How to get Half Dome cables permits

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

*Note – I am not affiliated with NPS or any other govt agency. The following are strictly my thoughts. Cut the Park some slack – this is a real hairball.  I’m only sharing these tips with my closest friends.

 1. Permits are needed every day in 2011.  In 2010, when permits were required on Fri-Sun – they all went in about 9 minutes. 

2. The rules for permits can be found on my website

3. Permits become “bookable” at 07:00:01 Pacific time on March 1 for  May or June; April 1 for hikes in July; May 1 for hikes in August; June 1 for hikes in September and July 1 for hikes in October. See the YNP website for more info (with more links there to additional  info)

4. To obtain a permit, go to DO NOT waste time calling. You are advised to be registered on well in advance and practice the purchase process days before. They will ask questions that you do not want to waste time thinking about. Set up your user name, password and profile. Have all this done days before.  On March 1 (or the day for your desired month) get all logged in and watch your clock – set to the EXACT time.  

5.  They call Half Dome a  “tour.” As of press time, the “tour” was not listed and I had to do a search for Half Dome. This should be fixed by March 1. Currently the direct link to book HD tickets is <HERE>.  But today  I am getting this  message: Our apologies. We are experiencing some difficulties. 

6.  Also, the site was still set up for 2010 – lotsa of bogus info. I have asked the park for guidance. They will be fixing things before March 1. Check back to this blog for updates. 

7. Enter your requested date and # of tickets you want (up to 4). Have a couple alternate dates ready in case they are sold out. 

8. Click on FIND TOUR TIMES – this is currently not working. There are NO tour times for HD – it’s all day. They should have a default there. 

9. Again, enter the # of tickets next to General Admission. 

10. Hit BOOK TOUR. This should take you to a credit card page to complete the purchase.

11. Practice all this several times the day before before you go live at 7 am March 1.  Pretend as if you are going to buy tickets all the way up to “BUY NOW.”  The system will not let you actually purchse since they are not available until 7 am March 1. But if you do all this, you can be set up and hit BUY NOW for real at 07:00:01. Remember, you are competing with most of the free world for permits. But no more the 7 billion will be trying.

Other TIPS: 

1. You can get up to 4 on each entry into the website.

2. Keep going back in if your group is >4.

3. Have others in your group try for 4. They will cost you $1.50 each. Please turn in the ones you don’t need (no refund) to will go back into the pool.

4. Have your credit card info listed on a text page, so you can copy/paste it without wasting time to hand type.

5. As in 2010, I will set up a Blog thread “To Get or Give permits click here” Page once the cables are up.  We had over 400 use it last year (most wanting permits, but many had extra.)

Good luck and Carpe Diem!

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “The early bird catches the worm.” – Adage

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch –


24 Responses to “How to get Half Dome cables permits”

  1. alison s Says:

    THanks so much for posting this. For a first timer, it’s very stressful worrying that I won’t get a permit. I’m feeling more confident now (a little!)

    • mrhalfdome Says:


      We are all in the same boat. With these tips I hope all readers can get their permits. Let me know if I can assuage your stress.

      • alison s Says:

        I’m not as nervous now – at least with these tips I have a strategy. I wouldn’t have even known that half dome was listed as a “tour” without this and it probably would have taken me a while to figure that out! Ha ha

  2. Maureen Lahiff Says:

    thank you so much for the crucial piece of information that Half Dome is a tour, and that times are arbitrary!

    • mrhalfdome Says:

      Permit Update – The NPS is working on the website. Half Dome is now listed under the PERMIT (not as a TOUR as in 2010). But things are still mushy.

  3. Maureen Lahiff Says:

    last year, the cables weren’t up until somewhere around June 16.

    I think that’s the latest in a long time, even for years like 2005 and 2006 when the Tioga Road didn’t open until sometime like June 24 and June 17.

    we had a good snow year 2009-2010, and a very cold, wet spring.

    it was still snowing at 5,000 feet in Yosemite the week before Memorial Day weekend.

    subdome stayed covered in snow for a long time.

    so, if lat May or early June are good times for you to get Half Dome Permits, you do run a risk of the cables not being up.

  4. Kathy Says:

    Do you have any advice on buying permits on craigslist? What should I look for and how should I go about it?

    • mrhalfdome Says:

      The park rules say a person cannot sell the permits – can only give them away or turn them back into to recycle. No refunds. I can’t support breaking their rules.

  5. Nancy HIll Says:

    would like 2 permits to half dome on July 10, 11, or 12th
    have hotel reservations already

    Nancy Hill

  6. Michael Corso Says:

    Good morning all, it’s April 20, 2011. I wish I would have seen this post earlier. Our family scheduled a reunion trip to Yosemite last year and we made our cabin reservations a year in advance, when the policy I believe was still permits required only on the weekends. We can make the Half Dome on either July 26th or 27th. There are a lot in our group who want to go 10-12 wanting to do the hike, but I would appreciate anyone willing to “transfer” 2 permits for an Aunt and a Cousin of mine who are making the trip from New Zealand. I’ve gone up the cables before but my cousin has not. Thank you very much.

    • mrhalfdome Says:


      10-12 permits??? Good luck bro! 1-2 might be possible – keep checking back as the dates draw close. Plan on doing Yosem Falls, Cloud’s Rest, Glacier Pt, El Cap etc etc….it will still be a good trip. Even up to Sub Dome will be a heck of a nice hike. Paste a sign on your back – “HALF DOME PERMIT NEEDED”

      Welcome to the Kiwi’s.

  7. Jennifer Says:

    I’m looking for two half dome permits either June 16th or June 17th. My husband and I had this trip planned not knowing they had changed permits to a daily basis 😦 So bummed.
    Let me know if anyone can help me.

  8. Tammy Says:

    I’m looking for 4 half dome permits for either July 5,6 or 7th. Have reservations in the valley. But would love to take the family on that hike of a lifetime. Please let me know and thanks!

  9. Tina Says:

    I just got 2 HD permits for mid September, thought I’d share my experience in case it helps. Thank you for all the suggestions and details, it would not have been possible without being prepared!
    I was logged on ahead of time and kept resubmitting until it finally went through at 6:59 on my clock. It looked like it was working with my specific date, but after a few seconds came back as unavailable. When I tried again, with the date range of Sept 1-30 for four people it came up as site not available, experiencing difficulties (too much activity), and when I finally got in again (within a space of about 3 minutes!) nothing was available at all. I gave up at that point, but decided to look again at about 10 after, just to see what was up. Several dates were showing available. Yay!, I thought, but no – every time I clicked on a date that looked available it came back not available! At this point I changed my party from 4 to 2, tried a few more dates (they completely changed every time I refreshed), and FINALLY got a date mid September.
    So: Keep trying! My permit time shows as 7:18. I think after a few minutes whoever has trouble with credit cards becomes available again.
    More than two people seems very hard to get, and a specific date, especially weekends, seems to be next to impossible at this time.
    Good Luck! Hope they fix this nightmare soon…

  10. Simon Says:

    ….am also looking for 2 permits on either July 3 or 4th. Greatly appreciated.

  11. joyce Says:

    hello, i am in need of 2 half dome permits for saturday july 30 or sunday july 31.. please get in touch if you can help me out!!! thanks 🙂


  12. dena Says:

    hey, i need two half dome permits anytime in july other than the 24. im willing to trade two permits for the 24. please let me know asap!

  13. Bill Wertz Says:

    Hello All,

    Looking for 2 permits for Aug 15 or 16.

    Would like to propose to my girlfriend there!

    Please help if you can.

  14. Logan Says:

    Looking for three permits for August 20th! Thanks!

  15. A. T. Says:

    Looking for 4 permits any day in September.

    Better yet, 5 permits any Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, as there are five of us in the party, but one will not skip college classes to go.

    This is my teen’s dream and we are trying to make it a reality. Thank you!

    FYI: Even being on at 7am sharp ready to hit the “book permit” is not enough!

  16. Mary Says:

    There are 2 permits available on the reservation website for Wed Sept 14 as of 2:29 PM (Pacific Time) on 9/3

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