YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. — A rocky trail and hundreds of feet of twisted metal cables might not immediately conjure an image of something worthy of historical preservation.

But when the trail leads to the iconic Half Dome in Yosemite National Park and the cables allow armchair wilderness lovers to ascend the once-inaccessible granite monolith, the significance was enough for a spot on the list of National Register of Historic Places.