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.


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What customers are saying after travelling with Tourdust

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  • Everything was fab, I especially loved Tuningi such a special place and my son got to see his favourite animal the cheetah (after a bit of time hunting about on foot!). Mauritius is lovely we saw quite a bit of the island in the end.

    MissingLaura L reviewing South Africa Safari and Mauritius on 12 December 2018

  • We had a wonderful trip to Morocco. What a fascinating country. Thank you so much for all of your help making things smooth and less stressful!

    Here are a few things we wanted to pass on:

    Dar Housnia was absolutely delightful. It was like an entire wing of a house to ourselves with perfect Moroccan decor. The private area where we ate was so cute, the riad staff so accommodating. I loved waking in the cozy space with our family and hearing both call to prayer as well as roosters. Just perfect.

    I was a little unclear how to ask what time we were being picked up etc, but your office promptly replied to my emails - even on weekends- when we had these questions about transport times. Once, we met our guide in Imlil these details we not problematic as our guide “Abraham” totally took care of us. Abraham was awesome. You should definitely request him again in the future. He was young (29)and energetic. He had a ton of hiking experience in Imlil as he was from there. He also seemed to know everything else about morocco, the desert, the culture, etc, etc. He was approachable, kind, patient, great with our kids and answered SO MANY of our questions.

    The hike was lovely - after rain the day prior in Marrakech - there was snow in the mountains. It was gorgeous. We may have been up for a longer hike up Mt Taboukel if I had known this was a realistic option for families ( I thought from reading that it was too technical for us). Yet not sure we had enough days for all these things always since getting in the desert was a priority.

    The mountain house, Dar adar, was just as described… very basic. The wifi was broken (which was a nice break when you have pre-teens addicted to phones, plus my husband called no wifi an amenity to not be available by email for his work!)). There was no heat and the fireplace helped a tad - but was so very cold in the rooms. My husband loved the rustic space, I may have gone up one step in niceness of mountain accommodation if I had to do it over again. Yet, meeting the other families in this Dar Adar (including another Tourdust family from England) made this house very memorable.

    We were then joined by our driver for the next several days, Jamal. What a fun guy and a perfect driver. He could joke with my kids, he had a fun smile, and he had worked with Abraham before so they were a great team. The drive to desert was long as I knew it would be. It was nice to have the stop on way there near Ait Ben Haddu. The drive back from desert was long. It was more near 10 hours of driving (plus 1 hour at lunch = 11 hours) but I wouldn’t have made any different choices.

    The luxury desert camp was far and away the highlight of our trip. The tents were adorable, I was sufficiently warm even at night inside the tent. We loved the camel riding, the ATV vehicles at a nearby camp, sunsets on the dunes, music around the camp fire, meals with others at the camp and more.

    The last night was at Riad Jona. This was so very very lovely. The food was amazing - such a good idea to eat here after our long drive back to Marrakech. They had a small dining pool plus a hot tub which was delightful. It was almost more of a boutique hotel as it had several rooms.

    MissingGwyneth R reviewing Luxury Family Desert Holiday on 11 December 2018

  • The trip was amazing everything was better than we could have imagined.
    There was a moment climbing the mount Kenya where my wife accused me of tricking her into doing this (half kidding) as some of the nights got pretty cold, but we were dressed well and the sunrise at the peak was astonishing.
    Safari was spectacular, Ben who was our main guide and driver was awesome! We saw everything excepts rhinos which were more of a hope than a reality. We also were able to watch a rock python eat a Thompson gazel live. It was one of the most interesting and unsettling things I have ever seen.
    Just overall, so many moments that make you think wow or I can't believe I am here. Thank you for your help in getting everything set up. I don't believe I could have booked the trip without your help and guidance. It was an amazing way to start our marriage and truly the trip of a lifetime!

    MissingWilliam K reviewing 11 Day Mount Kenya Trek and Masai Mara Safari Combined on 29 October 2018

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