Clouds Rest/Half Dome

Trip Description

This memorable Yosemite hiking trip will take you to some of the best views in the park. Our route heads to the summit of both Clouds Rest and the iconic Half Dome. The journey begins in Yosemite’s high country along the shores of Tenaya Lake, climbs up past the Sunrise Lakes and along the spine of Clouds Rest before heading towards Half Dome and Little Yosemite Valley. Along the way you will witness crystal clear streams and jagged mountain peaks and camp beneath the gorgeous starry skies of the Sierra Nevada. Two of Yosemite’s most iconic waterfalls, Vernal & Nevada Falls, will cap off this amazing hike just before arriving at trail’s end in Yosemite Valley. Join us for a fantastic Yosemite backpacking experience and summer hiking vacation to remember.


Trip Details

Type: Backpacking

Days: 4 Days

Distance: 25 miles

Difficulty: Intermediate

Origin: Curry Village, Yosemite National Park

Cost: $1575


Trip Itinerary

Day 1:

This classic Yosemite backpacking adventure starts in Curry Village in Yosemite Valley at a pre-determined time. From here we will catch a scenic, hour-long shuttle to Tenaya Lake and the Sunrise Trailhead. On today’s hike we will leave beautiful Tenaya Lake in the background as we climb gradually to our first nights camp along the banks of Sunrise Lake. Once settled in, there will be opportunities to explore the area or just relax in this alpine wonderland.
Shuttle Time: 1 hour
Distance/Elevation: 5 miles, 1200 foot ascent
Lunch, Dinner

Day 2:

After breakfast we will pack up camp – hiking out of the spruce and fir forest and gaining incredible views of Tenaya Canyon and the Sunrise Mountain area. Our destination is Clouds Rest (9926ft). We will take time here to soak in some of the biggest views Yosemite has to offer. From the summit you will be looking down at Half Dome, Yosemite Valley and all the surrounding granite domes and peaks for which Yosemite is famous. After our spectacular morning hike we will work our way to camp so we can rest up for the following day.
Distance/Elevation: 9 miles, 1000 foot ascent/ 2000 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3:

With a very early start, we will have breakfast and then begin our trek towards the Half Dome summit, leaving our big packs back at camp so we can travel up and down Half Dome with just the necessities in small day packs. We will take in views of Basket Dome, North Dome and Clouds Rest as we work our way up to Sub Dome and the base of the cables. The trail is steep and demanding but the views in the early morning are unforgettable. We will break at Sub Dome, catch our breaths, and enjoy a snack. From here, we will begin our climb up The Cables where you will gain the final 400 feet to the top of Half Dome. Enjoy the 360 degree panorama stretching from El Capitan to the colorful Clark Range and everything in between. This is a truly remarkable location to spend some time. After resting and soaking in the views, we will retrace our steps back to camp. From here we will continue on the historic John Muir Trail to the Little Yosemite Valley and the Merced River for our last night.
Distance/Elevation: 9 miles, 2000 foot ascent/ 2500 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

*Notes about climbing Half Dome- The Cable Route is not for everyone. It is extremely exposed and steep and those with a fear of heights will NOT enjoy it. However, summiting Half Dome is not required and the views from Sub Dome are also spectacular! Those choosing not to summit can wait at Sub Dome and enjoy the sights until the rest of the group returns.

Day 4:

After another night under the star filled sky, we will enjoy one last breakfast in the wilderness before packing up camp. The hike out will follow the historic John Muir Trail back to the valley. This route winds through beautiful forest along the opposite the side of the Merced River, affording equally stunning views as our hike up on the first day. We will arrive back at the parking area to sort through our gear before car-pooling back to Curry Village for a final lunch and fond farewells.
Distance/Elevation: 5.5 miles/2000 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch

*Final itineraries are occasionally subject to change due to permit/campsite availability, park restrictions/closures, weather conditions and/or road closures.


What's Included

  • A professional, licensed and medically trained guide
  • All necessary gear: backpack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, trekking poles
  • All cooking/eating gear: bowls, cups, utensils (your guide will prepare all meals)
  • All meals from lunch on Day 1 through lunch on the last day + trail snacks
  • Backcountry permits and fees
  • 5% NPS Commercial Fee (a required fee that passes through to Yosemite National Park)

What's Not Included:

  • Transportation to/from Yosemite National Park
  • Lodging the night before/after the trip
  • Clothing, raingear, and footwear
  • Personal toiletries, sunscreen
  • Water bottles/hydration bladder
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (suggested about 10-20% of trip cost)

*Upon booking you will receive a detailed trip information packet

How many people are in the group?

Most trips in Yosemite will accommodate 5 people plus one guide. On occasion, a group may be as large as 12 people plus 2 guides.

Are there age restrictions?

Children under the age of 13 are generally not permitted on regularly scheduled trips. This restriction may be negotiable on private tours. Please contact us with any questions regarding this policy.

How do I sign up?

In order to confirm a reservation, we require an initial non-refundable deposit of $250 per person, with the final balance due 90 days prior to the trip’s departure. If you book a trip within 90 days of the trip’s scheduled departure, then full payment is due at the time of booking.

Your deposit is payable over the phone by Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, or Discover. You can also pay by personal check or PayPal (PayPal incurs a 1.5% surcharge). Call our office Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm Arizona time. 1-877-272-5032

Travel Logistics

Where does the trip begin/end?

This trip will begin/end in Yosemite National Park. You will want to fly into San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Fresno, or Reno. You will need to arrange your own transportation from airports to the park. In most cases, renting a car is your easiest and best option.

Where do meet our guides?

We will hold a pre-trip orientation at 5:00pm the evening prior to your trip’s departure at the at a pre-arranged location inside the park. Departure times and logistics for the following morning will be discussed at the orientation. Most trips will depart between 7am and 9am.

What do we do with our car and extra stuff?

On the first morning of your trip, you will follow your guide to the long-term parking area where you can leave your car and personal belongings for the duration of the hike. You can also check with your hotel to see if they are willing to store your luggage for you while you hike.

What time will we get back on the last day?

Most trips end at lunchtime on the last day of the trip. If you are considering flying home on the last day of the trip, you should be finished up around 2pm. Since each trip has slightly different logistics, feel free to contact us with specific questions related to the expected return time for your trip.

Trip Dates

2024 Dates

August: 6-9

September: 1-5

Don’t see your dates? Custom dates may be available!

Call 1-877-272-5032 or email us for details.

Guest Testimonials

Guest Testimonials

Incredible 4th of July Yosemite Trip with FSG! This was my second time on a backpacking trip with Four Seasons (second time in three months if that tells you anything about how much I’ve enjoyed both). Yosemite is without a doubt one of the most incredible places I’ve ever visited. We had the pleasure of climbing to Clouds Rest and up Half Dome and as a group decided there was no better way to spend the 4th of July Holiday!

Matt, our tour guide, was awesome! He expertly led us through the back country, prepared delicious food for us, and was instrumental in helping our whole group get through some more strenuous portions of the trip. I personally was very excited about climbing Half Dome, but realized once I was at the cables that I was far more afraid of heights than I think I ever realized. Both Matt and the other members on my trip were so incredibly supportive and patient that we all made it to the top together–true praise for both Four Season’s incredible guides and clients alike.
Four Season Guides provides excellent equipment, food, and guidance both before and during the trip–all of which I appreciate as it allows me to train for the trip (do not skip this step, training is critical) at home, but show up and have most everything taken care of once at the park. I cannot recommend FSG enough and am very much looking forward to joining them again!” – Victoria C.