In the summertime, permits are required every day of the week to hike Half Dome. And as of March 1, 2012, Yosemite National Park has changed the process for obtaining day-use permits for the Half Dome Cable Route. We at SYMG are passionate about guiding our guests up this world-famous summit, however, it can be somewhat tricky to apply for permits on specific dates for our guests through the lottery system. Because of this, we recommend that guests apply for their own permit if they’re interested in having a privately guided trip with us. Below is a set of directions to obtain the required permit, which must be reserved under your own name. Upon receiving a permit confirmation, SYMG will schedule a professional private guide to maximize your experience and chance of success on the Crown Jewel of the Sierra: Half Dome. Permit applications for the 225 available permits per day must be made between March 1st -31st. After that, 50 permits per day are available as “Walk-in”, which become available 2 days prior to the entry date.  

Step 1: Visit www.recreation.gov and create an account. Sign in.

IMPORTANT: The name on this account must belong to someone participating in the Half Dome hike. This person will be required to show ID when picking up the permit in Yosemite. The permit is non-transferrable.

Step 2: In the search bar (which is on the “Bring Home a Story” box on the rec.gov homepage), enter “Cables on Half Dome” and then choose the “Cables on Half Dome” link.  Then click “View Details”.

Step 3: It will then bring you to a screen with more detailed information about the lottery. Click “Register for Lottery”

Step 4: Registration: Enter the desired Permit Holder’s information. Below you will also see a link that says “Add Alternate”. 

If you’d like to add an alternate permit holder, click here. You only have the option to add 1 person. 

Step 5: To add an alternate, enter the alternate person’s email address. This person can also pick up the permit from Yosemite in the event that the named trip leader cannot.

IMPORTANT: The alternate cannot apply for a separate Half Dome Lottery with the same email address. The alternate permit holder has 72 hours to accept the email and make an account with recreation.gov or they will not be accepted as an alternative permit holder. 

Step 6: Scroll down to “Lottery Preferences” in the # of dates section, write “7”, then click “Enter Choices”

Step 7: You can choose up to 7 dates for the entry date. There is an option to choose a date range or a single date.  Enter your preferred date and group size. 

IMPORTANT: Group size is the size of your own party (not including the guide). You are allowed a maximum of 6 participants per reservation. For groups with more than 6 participants, multiple people must apply for permits, under different usernames.

Step 8: Agree to the “Need to Know” Information by clicking the box. After you click the box, it will bring you to the top of the screen.

Step 9: Click “Proceed to Cart” This will take you to a page where you can review your Shopping Cart details, to ensure everything is correct.  Click “Proceed to Payment”, here you can enter your Payment Information. Then click “Next” to complete the checkout process. 

Step 10: At the beginning of April (around April 10th), the park will send permit confirmation letters (or denial letter if you did not win the permit lottery). Email the confirmation letter to SYMG at info@symg.com and we will schedule a guide for you for the day of your permit. 

 IMPORTANT: The trip leader (you, not SYMG) must pick up the permit from the Yosemite Wilderness Office in  Yosemite Village on the day prior to your hike per the instructions on the permit confirmation.

Good luck and we hope to see you out on the trail this year!

Becca George
I grew up in a small beach town in Southern California, although my love for the Sierra is generational. My parents were ski bums and river guides and as kids, they brought me and my siblings on epic adventures all over the Golden state. With endless road trips, camping vacations and backpacking summer camps, my love for the outdoors and nature grew immensely and authentically. As an adult I've continued exploring this marvelous state; spending numerous hours adventuring in the mountains, desert, and ocean to alternatively experiencing the professional city life in San Francisco and LA. I always knew I somehow wanted to combine my profession with mountain living. Stepping away from “city life”, most recently I’ve found myself pretty comfortably nestled into a sleepy mountain town of the western Sierra foothills working as the Logistics Coordinator for SYMG. I enjoy the day to day of communicating with guests and local vendors about travel, permitting, transportation, lodging and everything in between. The mountains are where I feel the most alive and free and on my days off you’ll find me hiking, climbing, or searching for new swimming holes (and in the wintertime, skiing) with my husband and Siberian husky. My favorite quote that I continue to live by is, “Beauty all around me, with it, I wander".