Hiking In Yosemite Is Best Away From Crowds
If visiting Yosemite is listed as number one on your bucket list, there is a good chance, especially if you are an outdoorsy person, that hiking to the top of Half Dome is a close number two.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. Half Dome is the iconic rock of Yosemite, the trademark view. It’s the symbol of the park, and even the logo of the clothing company The North Face. Yes, it’s a famous spot and an amazing place to hike. Why wouldn’t you want to hike to the top and mark this off your bucket list?
First, you need to look at your level of athleticism. Hiking to the top of Half Dome is not like riding the elevator in the Empire State Building. There is major work involved, more than riding in a luxury automobile from San Francisco with a private guide and spending multiple nights camping overnight in the woods. Can you carry 40 pounds (20 kilos) of equipment on your back for multiple miles? Can you deal with twigs in your shoes, dust on your legs, and complaining muscles as you meander the trails, not knowing if you’ll run into a bear around the corner? Can your body handle sleeping on the ground for multiple nights on a small foam mattress? If so, then hey, maybe Half Dome is for you.
Then there’s your mindset. Have you ever wanted to do something incredible, then when you got close, everyone else in the world wanted to do it as well, then the rarity and specialty of where you were going and what you were doing wasn’t so special anymore? The Pyramids of Giza is a great example. You see the photos on the Internet, ready for the most serene place ever, then you arrive in person, and really? This incredible spot is actually a tourist mecca? Is there a way around the crowds? Half Dome can feel the same, which is why choosing the right tour operator is vital in giving you a rewarding experience.
Little Yosemite Valley, the campground below the Half Dome cables, is anything but private. Picture people ringing their friends back home from the top of Half Dome: “Guess where I am?” Or waiting for crowds to come down on the cables before you ascend. Are these the experiences you are looking for? Do the other tour operators explain this to you before you reserve your tour?
Instead, maybe you are the type of individual who wants an expert to custom plan a Yosemite hike for you. Based on your abilities and interests, you no doubt want to see the best of Yosemite for the time of year, whether spring, summer, or winter. Did you ever stop to consider that Yosemite, with its 800 miles of trails and even more of backcountry exploring, is infinitely more than Half Dome?
Ask these questions: Where do the locals go when they visit Yosemite? Yes, they have probably hiked Half Dome, because it really is a bucket-list caliber climb. But do they go back? Or do they instead venture into other parts of Yosemite, sometimes hiking the same trail three, four, or five times before doing Half Dome again. If you had the advantage to ask a local, what do you think he or she would say? Do you want to go on a Yosemite hike from San Francisco to feel like a tourist or a local?
Think of it this way: Do you really want to do the hike that everyone else is doing (and at the same time everyone else is doing it)? If so, we have no problem offering and taking you on a private Half Dome guided hiking tour. However, if you are into something more, and want to discover the real Yosemite, let our guides talk to you and plan something stellar. Maybe, based on what you desire, the trip might include Half Dome. But it might mean something better, more incredible, and more local, planned only for you, not even close to the rock, but more.
Open your mind to hikes beyond Half Dome. Expand your bucket list.