North Dome Hike

My weekly ramble #27

No luck with Half Dome

Yosemite National Park is one of the most beautiful places in California. It is part of my A to Z of California in “Y is for…”.  And the Half Dome is probably the state’s most famous landmark. The hike up this legendary Dome is on my bucket list of things I want to do before I leave. But it is not easy to get all the way up there. You have to have a permit to climb the last part of the hike, the actual dome. Permits are given out in a lottery system. I planned this endeavor with my friend and we applied in the general lottery. But we didn’t get any of our 5 given days. Afterwards we applied for 3 more days in the daily lottery, but still didn’t get in. Even though there were more than 130 entries left last Monday. My gut tells me that this lottery is rigged even though I might sound like DT.

The North Dome hike is a good alternative. states that “You haven’t really seen Half Dome (figuratively, at least) until you’ve stood on North Dome and looked across Yosemite Valley at it. It’s an incredible closeup view.” That’s why we decided that this hike has to be our compensation for the missed opportunity on climbing Half Dome. After all our disappointment, it was totally worth it.

The North Dome hike is a great day hike to the best viewpoint in Yosemite or a perfect overnighter on a granite dome. The hike starts out fairly easy and actually decreases in elevation from the road to North Dome.

You walk downhill through a beautiful forest, meadows and past unique rocks.

Once you arrive at the top of the dome, the hike gets more strenuous. You have to hike down some rocky switchbacks to actually get onto the dome.

North Dome Hike

Once you made in to the end – well, don’t go to the very end – you will have…

…gorgeous views all around.

You can hang out on top of North Dome, have lunch, take countless pictures of the spectacular views of the valley to your right, Half Dome and Clouds Rest to your left.


North Dome HikeNorth Dome Hike















North Dome Hike



And check out my pictures on Instagram, too.

The way back up to the road is harder and seems much longer than on the way down.

Officially it’s 8.8 miles roundtrip, but my Strava recorded 10.7 miles including the detour to Indian Rock.

North Dome Hike


The best times for the North Dome hike is whenever Tioga Road is open, roughly from June to November. Parking is at the Porcupine Creek (1 mile east of Porcupine Flat). Store your food in the bear lockers. And don’t forget your camera! Here you find a couple more detailed descriptions of the North Dome hike: and

In hindsight I think that we probably should have entered the daily lottery for the Half Dome cables many more days over the summer. If you want to climb up the landmark of Yosemite, look at these statistics and if you can, apply for a weekday later in the summer/early fall. Good luck!

This is my linkup with Jo’s Monday walks. Check out her beautiful photography of North Yorkshire on a sunny day.

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  1. restlessjo

    October 4, 2017 at 11:29 pm

    This looks like a fabulous thing to do! Aren’t the views amazing? Fantastic photos, Kathrin! Could you go back the same way you came, or would that not make life any easier? I presume the lottery is a way of restricting numbers on Half Dome. Is there a cost factor?
    Thanks so much for the lovely link 🙂 🙂

    1. bellamonte

      October 13, 2017 at 1:56 pm

      Finally I want to follow up on your comment: I’t’s not not a cost factor. It only cost $10/person once you got a permit. Everytime you enter the daily lottery though, it costs you $10 and you don’t get this money back if you loose. So we spent about $40 to not hike the Half Dome. But I guess that’s ok because I’m generally happy to support 🙂

  2. San

    October 7, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    Half Dome is on my bucket list too. But the hike to North Dome sounds a lot of fun and what great views!

    1. bellamonte

      October 14, 2017 at 11:56 am

      The views were amazing and it was a great hike. Definitely worth doing and I have even a bit more respect of hiking Half Dome 😉 Is your family still here? Seems like you had a fabulous time.

  3. BeckyB

    October 9, 2017 at 8:24 am

    This brings back so many happy memories of hiking North Dome in 2004. Forgotten how beautiful it is. I’m so glad I discovered you this morning thanks to Jo.

    1. bellamonte

      October 13, 2017 at 1:57 pm

      Hi Becky! Yes, it was gorgeous 🙂 Thank you for your kind comment. I’ll hop over to your blog now. Have a great weekend!

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