World Heritage listed Yosemite is the High Sierra at it's best. Wonderful wildflowers in season, glacial power, granite monoliths towering impossibly into the sky spilling over with cascading waterfalls. An abundance of life life teaming from the giant Sequoia trees, valleys and meadows.
Yosemite is one of the most popular parks, it was also one of the first. John Muir was overwhelmed by the natural beauty of this place in the 1860's and was instrumental in it becoming set aside for people to enjoy.
Today the park is used for a vast variety of family activities. With 12 miles of bike paths, lots of cross country skiing places and spectacular hikes are only the start. A slightly challenging mist trail leads you off to waterfalls (see below) and an the easier Valley Floor Loop trail will take you around the Yosemite Valley. These are only a part of the extensive family opportunities you can take advantage of.
Kids can even become a ranger for a day. Details of how to do this and the dozens of activities that are offered all year round are constantly updated in the Yosemite Park magazine and in the video and reviews below.
Camping is remains a viable option with campsites available if you are wise and use the best approaches to securing a spot. See our reviews of all the top family friendly campgrounds at Yosemite.
As you can imagine with literally millions of visitors each year you can expect to spend a great proportion of your time sitting in traffic if you don't plan around this issue. Amtrak, Greyhound and regional transport are options you may not have considered but have merit.
Once you arrive at Yosemite there is a host of free shuttles, paid tours, and public transportation to get you around the park. Check out the information provided by the NPS on transport for details of what goes where and when:
Half Dome is a huge granite monolith (rock) iconic to Yosemite National Park. Many Families hike to the summit but it is an especially difficult hike and not for the faint-hearted. We definitely recommend you watch the video below and wear all the correct equipment.
Video: Park ranger gives an overview of one of Yosemite's most challenging hikes: Half Dome.
This is the most famous place in Yosemite to get a view of the sunset. A huge geological formation.
This great forest borders with Yosemite in should make it into your itinerary if at all possible. With trees that are older than a thousand year old and as tall as a city skyline this is one spectacular spot to contemplate your place in the web of life. Or simply let the children explore and play among these amazing features of the natural planet.
Hike the two mile road or hop on a tram tour. Situated near the south entrance to the park and about an hour from the valley itself.
Another great lookout in Yosemite National Park. Amazing view as you exit the tunnel. Good place set up a telescope at night to view one of the amazing meteor showers that frequently visit the park's skies.
Hiking to Vernal Falls along the mist trail or viewing other waterfalls within the park is a great ideas a to enjoy some quality family time. The 100m waterfall on the Merced river runs all year round but is reduced a little by the end of summer. The trail takes you to the Vernal Fall Bridge. During your journey you travel through the mist of the falls to watch the waterfall.
The hike is considered a Strenuous Yosemite Valley Day Hike and is covered in the video below. Another video of some great images of the hike follow in the next video after that.
Rising almost a kilometer from the valley floor this is one of the most spectacular and popular attractions of the Yosemite Valley. The huge granite monolith is also an appealing and obvious attraction for families who love rock climbing.
Eventually your family will need some space of their own to recharge. A hike through the Tuolumne Meadows is a great way to appreciate the diversity of plant and animal species in the park.
The video below follows the Tuolumne River from its glacial beginning to the Tuolumne Meadows.
At over 2,425 ft these cascading upper and lower falls shure are a sight. They flow from November through July. Check out our video below for more information and some of the hikes available
Your family will love the approximately 3 km (2 miles) long Sentinel Dome hike. If you can walk two miles, you can do this fabulous hike with the squirrels!
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