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alwaysafrica Mar 26th, 2008 08:01 AM

Trip to Yosemite (with a Toddler) - Advice Please!
Hi there,

My husband and I are planning our first trip to California (from Toronto, Canada) in early June 2008. I'm going to write another post with some general questions about our two-week itinerary, but I think that our stay in Yosemite needs to be secured first - since those accommodations may definitely be the most in demand!!!

We will be traveling with our (then) 12-month-old son. He's extremely well-behaved, but this will be his first big trip (we are SO EXCITED to be getting traveling again!) and so we don't really know what to expect!!!

Qs re ACTIVITIES: My husband and I are avid hikers and have done some pretty serious mountain hiking in our "traveling days", but now, with the addition of our DS, we know that our days of hikings have changed :) SO, my main question is: are there any truly accessible hikes in Yosemite (short, fairly easy/moderate hikes that would be suitable with either a backpack hiker or light stroller) with good views? And is it really worth it going all the way to Yosemite to primarily DRIVE through the park? Could you recommend some beautiful drives? We're so excited about visiting Yosemite, that I'm really hoping for some positive responses!!!

Qs re ACCOMMODATIONS: We plan on spending 2 nights/3 days in Yosemite NP. I've checked the website and it appears that there are only tents left inside the park (which I don't think is a good idea with our son). There are deluxe rooms available at the Tenaya Lodge. Is the lodge really in a good location? There may also be spots available with Yosemite West Condos - would this be better?

Thanks so much!


PaulRabe Mar 26th, 2008 08:20 AM

I can answer one of your questions:

> is it really worth it going all the way to Yosemite to primarily DRIVE through the park?

A very enthusiastic YES!!! The Valley is one of the most awe-inspiring spots on this planet, and the drive towards Tioga simply stunning as well. There is NEVER a bad time or way to visit, there are only better ways to see it.

Suzie Mar 26th, 2008 08:21 AM

Everyday there are cancellations in Yosemite so check the site all the time. With a child, I would prefer to stay in a room at the Lodge at the Falls.

Tenaya Lodge is very nice but it's just outside the south entrance which means at least one long drive to the valley. You could try for one night in the valley and then at the end of the day make your way to the south for your second night. Then you could visit the Mariposa Grove and Wawona so the drive would not be as long.

You could also try for a room at the Yosemite View, which is right outside the Arch Rock entrance and right along the Merced River in El Portal. Only about 20 minutes or so to and from the park.

mlgb Mar 26th, 2008 08:37 AM

Yes, there are a few hikes accessible to a stroller/wheelchair.
The first four listed in the Valley floor are easy and flat. In early June, the high country may or may not be open, but if it is, the drive up to Glacier Point is always worthwhile.

I'd keep trying for a cancellation inside the park at the Lodge.

enzian Mar 26th, 2008 09:03 AM

Rather than take a stroller and be limited to paved trails, I suggest you carry your son in a backpack. He will be old enough to enjoy the views and interact with you as you hike (hopefully not pulling your hair or things like that!). I carried both my sons on some very nice hikes in backpacks, up to age 2 1/2. I generally kept the hikes to a couple of hours at most, but if it extended into naptime, they would just fall asleep (you can get packs with nice padded head support).

You wouldn't want to do the Mist Trail with a child in backpack, but you can hike to the top of Vernal Falls on the main trail. Sentinal Dome from the Glacier Point road is another easy hike with great views which you could do. You could also hike partway up the Yosemite Falls trail---not to the top, but up a mile or 2 to get more nice views of the valley and surrounding cliffs.

And if the Tioga Pass road does happen to be open (people are saying it might open a bit early this year), then you could take the drive up to Tuolumne Meadows, where there are some nice easy trals through the meadows, and you might even find snow for him to play in. The drive up take about 90 minutes and the road passes some spectacular viewpoints, as well as beautiful Tenaya Lake.

Do be aware that there my be mosquitoes around in the early season, particularly in the high country; you'll need a repellant that is safe for the baby, or lightweight, tightly-woven clothing with long sleeves, and a hat.

alwaysafrica Mar 27th, 2008 09:36 AM

Thank you so much for the replies - and for being so positive! We will most definitely continue with our plans to go to Yosemite and look forward to all of the wonderful drives and hikes! If there are any other ideas about good hikes/drives, that would be great!

As for accommodations, I will continue to try every day for a spot in the valley, but as of now, our choice is between Yosemite West (loft condo) or Tenaya Lodge - which is a better choice? It seems that the condos are much closer to the valley... is that right?



november_moon Mar 27th, 2008 11:37 AM

Another idea - Yosemite Valley has a good network of paved bike trails. You can rent bikes with kid trailers. Great way to see the valley - and actually a lot nicer than in the car because in the car you have the issue of parking when you want to stop. Bikes are much easier.

I am curious why the tents wouldn't be a good idea with your son. The tents you are talking about are in Curry Village, right? Those are basically tent cabins on a platform with beds inside. Other than concerns about noise, I wouldn't think it would be a problem to stay there with a small child.

Marginal Mar 27th, 2008 11:55 AM

The tented cabins share a communal shower and toilet facility. You have to wait in line for the toilets, for the showers. It isn't so easy dealing with a toddler in those circumstances.

SuzieTrue Mar 27th, 2008 12:59 PM

I agree about the baby backpack. DH carried both kids until they were at least 2 y.o. We even did some cross-country skiing when DS was little. Still remember DS pointing out animals on our hike at Mt. Rainer. He had the best view in the house.


enzian Mar 27th, 2008 01:09 PM

I believe Yosemite West is closer to the valley than Teyaya Lodge would be.

But did you try calling DNC for lodging at Yosemite Lodge at the Falls? sometimes they have cancellations that don't show up on the website, especially as you approach the 3-day cancellation date. (801) 559-4884.

On the other hand, it might be nice to have a condo with your small child; more room for him to creep around and you can make your own leisurely breakfast, as well as dinner if you choose.

You'll also be close to the Glacier Point road and the hike to Sentinal Dome. And close to the sequoia groves ,which are very nice for walking.

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