The Half Dome permit lottery is now accepting applications | Yosemite’s pride awaits hikers

Half Dome from 11,000 ft

Half Dome from 11,000 ft

The annual rush for permits to hike up the 8,842 ft high half Dome is about to begin. Visitors have all of March to submit a request to with their request for up to six permits good this summer – from May 24 through October 6.

Permits have been required since 2010 and this year will be a repeat of 2013 when 225 daily permits were distributed via lottery.  The lottery is managed by the park wilderness division, and executed by the vendor “back east.”

There is no rush to apply. All requests that arrive in March will be shuffled and winners selected and notified by mid-April. People can specify up to seven dates that are prioritized. Whoever buys the permits is charged a $4.50 non-refundable fee. Each permit is $8.00 but that will be refunded if it is cancelled two days prior to their proposed hike.

June is very popular as are weekends. It’s advised to plan a trip in late summer or early fall. The odds of winning a permit are higher then. The permits are not refunded due to weather, sickness or other problems.  A Protection Division ranger is at the base of Sub Dome to check for permits. He/she has an iPAD that is uploaded nightly with the names of the official permit holders.


Unrelated thought worth quoting: “You pays your money and takes your chances.” – Americana

MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch –

One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome

About Mr Half Dome - Rick Deutsch

Mr Half Dome. Has written the only half dome hiking guide, One Best Hike: Yosemite's Half Dome. Has hiked it 31 times to day. Lives in San Jose, CA Available for presentations. Carpe Diem Experience, LLC
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7 Responses to The Half Dome permit lottery is now accepting applications | Yosemite’s pride awaits hikers

  1. Brian Busen says:

    I did not win the March lottery and will be visiting YNP on July 29,30 and 31 from Michigan. We are on a month long family vacation and we have been looking forward to this hike for years. What are the odds of winning the two day lottery for a family of 5. I read that because we are there on a Monday-Wednesday we may have better odds. Also, is there a place you can sign up if people are looking at giving there permits away?

    • Brian Busen (IP:,


      While June is the prime month, July is also very busy. I’ve got a permit for the 19th. Permits for 5 is harder than for 2 — duh. If they only have 4 slots, you will miss out. It is a lottery…the 2-day process does work – they are not available in the park – only thru

      But you can give it a try via some tips that I have developed. Too long to put here, but I made a video for the March lottery with tips on how to improve your odds. Wordks for the 2-day mini-lottery as well. NO guarantees, but let me tell you in 2011 and 2012 – I did the hike 5 times each (I’m obsessed)…and did not cheat but used these tactics. I ask $5 to help feed my dog. If interested send it to my PayPal acct – same as my email address. Ricky . deutsch @ gmail . com

      There is no “site” for permit exchanges. Although you can join a group if someone cancels out….they cannot be bought or sold. Again 5 is lot.

      If you get zapped…do Clouds Rest…drive up to Tenaya Lake and go that way. About 7 hrs RT and Very good – no crowds – no permits. Yosemite Falls is also a fun one. 4-mile trail RT is a killer to Glacier Point. About 6 hrs RT.

      And get my book off Amazon – it’s the Bible and about $10. I have a link to it on my website.


  2. Paul says:

    I just put in my application for 3 people, naming myself as trip leader and one alt leader. So it’s legal for my other two hiking partners to submit applications for the same days, naming themselves the trip leader and one of the other 2 as alternates?

    Does it matter if the same name is entered as a trip leader in one application and an alternate in another application? Seems like could be a lot more clear about this…

    • You got it correct. Your buddies can apply as trip leader for the same date and name YOU as their alternate. Even though you are a trip leader on your application, you can be the alternate on theirs. A trip leader can only be named on one set of 7 prioritized dates – i.e. on YOUR submittal for the lottery. Clear as mud??

  3. Maureen L says:

    Dear readers of Rick’s wonderful blog,

    No, you can’t get permits to go up Half Dome 6 times next summer. You can only get a permit for ONE excursion (at least, in the advance lottery). But you can take your friends for up to a total party size of 6.

    You’ll need to list an alternate leader, even if you’re asking for a permit for just yourself.

    If it hasn’t changed, I don’t think you have to list all the members of the party, just leader or alternate. If you succeed in snagging a permit, either the leader or the alternate HAS TO be on the hike.

    The other members of your party friends can put in for their own permits, too, on the same dates.

    Personal plea from me: please don’t put in for a party of 6 just because you can. If you don’t have pretty firm plans for who’s going and committed to training, it doesn’t seem fair and sporting to me. Also, if your party shrinks, it’s good to cancel slots you don’t need so they can go in the just-in-time lottery.

    And “protection ranger” means the dude (or dudette) is law enforcement and packs heat. They are usually accompanied by a preventive search and rescue person who gives helpful advice about things like sanitation before you head up.

    • Good clarification. When you apply, you can request up to 7 prioritized dates you’d like to go on. Then you can ask for up to 6 permits for each. You only have to list the primary and the alternate by name…the others can be any unnamed people. The Primary OR Alternate must be on the hike and those cannot change. You will only be selected for ONE of your trips this way. BUT you can go more often via the 2-day mini-lottery.

    • Ricky D says:

      You’ll need to list an alternate leader, even if you’re asking for a permit for just yourself.

      Actually this is not correct…

      I did a 2-day mini-lottery last summer – by myself and did not list an alternate…If there is none – there is none. :>)

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