Does Hiking Yosemite National Park's Half Dome Still Present a Wilderness Experience?
Thousands of folks trek to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park each summer. Their footprints have created a well-worn path up past Vernal and Nevada falls and onto the granite behemoth. Which begs the question: Does Half Dome offer visitors a wilderness experience?
How can it? The fact that so many folks make the hike arguably makes it impossible to enjoy a wilderness experience. Then, too, there's the use of cables provided by the National Park Service to make it possible to reach the summit with some measure of safety. In a true wilderness setting, you wouldn't find cables to help you along your way.
There's no question that the view from Half Dome is spectacular, but even it detracts from the wilderness experience when you gaze down upon the Yosemite Valley with its roads, lodgings, parking lots, and thousands of visitors.
To get others' opinions on this question, Steve Sergeant at the Wildebeat interviewed a handful of experts and hikers. You can find his audiocast on the matter here. Check it out.