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Yosemite with chidren - specfiic questions about travel times and accomidations

Yosemite with chidren - specfiic questions about travel times and accomidations

Old Jul 10th, 2018, 01:26 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 68
Yosemite with chidren - specfiic questions about travel times and accomidations

Our family - with three kids (ages 11, 9 and 8, who are fit and walk a lot but don't really hike... more tramping in the forest or playing sports or walking around) are heading to Yosemite in August on a detour to a wedding. We arrive on Monday and leave on Wednesday. Probably not enough time, but realistically all that I could probably stand sleeping in a tent. We are all booked for Half Dome Village.

We are planning to drive in from the south so that we can stop at Mariposa Grove. There were a few easy hikes suggested but if we are
up for the Grizzly Giant Loop Trail that looked like a nice hike. I read that there is no parking at Mariposoa Grove when the shuttle is running, but that there is parking nearby - does that mean walking distance or at a different shuttle stop?

I have assumed that it could take from 1-2 hours on a Monday afternoon in August to get to Half Dome Village from Mariposa Grove, and even longer if we stop at lookout vistas. Has anyone done this recently who can share how long it took with traffic?

We have never been to Yosemite - will we have obtained the appropriate parking pass when we entered the south gate of the park? Will we need a different parking pass to park at the various visitor centers? Or the campground parking? Is there anything I can do in advance to pre-purchase, so that we are not spending time on admin stuff that day?

Once we get to Half dome village, how do we "check in" to our yurt (we are not camping, but staying in the park's yurt like cabin like spots). People have suggested that we arrive while it is still daylight - any other suggestions? How far is parking from the yurt? I am bringing ear plugs and flashlights and ... any other key things we need to pack?

I am terrified that it will be impossible to drive to or park at any of the trail heads, so I was planning on us taking the shuttle to do Mirror Lake or the Lower Yosemite Falls hike on our full day in the park... but I have also read that the shuttle can fill up and be difficult to manage with a family. I understand that bike rentals are available near where we are sleeping - but they do not book in advance. How early do I need to get there in the morning to get a bike? Do they have bikes for tall adults? I read that they provide helmets, but what about bike locks? Could we ride to the trailhead at shuttle stop 6 or stop 17, and lock our bikes up while we hike? I called the national parks service and they didn't have any answers to these questions, nor did they have a direct dial to the bike kiosk that they could share.

The hiking map indicates that its an hour from the trail head 17 to Mirror Lake - is that a walk that can be done in the evening or early morning? Do people swim in Mirror Lake? Do people swim off any of the main hikes? I don't know if I should have the kids wear their suits.

I also read that there is food - like an ice cream stand and a pizza place in the half dome village. Can anyone share personal experience eating there with families? Again we don't want to drive and will probably be exhausted.

How far is the village from the visitors center, museum and other food services? It seems like one could walk, but I cant really tell from the maps.

Our last day we are going to drive, because we are exiting the park on the east end, so the thought was we could make one or two stops on our way out - whether to enjoy a vista or to walk around a bit. I am allowing 2- 2.5 hours to get from the Valley to Mono Lake - without stops. Does that sound right? Or will it take even longer. It will be a Wednesday in early August

How early should we leave on our last day? Do we need to leave at like 6am to beat the rush? If we don't get to see Mirror Lake the day before, I thought we could spend an hour or two doing that before we left Yosemite, but I will make sure we get it down in the prior two days if I need to get the kids up and out bright and early.

I have downloaded a lot of the maps and guides from the Yosemite website, but if anyone is aware of a small, light book or pamphlet that I can easily carry with us as we tour around, I would appreciate the rec.

Thanks in advance.
cdc is offline  
Old Jul 10th, 2018, 01:46 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,090
Here's a map of Half Dome Village Yosemite with chidren - specfiic questions about travel times and accomidations-half-dome-village_property-map_web.jpg Check-in is at the "Front Office" on the map. There's parking for overnight guests. We were given a pass at check-in to put on our dash indicating that we were overnight guests but I'm not sure how well this is enforced as the lots aren't gated and we didn't notice anyone checking. We stayed in off season so there was no problem with parking. Your tent cabin (I assume this is what you mean by yurt) can be some distance away.

Here's what's available for food at Half Dome Village https://www.travelyosemite.com/lodgi...-dome-village/ You can walk to other areas to dine but I think HDV has the most family friendly options anyway.

Last edited by Patty; Jul 10th, 2018 at 01:54 PM.
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Old Jul 12th, 2018, 07:23 AM
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Thanks. This is helpful. I didn't see through that link if they sold ice at the HDV area? Do you recall if you were able to purchase ice while in the park for your cooler?
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Old Jul 12th, 2018, 07:58 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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We didn't need ice but there's a general store right there. I'm sure they would have it.

I forgot to mention earlier that Mirror Lake is a seasonal lake. Not sure if there will be much, if any, water in August.
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Old Jul 12th, 2018, 09:23 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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>>I am allowing 2- 2.5 hours to get from the Valley to Mono Lake - without stops.
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Old Jul 12th, 2018, 05:37 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Regarding renting bikes, they don't provide locks (and you won't need any). You'll see spots near the beginning of various trailheads and outside the dining and visitor areas where everyone just leaves their bikes. You drop it off before you start your hike, etc. and pick it up on once you return.

I love riding a bike around the Village area. Shuttles can be very busy during the summer, and renting bikes saves time and lets you explore and travel to different locations easily.
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Old Jul 14th, 2018, 04:12 AM
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Another activity we did with our kids MANY years ago was tubing on the Merced River which might suit your young ones IF it is still allowed.
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Old Jul 14th, 2018, 10:01 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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tubing/rafting is definitely allowed. A life vest is required - available when you rent the raft/canoe. However in August the water level is often too low and the rentals close shop. So you'll have to wait until you are there to know.
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Old Jul 17th, 2018, 03:04 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Yurts? You mean the tent cabins? You will get a parking permit for the Half Dome parking lot when you check in. There is a parking lot for reception and then you get to hunt for a spot in the main lot. How far will you be from your tent? Who knows? A rolling suitcase or wagon might be a good idea... All of your food and any scented personal care items (like toothpaste, deodorant, etc) need to go in the bear locker outside of your tent, so repack accordingly the morning before you drive to Yosemite. The tents have beds, and blankets and electric lights. My advice is to shower in the main block near the cafeteria, as the outlying blocks aren't maintained as frequently, and frankly, were gross on my trip last spring. I find the cafeteria food pretty decent for dinner if you can get there before it closes (8 or 8:30 in summer). The grocery store adjacent stays open til 10 and has a microwave. And yes, they sell ice. The pizza place also stays til 10 and has huge lines. The wifi actually worked near the cafeteria last time!

Forget Mirror Lake and Lower Yosemite, no water. Instead, walk or shuttle up to the trail for Nevada and Vernal Falls, which I believe is called Happy Isles, you don't have to walk all of the way up the steps, just to the bridge.

Also allow time to go up to Glacier Point. It's most convenient to do when if you are entering or exiting from Rte 41.Otherwise rally the troops early and bring breakfast or brunch with you. You will want to be past the shuttle parking lot before 9am or they may close it off and force you to take the shuttle.


I would be surprised if you can get to Half Dome Village in the time you are estimating in August..double it! If you are going to be there for several nights, I would not try to join the traffic jam trying to see sunset from the Valley.

Last edited by mlgb; Jul 17th, 2018 at 03:06 PM.
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Old Jul 30th, 2018, 06:31 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 68
Hi all. THAnk you for the great advice but we will be cancelling our trip to Yosemite later today. It was not meant to be. Thinking of everyone adversely affected by the wildfires and fingers crossed that nature runs its course and they are contained.
Instead of Yosemite, We will probably arrive in the Tahoe area a few days early and explore around there or perhaps go the big tree forests north of San Fran and travel a long, circuitous route to Truckee- TBD.
Thank you all again!
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Old Jul 30th, 2018, 08:35 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,289
cdc, I'm sorry you're going to miss Yosemite. I hope you make it back in the fire-free future.
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