Yosemite Women’s Backpacking – Half Dome

Trip Length 4 Days
Group Size 4–10
Activity level
Starting from
$1,399 for REI Members
$1,499 for non-members
Departures Jul 2021-Aug 2022

From the valley floor to an iconic summit, experience the heart of Yosemite National Park on a four-day backcountry adventure worthy of your bucket list.

Perfect for fit backpackers and women looking for a truly epic Yosemite adventure, this challenging trip takes you from the valley to the summit of Half Dome—8,842 feet of granite and grandeur. Against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, we pass through high-country meadows carpeted with wildflowers, listen to waterfalls and chirping chickadees, swim in crystal-clear alpine lakes and marvel at some of America’s most magnificent scenery.

Our exceptional female guides lead the way—sharing Yosemite’s secrets, preparing spectacular meals (some of the best you’ve ever had on a camping trip, we promise) and imparting field-tested wisdom on women’s gear and backcountry skills. We travel between five and twelve miles every day, exploring the diversity of the Yosemite backcountry and enjoying campfire camaraderie at night. When the sun comes up, we don our packs and hit challenging trails. On the summit of Half Dome, with the valley floor stretching out beneath us, we revel in our achievement and the beautiful trails our journey has opened up to us.

Reaching the summit of this 8,842-foot-high granite monolith is our goal on this epic 4-day backpacking adventure!

Trip Highlights

  • Hike to the summit of Yosemite’s most iconic peak on this four-day adventure
  • Enjoy unforgettable vistas of one of America’s most beloved national parks
  • Learn backpacking skills and wilderness camping basics from expert female guides
  • Get gear tips and improve your backcountry cooking skills
  • REI Women’s Adventure—designed for women, guided by women


This trip is rated Vigorous [4]. Participants will be carrying their own backpacks with weights of 35 to 40 lbs over steep and rocky terrain with constant and dramatic elevation gain and/or loss exceeding 2,000' or more per day on most days of this trip. Day hiking with 35 to 40 lbs in the pack you intend to hike with on the trip and making sure your hiking boots are broken in before your trip is key. This is not a beginning backpacking trip. Previous experience is highly recommended.

  • Backpacking
  • Climbing
  • Hiking

What's Included

Professional guides; meals as noted on the daily itinerary; tents; group cooking gear; group first-aid kit, water filter; campsite and permit fees.


Backpackers campground, 1 night; Backcountry camping 2 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Welcome to Yosemite where our backpacking adventure begins!

Our trip begins in Yosemite National Park, California. We meet our guides and our backpacking companions in Yosemite Valley in the late afternoon for orientation and gear check. At the orientation, our guides provide invaluable tips about proper pack fitting for the female physique and discuss various other gear necessities with women's considerations in mind. After our gear check and review of the upcoming itinerary, we have an opportunity to relax and enjoy dinner together at camp. Please allow yourself plenty of time to get to the campground, as traffic may get congested in the valley during peak season. Dinner included.

Day 2

Set out for a full day of backpacking. Learn wilderness camping skills.

Today we enjoy breakfast before setting out on foot for our first backcountry campsite. We distribute group gear and food, review techniques for correctly packing a backpack, and discuss our route. Depending on our permitted route, we may start with either a park shuttle transfer to our trailhead (approximately one hour) or head directly to our trailhead from the valley floor. This is typically a full first day of backpacking, with time en route for lunch, a myriad of photo stops, and perhaps a dip in a mountain creek. Before dinner, our guides offer a primer on wilderness camping basics that covers such subjects as proper tent set-up in all conditions, sleeping comfort, fire building and backcountry bathroom etiquette. At dusk, look forward to camaraderie around the campfire as we watch for shooting stars overhead. All meals and snacks provided.

Backpacking: 5 to 7 miles; elevation gain/loss 1,000 to 2,000' depending on our route.

Day 3

Half Dome summit day! Enjoy a primer in backcountry cooking tonight.

Another glorious day in the mountains awaits us as we don our packs and hit the trail. Depending on our route, this may be a summit day with only a daypack, or we may continue our hike with fully loaded packs to a camp on the shoulder of Half Dome. Our guides will share their passion for backpacking in the Sierras, and you may delight in a glimpse of a marmot or the call of the mountain chickadee. Before dinner tonight, the guides discuss a variety of backcountry cooking tips and techniques including stove and fuel choices, lightweight ingredient options, caloric goals, basic recipes and backpacking drink options. A hearty guide-prepared dinner will satisfy your belly and the Sierra stars will satisfy your soul. All meals and snacks provided.

Backpacking: 7 to 9 miles; elevation gain/loss: 2,000 to 3,000' depending on our route.

Day 4

Hike past roaring Vernal and Nevada Falls on return to the trailhead.

If this is our summit day, we'll rise early to enjoy the dome near sunrise, with a celebratory breakfast after we return to camp. Nevada and Vernal Falls will be both backdrop and soundtrack as we make our way down the Mist and John Muir Trails to the valley floor. At trail's end, we'll catch the park shuttle for a quick trip back to our cars at the Half Dome Village (formerly known as Curry Village) lot. Our estimated time of arrival back to our vehicles is approximately 4:30-6:30pm. However, please note that this may vary, as our return time is largely dictated by weather, trail conditions, hiking pace and other factors beyond our control. Breakfast, snacks and lunch included.

Backpacking 7 to 12.5 miles; elevation gain/loss 2,000 to 3,000'.

Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To obtain maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. This gear list has been created to help you choose equipment for the trip. Try to bring only what is necessary - this will help you and the field staff.

What to pack

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 800-622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.