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Is Yosemite worth it if not doing Half-Dome hike?

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London, United...
posts: 211
reviews: 95
Is Yosemite worth it if not doing Half-Dome hike?

Hi, we have booked flights to SF to spend a week early May, 2 days SF, 1 day Napa and 3/4 days Yosemite. But I just found out that the cable for the Half Dome hike will only be up on the 27th, so it's not possible to do that hike.

Question: Are there still other interesting, breathtaking (strenuous if possible) hikes for us to do? From what I've read, Half-Dome is the main attraction - I don't know if I am perhaps being too dramatic, but I am comparing going to Yosimite and not doing the Half Dome hike like going to Rome and only seeing the Colosseum from far and not going in. I am hoping to be swayed though as we really like our hikes and would love to go to Yosimite.

So, in summary - just want an opinion as to whether I should still go to Yosemite for a couple of days or find some other parks to go to and leabe Yosemite for some other time.

Thanks v.m.

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
posts: 37,765
reviews: 59
1. Re: Is Yosemite worth it if not doing Half-Dome hike?

I think your comparison is ... odd. You can see Half Dome from many places in the Park. You don't have to climb it to enjoy the Park. If it's on *your* must-do list, that's fine. But it isn't a must-do for most visitors.

The best hiking in Yosemite is July, August, & September and it's in the high country. In August, the snow is melted off the trails and the mosquitoes are usually gone. But you're looking at May, not the ideal hiking season for the high country. May is usually the time folks come to Yosemite to see the waterfalls.

Assuming you have good route finding experience, high river crossing experience, and ability to hike at high elevation, consider Cloud's Rest. I don't know if it will be do-able in May, but consider it. Tioga Road must be open for you to do this hike, and again, you MUST be good at crossing high cold fast water AND finding trails that are covered by snow.

Another option is to go up 4 Mile Trail from the Valley to Glacier Point and down Panorama Trail.

Seasonal info nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/seasonal.htm (Includes dates that 4 Mile Trail has opened in the past 3 years, snow pack for the past 32 years, and opening date of Tioga Pass & Glacier Point. Early May may be just too early.)

www.YosemiteHikes.com

London, United...
posts: 211
reviews: 95
2. Re: Is Yosemite worth it if not doing Half-Dome hike?

Thanks for the tips. Will start researching this. I think you raised a very good point - seeing Yosemite in May and in the summer would be different.

Another option would be for us to do Redwood this time and leave Yosemite for another time perhaps when the Half Dome is open.

Edited: 10:34 am, January 24, 2013
San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
posts: 21,509
reviews: 114
3. Re: Is Yosemite worth it if not doing Half-Dome hike?

>>>Another option would be for us to do Redwood this time and leave Yosemite for another time perhaps when the Half Dome is open ?

Just to give you some numbers and perhaps PNWF has the exact ones, about 300 permits are issued each day via the half dome permit system and compare that to about 4,000,000 who visit the park each year so you can see why your comparison in Rome does not apply here But if you are avid climbers, clearly this one is one that should be done It may be a case of I say tomatoes and you say tomatoes but this is not a hike, it is a climb and great for folks who love to climb.

Do you mean Redwood National park ? That is about 6 hours North of SF and not in the same vicinity as YNP

Edited: 10:53 am, January 24, 2013
LA
Destination Expert
for Kohala Coast, Island of Hawaii
posts: 8,963
reviews: 1
4. Re: Is Yosemite worth it if not doing Half-Dome hike?

I think Yosemite is a fascinating and outstanding park. However, it is what you make of it.

Half-dome is not a particularly challenging hike other than to determine your tolerance of heights and your ability to deal with other people on the chains.

San Francisco...
posts: 3,057
reviews: 109
5. Re: Is Yosemite worth it if not doing Half-Dome hike?

Yosemite has good hiking options in may. The waterfalls will be great in May and if Half dome didnt exist, these hiles alone will make it worthwhile. Its like going to nyc and the guggenheim is closed but moma and met are open.

2 great strenous hikes to consider: upper yosemite falls and mist trails

everytrail.com/guide/upper-yosemite-fall-hike

yosemitehikes.com/yosemite-valley/mist-trail…

Mariposa, California
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
posts: 2,129
reviews: 38
6. Re: Is Yosemite worth it if not doing Half-Dome hike?

If you're looking for a very strenous day hike with spectacular views, you can always consider not just the Upper Yosemite Fall trail, but continuing west from the top of Yosemite Falls a couple miles to Eagle Peak, which is the top of the three brothers. The distance and elevation gain will make you work. Not very many people head over to Eagle Peak, so you'll likely have that area to yourself (as opposed to the top of half dome). Plus it will take you past Yosemite Falls.

Couple notes about that trail, because it will likely be early season (which is why Half Dome cables don't always go up in May), you'll want to check in with the visitor center about trail finding at the top of Upper Yosemite Fall. Some years the snow doesn't melt, or alternatively, the meadow crossing to Eagle Peak might be very, very flooded. Know that sections of the Upper Fall trail will be VERY wet...thing streams running across the trail, so waterproof shoes are good, along with a good rain coat.

If you ask most rangers, they'll give you a huge list of hikes they'd much rather do than Half Dome. It's a great hike, but there are so many other amazing options in this park that is 1200 square miles.

Happy planning!

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
posts: 10,507
reviews: 41
7. Re: Is Yosemite worth it if not doing Half-Dome hike?

** "I don't know if I am perhaps being too dramatic, but I am comparing going to Yosimite and not doing the Half Dome hike like going to Rome and only seeing the Colosseum from far and not going in" **

Like PNWF, I am also finding this a rather odd comparison. If you knew you could go to Rome and only see the Colosseum but not go in, would you dismiss Rome as not being worth it, and pass it up completely?

Yosemite National Park is about 1,200 square miles. It has other hikes and climbs, remote alpine lakes, wildlife to see (maybe bears if you are lucky), and magnificent landscapes that are found nowhere else. It is a place of unique natural splendor. If this is your first visit to Yosemite, I hope you have more reasons for going and will find more reasons to love it (and to return) than just climbing Half Dome.

New York City, New...
posts: 1,652
reviews: 6
8. Re: Is Yosemite worth it if not doing Half-Dome hike?

I would never hike Half Dome. Pushing through crowds is not my idea of fun. That's why I also avoid Times Square.

California
posts: 10,878
reviews: 12
9. Re: Is Yosemite worth it if not doing Half-Dome hike?

Actually Half Dome is not the main attraction at Yosemite. You'll hear far more people rave about the waterfalls in Yosemite than those who rave about hiking to Half Dome.

When I go to Yosemite in April and the weather has been warming up - there is water literally coming out of everywhere. There are waterfalls that are only seasonal that a visitor in April & May will see that visitors during other times of the year will not see and don't even know exist. The main waterfalls are gushing like mad, the Mighty Merced is roaring and the park seems to be coming alive after a long winter sleep.

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
posts: 37,765
reviews: 59
10. Re: Is Yosemite worth it if not doing Half-Dome hike?

Bayatuning ~ Pushing through crowds? Are you familiar with the new permit system? The limit is now 300 hikers (225 day hikers & 75 backpackers.) You will no longer share the trail & cables with 800 - 1,000 other people in one day. The NPS is striving for a quality wilderness experience.

Half Dome info tripadvisor.com/Travel-g61000-d139183 (This article includes a link to MrHalfDome's website.)

marmot ~ I like your suggestion of Upper Yosemite Fall + Eagle Peak. We only went as far as the top of the Upper Fall on our June hike a few years ago.