"For many, Half Dome defines the Yosemite landscape; this stunning granite monolith appears in more scrapbooks worldwide than virtually any other peak. Reigning supremely over the valley floor at 8,842 feet, its looming form is unmistakable as it beckons hikers to a lofty 360-degree panorama. On the must-do list of nearly every California hiker, this is a challenging and long journey that features rushing rivers, turbulent waterfalls, and steep granite walls. The hike first ascends past Vernal and Nevada Falls to Little Yosemite Valley, plateaus briefly, then continues rising. The last 400 feet of the climb are the most memorable, as they include the infamous Half Dome cables that carry you up the final exposed pitch. But the real prize is the jaw-dropping view once you arrive, which should help you forget nearly all the pain of this 5,000-foot ascent. Outstanding features: Vernal and Nevada falls, stupendous views of Yosemite Valley, steel cables at top (late May–mid-October; do not attempt hike if cables are down)"