Iconic, stunning and a little scary
This and Angel’s Landing in Zion are the very best day hikes. Ever. Anywhere. Adventurous, fun, hard, thrilling and a little scary. You definitely have a sense of accomplishment, because you accomplished something significant.
I’ve been up on Half Dome numerous times, and even did a couple of fly-bys in my airplane in order to take photos and videos of my wife’s hiking group as they gathered on top (see video at bottom). We also did the cables at night, during a almost-full moon, in order to watch the sunrise on top. That I’ll never forget.
Our daughter went through a period of liking to look down from high places, so we found the infamous King’s Chair (read the book, Shattered Air) and she sat right on the edge as you can see in the photo taken by my wife. But if you look close you’ll see a band around her midsection. That is a piece of rope and I’m behind her holding on. She isn’t going anywhere.
You’ll need a permit to do the cables and they are so popular that there is a lottery to get a permit. Which is fine because the crowding before the permitting took place was just nuts, and very dangerous. So be patient and keep trying for a permit.
The climb itself is a little scary – the rock has been worn by thousands of people so you really do need to use the wooden plank/steps. Your legs are much stronger than your arms so stay balanced over your feet, step up, and try not to pull too much with your arms. Unless you are young and strong then do anything you want.