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Hack for Hiking 'Half Dome' at Yosemite While Avoiding Crowds Certainly Isn't for Everyone

Of all the amazing hikes one can take in Yosemite National Park, the most famous- and one of the most challenging- is the iconic hike up the Half Dome. With its notoriety though, plus its length- a 10 to 12 hour round trip!- the path can get overwhelmed with hikers fast, making an already difficult hike even more challenging.

Like so many visitors to Yosemite, TikTok user @hannah.choi wanted to beat the crowds and enjoy her hike in peace. Here's her experience climbing up the Half Dome- and how she managed to beat the rush while doing it!

So there's the catch- if you want to make it a quiet early morning hike, you gotta start way early- like 2:30 am early. We can definitely see some downsides- not everyone has it in them to get up that early, and we expect the first few hours of hiking through the darkness might get a little scary. However, when we thinking about getting to see the sun rising on that beautiful hike up, and having the summit all to ourselves before the sun makes it too hot to relax, we personally feel like the pros outweigh the cons by a lot.

"Do you still need a permit going up this early in the day?" asked @kaysull76_. "There wasn’t a ranger present the morning we went up. But in general, yes, would recommend securing a permit just in case!" responded Hannah. It's always better to be safe than sorry!

User @emsterrush had a similar Half Dome hiking experience to Hannah's- but the few hours difference in start time translated to a big difference in the hiking experience! "We started at 5am and did the cables around 10:30am no traffic, but after 11 it got packed! Tons of traffic coming back down but a great time still." Traffic coming down those cables sounds stressful to us- turns out those extra 2 and a half hours can make a huge difference!

A 2:30 am start time for a hike might not be for everyone. However, when trying to avoid crowds and beat the heat on such a popular trail as the Half Dome, the super-early start time might just be worth it!