Permits to hike to the top of Half Dome are required seven days per week when the cables are up, even for backpackers with wilderness permits. The quota for Half Dome permits for backpackers is now 75 permits per day (50 available by reservation and 25 available one day in advance on a first-come, first-served basis at wilderness centers). The cost for Half Dome permits is $10 per person, payable at a wilderness center the day of or day before your trip, and is therefore not refundable.
Reservations for Wilderness Permits & Half Dome Permits
While making a wilderness permit reservation, be sure to specify that you want Half Dome permits. If Half Dome permits are available and Half Dome is reasonably part of your itinerary, you will receive a reservation that includes them. Half Dome permits received in this way will be valid for all dates your wilderness permit is valid.
First-come, First-Served Wilderness Permits & Half Dome Permits
The process for receiving a first-come, first-served wilderness permit, beginning at 11 am one day prior to your backpacking trip's start date, is unchanged. When requesting a wilderness permit using this method, be sure to request Half Dome permits, and you will receive them if they are available and Half Dome is reasonably part of your itinerary. Half Dome permits received this way will be valid for all dates your wilderness permit is valid.
Hiking Half Dome with a Wilderness Permit Issued Outside Yosemite
Wilderness permits issued outside of Yosemite are no longer valid for hiking Half Dome. If you're beginning your backpacking trip outside of Yosemite, you'll need a Half Dome permit, which you can apply for using the lotteries. There are two exceptions to this rule through 2018: if you're hiking the John Muir Trail and starting at Cottonwood Lakes or Cottonwood Pass trailheads, your Inyo National Forest wilderness permit is valid for hiking Half Dome. These are the only two trailheads outside Yosemite that have this exception, and this exception ends after 2018. There will be no exceptions starting in 2019.
Half Dome permits associated with wilderness permits are not valid for day hiking to Half Dome. If you have a wilderness permit and were unable to get Half Dome permits for your trip, you may compete in the Half Dome permit lotteries. However, Half Dome permits received by lottery are only valid on the date specified on the Half Dome permit. If you have a wilderness permit but were unable to get Half Dome permits, you may also try for a first-come, first-served Half Dome permit, as described above. If you have a Half Dome permit, you may attempt to get a wilderness permit to coincide with your Half Dome permit (but you won't receive any preference in obtaining a wilderness permit).