Project overview: Improve visitor experience and safety along some of the most spectacular and heavily used trails in the National Park System, including a signage overhaul, trail improvements, rebuilding Happy Isles footbridge, and more. 

How your support helps: The area between the start of the John Muir Trail in eastern Yosemite Valley and the summit of Half Dome is easily the most popular hiking terrain in the park. The “Half Dome Corridor” offers an array of memorable experiences: Watch the Merced River waltz around Happy Isles, feel cool spray on the steep steps beside Vernal Fall, pitch a tent in Little Yosemite Valley, climb the famous granite-anchored cables.

This well-loved part of the park is in desperate need of large-scale restoration work. Limited or confusing signs lead to hikers straying off formal trails. “Social” trails forged by hikers cut across sensitive habitat. Failing trail tread creates a safety hazard.

In 2023, your support will propel vital preparatory steps for a multiyear effort to transform the visitor experience and better protect natural resources along the corridor. Ultimately, the restoration work could include:

  • Creating a seating area where hikers can pause to rest and reflect beside the Merced River.
  • Replacing broken asphalt on the John Muir Trail with a more sustainable material.
  • Protecting plants and reducing erosion by removing informal paths worn by countless hikers who step off the official trails or shortcut switchbacks.
  • Adding a series of trailside signs to help people find their way, stay safe and minimize their environmental impact.

Your gifts will fund the essential planning, scoping, preliminary designs and compliance work necessary to kickstart this ambitious and essential project. With your help, park managers will be able to move forward with ensuring the Half Dome Corridor is as safe and ecologically sound as possible, ready to welcome and wow hikers today and for decades to come.

Project partner: Yosemite National Park.

Kevin Killian

Chief Ranger, Yosemite National Park

Project Notes

“This project addresses visitor safety, resource management and wilderness education concerns along the most heavily used trails in Yosemite.”