All Trips > California > Yosemite Half Dome Backpacking Yosemite Half Dome Backpacking Choose Your Dates AT A GLANCE California 5 Explorer Chicks Backpacking Backpacking, Bucket List, Hiking, National Park, US-Based, Weekend 4 Days 5 - Highly Strenuous Physical demand level for this trip Live Out John Muir Quotes Photos Itinerary Logistics Activity Level What's Included Choose Your Dates Share Live Out John Muir Quotes Hit your bucket list with all the feels on this women’s guided hiking and backpacking weekend! During your Yosemite Half Dome Hike adventure, tour Yosemite National Park as you climb the famous cables of Half Dome with ladies who do their own stunts. Live out every last one of those John Muir nature quotes in the backcountry of Yosemite National Park. Mountains calling? Check. Between two pines? Check. Walk with nature? Double-check. Romp through the backcountry on a demanding, yet epic backpacking trip. Meet your new woman crushes in the Yosemite Valley as the landscape gives way to mountains, waterfalls, and a piney perfume that’ll make Yankee Candle totally jelly. Mother Nature swiped ALL THE WAY right. Leave the phone on airplane mode to immerse yourself in stunning national park backcountry over the course of four epic days. Climb steep, challenging trails to look down upon the Valley with a panoramic view that includes Mt. Starr King, Half Dome, Nevada Falls, Illilouette Falls, and plenty of ant-sized tourists with tiny selfie sticks. Fuel up for the real MVP—the famous cables of Half Dome! Blast that hiker booty (and bring plenty of water) while ascending 500 feet up a .5 mile of steps carved into the rock. Then, the real fun begins. It’s a 400-foot gain up the top of Half Dome with some points at 70%+ grades. Pace your footwork on wooden slabs spaced out on the climb as you get the upper body workout of a lifetime. Worth it? HELL YES! Don’t have backpacking equipment, but can Beastmaster the stairs? Perfect. Explorer Chick has you covered with all the essentials including a women’s specific backpack, sleeping bag, pad, and shared tents. All you need to do is show up for this Yosemite Half Dome Hike to backpack like a boss and get that National Parks bucket list checked. Photos Itinerary Expand All Days Day 1 - Hello Yosemite National Park Kick off your Yosemite Half Dome guided hike and backpacking trip at the Backpackers Camp in Yosemite Valley. You’ll meet your Explorer Chick Guide in Yosemite Village at 5pm for our Welcome Orientation followed by dinner. Your guide will distribute gear, fit your packs, perform a duffel shuffle, and share details for your upcoming adventure. Afterwards, you’ll get to know your Explorer Chick sisters over a camp meal fit for a queen before settling in for the night at the Backpackers camp. Meals: D Day 2 - Yosemite’s Wild Backcountry Tuck into a yummy breakfast before packing up camp to hike and explore the backcountry. Today is your shortest day of backpacking in the glorious wilderness with plenty of time to make adjustments and find your groove. Breathe in the crisp pine air and howl like a huntress at the towering granite cliffs above. Unplug and get to know your fellow Explorer Chicks. We’ll set up camp off the beaten path at Illilouette Creek before enjoying a relaxed after. Saunter off for some day hiking in the surrounding area, enjoy a good book, lizard on a sunny rock, or take a chilly dip to rinse off the day’s dirt. A hearty dinner and overshares cap off the evening! Backpacking: 3.6 miles. 8,79′ gain. -1,651′ loss Meals: B-L-D Day 3- Half Dome Summit It’s a long day, but for good reason. It’s another morning in paradise waking up between the pines with a coffee in hand. We fuel up on a tasty breakfast before continuing our journey towards Half Dome. Today’s destination is the Little Yosemite Valley camp – which is THE base camp for Half Dome summits. Expect lots of flannel and excitement from other backpackers. Along the way we’ll stop to take in Nevada Falls. Choose between kicking back at the wooded oasis with a dip in the Merced River or rest up that hiker booty for the evening! Summit Day. No nervous poops allowed! Lace up your boots for a climb you’ll remember the rest of your life. We’ll time our departure perfectly because Explorer Chicks don’t simply climb Half Dome. No way. We do it in dramatic fashion – Let’s catch the sunset! HELL YES! Hike 2.5 miles of switchbacks and 1,800’ up to the base of Half Dome. Your thighs will sing as you blast up 500’ and over a half mile of steps carved into the rock. It’s a 400’ gain up the cables with some points at 70%+ grades. You’ll be putting your grippy gloves to expert use as you get the upper body workout of a lifetime. Soon there will be no cables to climb – cue the high fives and ugly tears of painful joy. This is so much better than doing an HR PowerPoint for work. You made it baby! Lean into your Explorer Chicks standing proudly at an altitude of 8,839’. Ride your adrenaline high back down Half Dome (which some argue is more challenging) as we return to camp to climb into our sleeping bags and rest our tired legs. Backpacking: Approximately 7 miles. 1,800′ elevation gain Half Dome: 6.7 miles with 2,700’ elevation gain Meals: B-L-D Day 4- Panorama Trail It’s the saddest day today as we wake our tired legs out of their slumber. We’ll pack up camp and hit Panorama Trail with sweeping views of the Valley from the southern rim. Peep Mt. Starr King, Half Dome, Nevada Falls and Illilouette Falls. There’ll be plenty of opportunity for Glamour Shots and picturesque snack stops before emerging from the wilderness at Glacier Point. Excessive goodbye hugging is encouraged. We will be out of the backcountry at approximately 5pm. Panorama Trail to TH: 7 miles Meals: B-L *Exact routes are determined by the permit lottery. We hope to adhere to this itinerary, however we may backpack alternate routes. Distances and elevations will vary trip to trip. (Train for 7-12.5 mile days with up to 2,200’ gains) Half Dome summit days will vary as well (Day 3 or Day 4). Every trip will be just as unique as the Explorer Chicks who travel with us! *Explorer Chick reserves the option to modify trip itineraries at the discretion of your adventure leader as necessary due to weather, conditions, illness, injury, group dynamics, safety, or other unforeseen incidents. If an activity must be cancelled due to conditions and cannot be rescheduled, your Explorer Chick guide will work to find alternatives or modifications to ensure the best value for your trip. Logistics IMPORTANT: Do NOT book your airfare until we have confirmed your trip and permits. Yosemite strictly limits the number of Half Dome and Backcountry permits. Your trip dates are not confirmed until we have secured Half Dome and Wilderness Permits. We will know approximately 5-6 months in advance of your trip departure. You’ll have a choice to rebook to an available date or receive a full refund for trips without secured permits. Arrival Airport City: Fresno/Yosemite Airport (FAT). 2.5 hour drive. Meeting Location: Yosemite Village Meeting Time: 5pm on Day 1 Departure Airport City: Fresno/Yosemite Airport (FAT). 2.5 hour drive. Ending Location: Yosemite Village Return Time: Anticipated return time is 5pm. You are responsible for your own transportation to Yosemite Village in Yosemite National Park as well as the Park Entrance fee. Your park entrance fee is good for the next 7 days upon entry if you plan to spend extra time in the park. Depending on the permitted route, you may be required to drive, carpool, or shuttle to trailheads. Your permit for Wilderness camping and Half Dome is included. You will receive a Travel Guide with all the additional airports, hotel recommendations, packing, and additional information you’ll need to prepare for your epic trip. We require a minimum of 3 Explorer Chicks for this trip. Please confirm your trip is guaranteed before booking airfare. Activity Level 5 – HIGHLY STRENUOUS This trip is rated a 5 – Highly Strenuous because it is for experienced hikers and backpackers. This trip is not recommended for “off the couch” outdoor enthusiasts or beginners. Most of the Yosemite region lies above 7,500’ altitude. The trails are steep, varying, and challenging. The terrain can be rocky with dramatic elevation gains and losses. And, you’ll be doing it with a 30-35lb pack on your back. Exact routes are determined by the permit lottery. We hope to adhere to this itinerary, however we may backpack alternate routes. Distances and elevations will vary trip to trip. (Train for 7-12.5 mile days with up to 2,200’ gains) Half Dome summit days will vary as well (Day 3 or Day 4). Every trip will be just as unique as the Explorer Chicks who travel with us! Approximate Daily Hike mileage/gains: Day 2: 3.4 miles. 313’ elevation gain and mostly downhill Day 3: Backpacking. 7 miles. 1,800 gain. Day 3 – Half Dome: 6.7 miles. 2,700’ gain. Day 4: Panorama Trail to TH. 7 miles Plus, optional side hikes of varying distances/elevation. Please consider your ability to meet the physical demands very seriously. It is for the safety of both you and our group. All Explorer Chicks will be required to sign an Acknowledgement of Physical Demands as part of their waiver upon booking. Read more about our Activity Levels. What's Included Essential Gear Shared 2 person tent Backpack Sleeping Bag Sleeping Pad Trekking Poles Shared water filter, cookware, stoves Meals All meals as indicated in itinerary:B-3, L-3, D-3 Practical Half Dome, backcountry, and commercial permits. Professional leadership team with 1 Explorer Chick Guide A detailed Travel Guide with everything you need to know for your trip The freedom to enjoy your vacation and mindlessly wander! Not Included Transportation into Yosemite National Park Entrance Fee to Yosemite National Park Airfare Airport Transportation Alcoholic beverages Travel Insurance Meals exclusive of itineraries Costs for additional activities Gratuity for your Explorer Chick Guide Explorer Chick reserves the option to modify trip itineraries at the discretion of your tour director as necessary due to weather, conditions, illness, injury, group dynamics, or other unforeseen incidents. More from Half Dome This error message is only visible to WordPress admins Error: There is no connected account for the user 17841401383564890. Let's Do This Starting from $1799 Book Now Save $200 with our Early Bird Discounts! Just book at least 6 Months in Advance! Discount is automatically applied. Non-Refundable Deposit: $200 due at booking to secure your spot Book with Confidence Your wanderlust doesn’t have to wait. Our payment plans make booking your dream trip easier than ever. The best part? Zero additional fees. Payment Plans We want nothing more than for you join us. However, we understand emergencies do occur that may cause you to cancel your reservation. Cancellation Policy To protect your travel investment and your hide, we recommend purchasing travel insurance. Receive a no-hassle, online quote in less than 2 minutes. Trip Insurance Endless Wanderlust Patagonia W Trek Hut to Hut 7 DAYS, CHILE Bucket List, Hiking, Multiday Treks, New, Trekking Hotel, Mountain Huts Banff Canada Hiking Hut-to-Hut Backpacking 6 DAYS, CANADA Backpacking, Bucket List, Glacier Trek, Hiking, International, Multiday Treks Hotel, Mountain Huts Slovenia Alps Hiking Hut to Hut and More 8 DAYS, SLOVENIA Cycling, Hiking, International, Multiday Treks, Multisport, White Water Rafting Hotel, Mountain Huts Inca Trail Trek to Machu Pichu Adventure 9 DAYS, PERU Bucket List, Camping, Hiking, Trekking Hotel, Camping Norway’s Lofoten Islands Hiking Adventure 8 DAYS, NORWAY Bucket List, Hiking, International, New, Water Sports Hotel, Locally Unique Yellowstone Hiking and Wildlife with Grand Teton 7 DAYS, WYOMING Bucket List, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Hot Springs, Multisport, National Park, US-Based, White Water Rafting, Wildlife Hotel In Her Words Dorianne H. ★★★★★ Wow !!! This trip with Explorer Chicks was truly amazing. We went to Yosemite and backpacked and hiked Half Dome. Such a fantastic trip with so many emotions and thrills of accomplishment. Hats off to our guide Kirstie Mulliken, she is such an amazing guide. She herself, backpacked with 55lbs, 😳😳😳 She made us incredible meals (and wouldn’t even allow us to help her clean up), she empowered us to push ourselves and over all, she is an incredible person at such a young age. She made our trip memorable and we can’t wait to search for another trip, and hopefully have her as a guide !!!!Amanda G ★★★★★ I recently returned from my first EC trip backpacking in Yosemite with a summit of Half Dome at sunset. It was incredible, well organized, and our guide Kirstie was absolutely phenomenal! Definitely not my last EC adventure. They do a really nice job of creating a unique and memorable experience.Daniele R. ★★★★★ My first trip with Explorer Chick and it was nothing short of life changing! Yosemite and summiting Half Dome has been on the top of my bucket list for years. I’m so glad I found (through Instagram of all places) and chose Explorer Chick to help me check this one off! I was blown away by the trip from start to finish. The planning, preparation and organization that goes into it is on another level. Leading up to the trip, the communication through emails was very informative and responsive to any questions or concerns. It makes the trip so much easier and carefree than doing it all by yourself and you get to make new friends while doing it. (Hello bonus hiking gal pals)I have been backpacking before with friends so I had most of the gear already, I was able to bring it and test out some new stuff I had as well which was great. I was a little worried I wouldn’t get along with the other girls but friendships and bonds are formed super quickly, there is no time for awkward silence.During our trip we got to cross paths with another Explorer Chick group who were at the end of their backpacking trip while ours was just beginning and they all still had smiles on their faces, just really enjoying the most of the time they had left.Kirstie is such an amazing guide, she very knowledgeable about the history of the lands, the landscape and terrain, and keeps everyone safe and aware of surroundings. She doesn’t leave you guessing what is going to happen so you know exactly what to expect. She gives you updates on what the plans are and is enthusiastic and upbeat. Kirstie also gives you positive encouragement, asks how you’re feeling periodically, goes through safety briefs, and shows map locations and exactly what trails you will be on along the route.She knows the terrain like the back of her hand and how to navigate through tricky spots along the trail. Her backcountry cooking skills are also impressive! I didn’t eat a single freeze dried meal in 4 days! (*Chefs kiss*)Highly recommend booking with Explorer Chick for any trips you want to do but maybe are on the fence and don’t want to do it ALL by yourself and don’t have all the gear, etc. The connections made with the guide and other travelers can be really special. It’s truly a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget or regret a single part of and can’t wait to tackle another trip with them!Christa F. ★★★★★ My first Explorer Chick trip. Yosemite half dome backpacking.This was a strenuous tip but very rewarding. Our guide Kara was the best! She was very organized and did great job planning all the meals for this backcountry trip. I learned so many tips and tricks about backpacking from her. The scenery is beautiful and we summited Half Dome in the evening or a sunset summit. This couldn't have been a better decision by our guide and group as whole. This made for no crowds on the cables, a gorgeous sunset at the top of Half Dome and fun night hike back to camp.The only thing that would have made this trip better was if it was a couple days longer!