! A glimpse of Addis and another of Gondar; trekking with some R&R in Bahir Dar with its different scenery and history, ending with the religious fervour at Lalibela. A great holiday.

    MissingGordon Parker reviewing Simien Mountains Trek & Northern Highlights on 09 February 2016

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