By Andrea Romano
May 19, 2019

This hike is not for the faint of heart.

One of the most famous and popular hikes in Yosemite National Park is the Half Dome, found at the eastern end of Yosemite Valley.

The gigantic hike attracts hundreds of hikers all year long due to its unsurpassed views, gorgeous waterfalls and miles of beautiful forests you can see along the trail.

It also happens to be an extremely dangerous hike, especially if you’re unprepared.

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Forest rangers for Yosemite warn hikers that this all-day hike is best to be started at dawn, or even a little before, in order to complete it safely. Depending on where you begin the trail, you could be walking between seven and 23 miles round trip. Usually, hikers need a full 12 hours in order to walk the full trail, and no one wants to find their way down the steep path in the dark.

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Hikers should make sure they have plenty of food, water and are physically fit to hike the trail — and you’d be surprised at how demanding it actually is. The park suggests hikers have a full gallon of water to drink during the day, plenty of food and well-tread hiking boots. You’ll also need a permit to even begin the trail.

In addition, always keep an eye on the weather. Most accidents and rescues happen when the trail is wet, making it very slick. Especially when hikers are at the top of the dome, exposed to the elements, or holding on to the metal cables, risk of lightning strikes can be treacherous.

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But as long as hikers take the proper precautions, hiking the Half Dome is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Half Dome’s peak rests at 8,842 feet, which is about 4,800 feet from Yosemite Valley, and the trail has 900 feet of waterfalls and quite possibly the widest view you can find once you reach the top.

If you do plan on prepping for a hike, you can find more information on the Half Dome on the Yosemite National Park website.

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