Yosemite for the family



Description:

Kids need nature. Introducing them to outdoor play in one of America’s crown jewels will build a lifetime of inspired connections with the natural world, will grow the bonds within your family, and will create shared memories that your kids will cherish for the rest of their lives. Unplug them (and yourselves) from TV, computer and handheld screens and you’ll all be surprised how fun it can be to play with sticks, rocks and pine needles. Yosemite does get busier when school is out in the summer, but the beauty and opportunities never go away. A day, a weekend or a whole week are all worthwhile timeframes for showing off the park to your young ones; it’s hard to run out of fun stuff to do.We’ll base at the inexpensive Housekeeping Camp in Yosemite Valley. It’s like camping, but you don’t need to have a tent, etc. It’s wrapped by the cool Merced River and a long beach with great views. By the latter half of the summer it’s usually safe and comfortable for wading and swimming. There’s a small camp store, a Laundromat and a shuttle stop that’ll get you around the Valley to other attractions. The whole park is great for kids and in the summer there are more structured programs for them to enjoy – they mustn’t miss the Junior Ranger programs that the park rangers do at the Happy Isles Nature Center. Some easy hikes, boulders to scramble on, playing in sand, building ‘elf houses’ with sticks and leaves, looking for bear tracks, and going to evening campfire programs will help kids fall in love with natural beauty and with doing things with their siblings and parents.

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Author: Pete Devine


Day 1 - Yosemite National Park, El Portal


Arrive in Yosemite Valley and check in at the rustic Housekeeping Camp. It's like camping but a little more solid than a tent. Kids will find other kids to play with and a fun beach and forest to explore. Warn them to be cautious around the river.


1

Housekeeping Camp

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Location:

9004 Southside Drive
Yosemite Valley
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

Contact:

tel: 1 801 559 4884
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2

Yosemite Outdoor Adventures

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Location:

PO Box 230
(Yosemite Village)
El Portal, CA 95318

Contact:

tel: +1 209 379 2321
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Day 2 - Yosemite National Park


Start exploring by taking the free shuttle bus out to Happy Isles Nature Center a family friendly place to start learning. Rangers do programs for children here and kids can get started on earning a Junior Ranger badge, something every kid should have a chance to do. Ride the bus to the Visitor Center area and explore the Indian Village and Indian Museum where they can meet a local Native American who can explain Yosemite's First Peoples' lives. Walk by the base of the dramatic Lower Yosemite Falls to Yosemite Lodge where you can hop on the famed Valley Floor Tram tour (that you'd reserved ahead of time: 209/372-0240). Everyone loves these open trams where rangers describe the sights. After supper take in a ranger campfire program in one of the nearby campgrounds.


1

Shuttle Buses

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Location:

Yosemite Village
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

Contact:

tel: +1 209 372 0200
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2

Nature Center at Happy Isles

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Location:

Happy Isle Loop Road & Southside Drive
(Curry Village)
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

Contact:

tel: 209/372-0200
visit website


3

Indian Village of Ahwahnee

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Location:

Indian Canyon Road
(Yosemite Village)
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

Contact:

tel: +1 209 372 0200
visit website


4

Lower Yosemite Falls Day Hike

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Location:

Northside Drive
(Yosemite Valley)
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

Contact:

tel: +1 209 372 0200
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5

Tours Within The Park

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Location:

Yosemite Village
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

Contact:

tel: +1 209 372 1240
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6

Evening Ranger Programs

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Location:

Yosemite Valley Visitor's Center
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

Contact:

tel: 209/372-0200
visit website


Day 3 - Yosemite National Park, Yosemite


Back in the car for a bit of travel today, first going to the west end of the Valley for the short walk up to the misty base of Bridalveil Fall. Drive up Hwy. 41 to the Glacier Point Road and follow that out toward the rim. If you've got good hikers, consider the 1-mile ascent to the top of Sentinel Dome where the views of the Sierra crest and the foothills are immense. An easier and still dramatic walk is found at Glacier Point where you can look down on Housekeeping Camp from 3000 feet up. Drive back to Hwy. 41 and continue south to Wawona. Park at the store and ride the free shuttle up to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. These huge trees awe all ages, and Grizzly Giant makes an impression on everyone. Back in Wawona, stroll over to the Pioneer Yosemite History Center to learn about park history from costumed staff in a collection of historic buildings. Consider getting a pizza for supper tonight at Curry Village, to save you the cooking and cleaning, and to save a little energy for going to an evening program at LeConte Memorial across the street from your lodgings.


1

Bridalveil Falls Day Hike

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Location:

Wawona Road & Southside Drive
(Hwy 41)
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

Contact:

tel: +1 209 372 0200
visit website


2

Four Mile Trail to Glacier Point

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Location:

Southside Dr
(Yosemite Valley)
Yosemite, CA 95389

Contact:

tel: +1 209 372 0200
visit website


3

Sentinel Dome Trail

Location:

P.O. Box 577
Yosemite, CA 95389

Contact:

tel: 209-372-0200
fax: 209-372-0220
visit website


4

Mariposa Grove

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Location:

Mariposa Grove Road
Park at the Wawona Store parking area and walk east 0.25 miles to Forest Dr. The trail head is on the right
Yosemite, CA 95389

Contact:

tel: +1 209 372 0200
visit website


5

Pioneer Yosemite History Center

Location:

P.O. Box 577
Wawona Hotel
Yosemite, CA 95389

Contact:

tel: 209-372-0200
fax: 209-372-0220
visit website


6

Curry Village Pizza Patio and Bar

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expert pick

Location:

Curry Village
Curry Village, Yosemite Valley
Yosemite National Park, CA 95379

Contact:

tel: 209 372 1000
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7

LeConte Memorial Lodge

Location:

Curry Village Loop
(Curry Village)
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

Contact:

tel: +1 209 372 4542
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Day 4 - Yosemite National Park


Put lunch and water in daypacks and ride the shuttle to Curry Village Bike Stand to rent wheels for the morning. Pedal the Happy Isles - Mirror Lake loop, and over to park the bikes in Yosemite Village. In the Visitor Center bookstore you can pick up a guidebook to the historic graveyard. A stroll through here introduces you to some of the people (and children) who helped make Yosemite what it is today. Loop past Yosemite Lodge on the bike trail and return the wheels to Curry Village so you can enjoy a warm afternoon on the beach by camp. Sunscreen is especially important at this elevation and near the water. You could ride the shuttle to Yosemite Lodge to find a simple dinner that kids will like at the Food Court. Sleep well on your last night in the Valley's forest.


1

Yosemite Bike Trails

Location:

Yosemite Lodge and Curry Village
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

Contact:

tel: +1 209 372 1208
visit website


2

Yosemite Cemetery

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Location:

Castle Cliffs Court & Village Drive
(Yosemite Village)
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

Contact:

tel: +1 209 372 0200
visit website


3

Yosemite Lodge Food Court

Location:

Yosemite Lodge Drive & Northside Drive
Yosemite Lodge
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

Contact:

tel: 1 559 252 4848
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Day 5 - Yosemite National Park


If you've got time for one last excursion before heading home, ride the free shuttle again, to the Mirror Lake trailhead and walk up along Tenaya Creek for the neck-craning view of Half Dome. Pack up the dirty clothes, but don't lose track of the hard-earned Junior Ranger badges. While you're driving home, ask the kids where their favorite place in Yosemite is, what they enjoyed doing best, what they'd like to do on the next family visit to their national park.


1

Mirror Lake Day Hike

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Location:

Happy Isle Loop Road
(Yosemite Valley)
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

Contact:

tel: +1 209 372 0200
visit website


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