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Looming nearly 5,000 ft above Yosemite Valley, Half Dome is that one hike gracing practically every hiker’s wishlist. You’ve seen the pics, you’ve been picturing yourself holding onto cables of its steep face—and now it’s time to go. With this all-inclusive, 4-day backpacking trip, everything is a breeze. Meals, tents, excellent and entertaining guidance — it’s all been dealt with, so you can focus on the hiking. Starting with the spectacular Mist Trail, the thundering Vernal and Nevada waterfalls will provide you with refreshment as you climb up its dreamy staircase. Then it’s time for the absolute highlight of the trip — grabbing onto metal cables and pulling yourself up the steep slope of Half Dome’s monumental granite face. To wrap it up, walk the legendary John Muir Trail, named after a renowned naturalist and conservationist, who claimed that “Nowhere will you find more company of a soothing peace-be-still kind” than in Yosemite.

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  • The iconic Half Dome

    Climb to the top of one of Yosemite’s most recognizable landmarks

  • Two hiking trails & summit

    Focus on the views along Yosemite’s all-star trails with an all-inclusive tour

  • Pitch your tents under starry skies

    Deep in Yosemite’s backcountry, camp in the shadow of Half Dome and swim in the Merced River

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Half Dome is undoubtedly Yosemite’s icon. By joining this 4-day backpacking trip, not only will you climb up this grand batholith rising 5,000 ft above the valley, you’ll also experience the spectacular pre and post-treks: marvel at the powerful waterfalls of Mist Trail when you’re going towards Half Dome and take in Yosemite’s beauty along the John Muir Trail on your way back. This is an all-inclusive trip, meaning that you don’t have to worry about food, guidance, or camping. Your guide even offers renting an equipment kit—meaning that you just need to show up with clothes. Immerse yourself in Yosemite’s unspoiled wilderness, camp out under the stars and in the shadow of mighty Half Dome, and find refreshments in the Merced river!

  • Arrive to Yosemite and use the day to explore its front country on your own. As the day draws to an end, you’ll meet your guide and your team at the backpackers campground. Go over gear and itinerary, set up camp, and enjoy a hot cooked meal! Get some rest, as tomorrow backpacking begins.

    Meals: Dinner

    Campsite in Yosemite
  • Backpacking the trail to Half Dome begins! Start by climbing up the old stone steps of the famed Mist Trail. As the sun rises and warms the valley, you’ll pass through the refreshing spray of Vernal and Nevada Falls—combined, these two waterfalls reach more than 900 feet (270 m). Swim and camp in the shadow of Half Dome, too filled with anticipation to sleep.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Hiking: 4 miles / 6.5 km
    Elevation: +2,400 ft / +730 m

    Vernal Nevada Falls
  • Get up early in the morning to summit the monumental Half Dome. Only when you get on the cables will you realize just how steep the climb will be! Courageously pull your way to the summit and once you’re there, marvel at the sensational views laid out before you.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Hiking: 7 miles / 11 km
    Elevation: +2,700 ft / +820 m

    Climbing cable to Half Dome
  • Pack up camp and spend your last day hiking down the legendary John Muir Trail. Congrats, you’re now members of the Half Dome Hikers Club! Say goodbye to your guide and your team.

    Meals: Breakfast and lunch
    Hiking: 5 miles / 8 km
    Elevation: +2,400 ft / +730 m

    John Muir Trail in Yosemite
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Meet your guides

Jesse Dunlap
Jesse Dunlap
With a dad in the Marines, Jesse was born ready to move around the world and discover all its secrets. Having worked as a walking history tour guide all around NYC, he soon started sharing his outdoor passion by guiding hikes in Upstate New York. He also worked as a sea kayaking guide in Prince William Sound, a fly-in backpacking guide in the Alaskan backcountry, and he led therapeutic wilderness programs in the desert of Utah. One of Jesse’s favorite memories was backpacking the full Pacific Crest Trail. Jesse is a friendly, knowledgeable guide who will make you feel right at home in the wild. Talk to him about Russian novels, his love of scary movies, or ask him to entertain you with his storytelling skills!
The Lamplighters Adventuring Society
The Lamplighters Adventuring Society
The Lamplighters Adventuring Society
The Lamplighters Adventuring Society specializes in all-inclusive hiking trips in Yosemite and Yellowstone. With small groups and a supportive guide, they focus on a more personal approach, which is achieved through, among other things, wild game nights and coming together in heartfelt campfire chats. Their top priority is the client’s safety—your guide has extensive knowledge of wilderness routes and natural history, and is certified as a WFR and in CPR. Another thing that sets them apart from the crowd is their emphasis on delicious food. Being in the wild won’t stop your guide from providing you with the most high quality food available.

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5.00 (5 reviews)
David Petersen (source: Google Reviews)

Awesome experience backpacking to Half Dome with Jesse. He had everything ready to go and was an exceptional guide. Highly recommend you book your trip through Jesse and The Lamplighters Adventuring Society!

Nellie Dunlap (source: Google Reviews)

I don’t particularly enjoy hiking, but I went with my family on the adventure to Half Dome. I had visited to Yosemite before, but I never saw it so up close personal like I had the opportunity to on this trip. Jesse left nothing overlooked. Ahead of time, he laid out exactly what to expect, the gear we needed, and even how to train. It was one of the greatest physical and mental feats I’ve ever faced, but Jesse had completely prepared us to climb the daunting and treacherous dome! I created a special bond with my family by overcoming our fears together and completing such an arduous goal, and I learned to appreciate the great outdoors. This may sound cliche, but this memory truly was about the journey on the way to completing our goal. I can’t say enough about what this trip represents to me. Anytime I think I can’t do something, I remember this adventure.

Lynne Starr (source: Google Reviews)

My grandson and I had the time of our lives with The Lamplighters.
We enjoyed an adventure together that was well thought out and planned to the last detail.
Climbing Half Dome in Yosemite is not an easy thing. But Jesse took great care to keep us safe.
I would highly recommend a backpacking adventure with Jesse and The Lamplighter’s.

Zara Cohen (source: Google Reviews)

This was such a magical experience! I have always wanted to do something like this but have never had the courage to do it. I’m so grateful that I found Jesse! His backpacking trip really changed my life. I connected with nature and it just put me in another mindset. I have been recommending this experience to everyone I know. We are always so concerned with the hustle and bustle of life that something like this is necessary for mental health.

Deana Peery (source: Google Reviews)

MUST DO!!! What a wonderful experience! I seriously can’t say enough positive things. He is such a wonderful, safe, experienced AND FUN guide. His energy is truly magnetic. I really appreciate his level of care and attention to detail. I could definitely tell that a lot of thought went into planning from start to finish. And if that ain’t enough, his backcountry cooking is 10/10 amazing!

Things to know

  • What you get on this adventure:

      • An experienced, local hiking guide with extensive knowledge of the area with Wilderness First Responder and CPR certification
      • 4 days of backpacking in Yosemite
      • Accommodations for the duration of the tour
        • 1 night in Yosemite backpackers campground
        • 2 nights of wilderness camping
      • All meals (from first night’s dinner to last day’s lunch)
      • Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, snacks
      • Group camping gear
        • Shared gear, bear canisters, water filters, cookware, first-aid kit, water filters, stoves, pots & pans, emergency GPS device, maps, tarp etc.
        • Personal trail journal, card games
      • Individual tents
      • Transportation between parking/backpackers campground and the trailhead
      • Wilderness permit

    What’s not included:

      • Transportation to Yosemite (public transportation to trailhead available)
      • Sleeping bag — available to rent
      • Sleeping pad — available to rent
      • Backpack — available to rent
      • Trip insurance
      • Backcountry evacuation
      • Guide gratuities — optional, but recommended
  • Half Dome hiking adventure is welcoming to first-time backpackers as well as engaging for experienced hikers. The trip is moderately paced so that adventurers can enjoy them fully, but it’s still a big climb so decent shape is required. Still, backpacking is hard work, so the itinerary is planned in a way that it leaves enough time for resting, swimming, mindful breaks, games, wildlife viewing, and more.

    You’ll be hiking for three days in a row between 4 and 7 miles (6.5-11 km) with the maximum elevation game 2,700 ft (820 m) in a day. The route to the top of Half Dome is steep, smooth, and slippery.

  • Here’s a list of backpacking gear you need to bring:

      • Backpack (70L) — available to rent
      • Backpack rain cover
      • Sleeping bag (rated 20-30°, must compress into your backpack) — available to rent
      • Sleeping pad — available to rent
      • Waterproof stuff sack for sleeping bag
      • Waterproof stuff sack for clothing
      • Trekking poles — available to rent
      • Headlamp — available to rent
      • Water bottle or hydration bladder (3L total)
      • Small microfiber towel

    Here’s a list of clothes to bring:

      • Trail running shoes or breathable boots, already broken in
        • The route to the top of Half Dome is steep, smooth, and slippery. Bring boots with strong grip or trail running shoes with very sticky, new treads. Some people change into climbers “approach shoes”
      • Grippy gloves
        • The route to the top of Half Dome requires adventurers to grasp onto a wide metal cable. Bring well-fitting work or climbing gloves that allow you to grip the cable well and protect your hands
      • Rain coat
      • Rain pants — optional, check weather forecast
      • Hiking socks
      • Underwear
      • Running shorts
      • Hiking pants — optional, check forecast
      • Hiking shirt (synthetic, lightweight)
      • Mid-layer shirt (or fleece, optional if you have a warm jacket)
      • Packable puffy jacket (down or lightweight synthetic)
      • Sun hat
      • Sunglasses
      • Swimsuit
      • Water shoes — tight-fitting sandals for wading
      • Warm pajamas
      • Warm wool socks
      • Warm knit cap
      • Buff/gaiter

    Here’s the rest of equipment you need to bring:

      • Cup or mug — available to rent
      • Bowl — available to rent
      • Spoon — available to rent
      • Toiletries — keep kit as small as possible, must fit into an already-packed bear canister
      • Bathroom kit must-haves
        • Toilet paper
        • Hand sanitizer
        • Lightweight trowel
        • Toothbrush & toothpaste
        • Blister protection
      • Sunscreen
      • SPF chapstick
      • Bug spray
      • Mosquito head net
      • Duct tape
      • Bags (one garbage bag and a few ziplock bags)

    Here’s a list of optional items:

      • Ear plugs
      • Phone battery
      • Mini inflatable pillow
      • Air mattress repair kit
      • Lighter
      • Small pocket knife
      • Trail running gaiters
      • Warm gloves
      • Cash

    Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. Bring wool or synthetic fabric only, cotton is not allowed.

  • You’re encouraged to join even if you don’t have any equipment lying around at home. Other than a tent (which is already included in the price), your guides offer a gear rental package containing all the gear you’ll need on this trip. This includes:

      • Backpack
      • Rain cover
      • Sleeping bag
      • Sleeping pad
      • Camping pillow
      • Trekking poles
      • Headlamp
      • Batteries
      • Mug, bowl, & utensils

    You can choose to rent these items at checkout for $245 per trip.

  • All your meals are included in this tour, from first day’s dinner to last day’s lunch. You will enjoy delicious meals like basil and parmesan polenta, pad Thai, tropical breakfast couscous, pizza, chicken with fig gravy and mashed potatoes… Deserts will also be served! After a good meal, you’ll get to enjoy chocolate lava cake, cookies, and chocolate crepes. Nutritious daily snacks will also be provided.

    Let us know if you have any specific dietary requirements or food allergies.

  • Group sizes and prices:

      • For this Half Dome hiking tour, the usual client-to-guide ratio is 7:1.
      • Minimum number of people for the tour to run is so low that your guides have never needed to cancel a trip. Due to frequent last minute sign-ups, a trip will not be canceled until 30 days before departure.
      • The cost does not decrease as the group grows.

    Half Dome hiking can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

    Min. age requirements:

      • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
      • Minors older than 15 and younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

    If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • Yosemite only authorizes permit dates 6 months in advance. If you books this trip more than 6 months in advance, keep in mind that the official dates may shift a little bit once Yosemite gives out the permits.

    Please, do no book flights or make hotel reservations until the permit is confirmed.

    Due to this process, your guide will make an exception to their terms and conditions in case there is any problem with permits. If the dates change, and you can’t make it, your security deposit and trip fees will be completely reimbursed.

  • To get to Yosemite for your Half Dome hiking tour, the nearest airport is Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT) . If you’re visiting the California Coast, you can also fly into San Jose Mineta International Airport (SJC), San Francisco International Airport (SFO), or Oakland International Airport (OAK).

    Once there, we recommend you rent or drive your own car to the group meeting point in Yosemite. If you’re coming with a car, there’s parking available for the duration of the tour at the park entrance.

    It might be practical to stay near Yosemite the night before and after your trip. This ensures you get to the meeting point on time and that you don’t miss a flight on the way out.

  • We highly recommend that you cover all your bases with both emergency medical and travel insurance. With medical insurance, if you have an accident or medical emergency on or off the mountain, you’ll avoid paying out of pocket for costly expenses. This covers everything from hospital treatments to emergency air transportation and more.

    Travel insurance covers canceled flights, natural disasters and other scenarios that may interrupt your travel plans.

    We also expect you to respect local regulations and take measures to protect yourselves, your guides, and the communities you’re traveling to. For more information on travel recommendations and restrictions in California, please refer to California’s Department of Public Health and California’s travel alerts.

    If you need assistance selecting the right insurance for your group, let us know and we will be happy to help!

  • Secure your spot for 2025 with a 10% deposit! This tour gets sold out very quickly, but with early-bird booking, you’ll be the first one to know. Pick the month that suits you best and we’ll let you know once the dates are live—don’t risk missing out on your bucket list adventure!

      • Only 10% of the total amount should be paid as a deposit upon booking. This deposit is non-refundable, but can be transferred to another 57hours adventure in case the dates don’t suit you by the end of the year.
      • Once the set dates for the following season are live, you can confirm your booking by the end of this year by paying another 20% of the total amount.
      • The final balance is due 3 months (90 days) prior to departure.

    For set dates, a $400 non-refundable deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The remaining amount is paid 3 months (90 days) prior to departure. Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies. If Client cancels the Booking…

      • More than 60 (sixty) days prior to trip departure, Client receives a full refund minus the $400 non-refundable deposit.
      • 31-60 (thirty-one to sixty) days prior to trip departure, Client receives a 50% (fifty percent) deposit, excluding the non-refundable deposit.
      • After that deadline, Client is not entitled to any refund.
      • No refund is given for any unused portion of a trip.
      • In case your guide cancels the trip, a full refund (including the deposit) will be issued.

    Permits and cancellations

    If a client books the trip 6 or more months in advance, the dates of the tour may change due to Yosemite’s permit processes. If the client decides that these date don’t suit them, the security deposit and trip fees will be completely reimbursed. The guide will not reimburse any expenses regarding hotel or flight reservations. Please, do not book flights and hotel until permits are confirmed.

    Park closures, natural disasters, and weather

    Despite thoughtful planning, nature can sometimes create unsafe weather or trail conditions at any time of the year. Though very uncommon, your trip might need to be re-routed or postponed due to dangerous trails, high snow levels, impassable roads, forest fires, disease outbreaks and park closures. If a trip is unable to operate, or if your guides deem a trip unsafe due to circumstances out of our control, there will be no refund given.

    Instead of issuing a refund, your guides will devise an alternative itinerary as close as possible to the original trip planned. Although your guides will try hard to create an alternative trip similar to the original, it may be possible that very little, or none, of your original trip will be accessible when using our alternative itinerary. Sometimes an alternative itinerary may require driving further, with no public transportation, to reach the starting point.

    Although it has never come to this, if your guides are unable to offer an alternative trip of any kind, instead of a refund, you will be issued a full credit for use on a future trip.

    Whether voluntarily, or due to emergency or safety concerns, it is possible that a client may need to leave the trip before the planned finish date.

    Your guides will help you arrange your evacuation and see to your safety and comfort. Shuttles, lodges, helicopter and medical transportation, medical care, meals, shipping and many other factors can all play a role in getting you out safely and expeditiously. There will be costs associated with your evacuation, and all costs will be solely your responsibility.

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