I am looking at hiking half dome, but the hike is so long, it requires camping out the night before. Campsites open up for reservations 8 months before the date at 7am, and immediately fill up. The only problem is that the results of the hike permit lottery don't come in until April.

So do I just have to apply for a bunch of campsites then cancel the ones that don't work out with the date I draw through the lottery?

  • Do you mean Yosemite Valley or Little Yosemite Valley? The former means getting a campsite reservation, the latter means getting a backcountry permit.
    – Pepi
    Mar 6, 2015 at 10:22
  • Just do something else. That area is extremely heavily impacted because too many people all want to do the same hike.
    – user2169
    Mar 6, 2015 at 15:06
  • Don't you also need a permit to just to hike Half Dome as well? nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/hdwildpermits.htm Mar 6, 2015 at 15:08
  • Right. there is a lottery for the half dome hike Mar 6, 2015 at 18:59
  • Yea, do Clouds Rest. I did half dome and regret not doing CR as well. Sep 30, 2015 at 23:30

1 Answer 1


When I wanted to hike Half Dome, it was too late to apply to the lottery you mentioned. Therefore, upon arriving in California in September, I tried to get a last minute "daily" permit through the Park Service's web site.

When I got this permit, it was for the next day, and of course I didn't have a camp site. I drove to Yosemite with my wife, and within the campsites, we looked for a campsite with only one car (each campsite is allowed to have up to two cars). We asked the people there if we could join them. The third couple that we asked agreed, and we ended up staying at their campsite both the night before and then night after our hike.

I think in most cases, this will work out. Obviously, there is a certain element of risk, but the closest camp site or lodging we could get on a single day's notice was so far away that it seemed like practically the only choice for us, given the constraints we had, and it might work for you, too.

  • Thanks, that could very well be what we end up doing. I just called NPS, and they acknowledged it was a silly system - permit dates come out but no campsites are available. They said my best chances were already having a bunch of campsites reserved and cancelling or snagging a first come, first serve site. Mar 6, 2015 at 19:16

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