Methods to predict contact stresses in the hip can provide an improved understanding of load distribution in the normal and pathologic joint. The objectives of this study were to develop and validate a three-dimensional finite element (FE) model for predicting cartilage contact stresses in the human hip using subject-specific geometry from computed tomography image data, and to assess the sensitivity of model predictions to boundary conditions, cartilage geometry, and cartilage material properties. Loads based on in vivo data were applied to a cadaveric hip joint to simulate walking, descending stairs, and stair-climbing. Contact pressures and areas were measured using pressure sensitive film. CT image data were segmented and discretized into FE meshes of bone and cartilage. FE boundary and loading conditions mimicked the experimental testing. Fair to good qualitative correspondence was obtained between FE predictions and experimental measurements for simulated walking and descending stairs, while excellent agreement was obtained for stair-climbing. Experimental peak pressures, average pressures, and contact areas were (limit of film detection), , and , respectively, while FE-predicted peak pressures, average pressures, and contact areas were , , and , respectively. Misalignment errors, determined as the difference in root mean squared error before and after alignment of FE results, were less than 10%. Magnitude errors, determined as the residual error following alignment, were approximately 30% but decreased to 10–15% when the regions of highest pressure were compared. Alterations to the cartilage shear modulus, bulk modulus, or thickness resulted in change in peak pressures, while changes in average pressures and contact areas were minor . When the pelvis and proximal femur were represented as rigid, there were large changes, but the effect depended on the particular loading scenario. Overall, the subject-specific FE predictions compared favorably with pressure film measurements and were in good agreement with published experimental data. The validated modeling framework provides a foundation for development of patient-specific FE models to investigate the mechanics of normal and pathological hips.