Of all Yosemite’s granitic monoliths, Half Dome is perhaps the most iconic. Rising nearly 5,000 feet above the Valley floor, showing off a glacier-sheared granite face, it is one of the national park system’s most celebrated landmarks. Half Dome takes “HD” to a totally new level.  

Half Dome is visible across much of eastern Yosemite Valley, including on the road between Yosemite Village and Yosemite Lodge and roads near Curry Village. Mirror Lake is a popular place to see Half Dome from up close. It's a two-mile round-trip walk on a paved trail. 

Half Dome is among the park’s most recognizable landmarks – and one of its most popular challenges. And although thousands make it to the summit each year, the hike to Half Dome isn’t something to be taken lightly or attempted by the unprepared.  

Please note: permits are required seven days a week to hike Half Dome. You must obtain a permit in advance by applying online. No permits are issued in the park and there are usually more applicants than there are permits. See the National Park Service page on Half Dome Permits for more information.

Where did the other half of Half Dome go?

This is one of the most common questions people ask. There are two parts to this answer.

First, Half Dome never had another half. About 80% of the original dome is still there. If you look at Half Dome from a location like Washburn Point on the Glacier Point Road, you'll see that it looks more like a fairly narrow fin of rock than a perfectly round dome. So the first part of the answer is that most of Half Dome is still there.

But that still raises the question of what happened to the missing part. If you stand out at the Fissures on Taft Point and look across, you can see that there are many fracture lines that run parallel to the face of Half Dome. As Half Dome exfoliated along these fracture lines, the face fell away into the valley, and the debris was then carried away by glaciers.