Things to Do in Yosemite National Park with Children

Top Family Friendly Things to Do & Kid Activities in Yosemite National Park, CA

Things to Do in Yosemite National Park with Kids

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What travellers are saying

  • TheExplorerFamily
    Somerset, NJ6,333 contributions
    This gorgeous area, in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, was the third to get its status as a National Park on October 1, 1890, and is still wowing every visitor today, even after 250 years. The Park’s diverse landscape supports more than 400 species of wildlife. It is known around the world for its towering granite cliffs, its deep Valleys, the ancient giant Sequoias (that can grow up to 300 feet in height with trunks 27 feet across), Ponderosa Pines, massive Oaks, and its Waterfalls. It also helps that photographer Ansel Adams made it even more famous by his amazing, fiery sunset photos of two of its formations – El Capitan and Half Dome.

    It was one of the most incredible Parks that we have ever visited. Our jaws dropped as soon as we exited the Tunnel from Route 41, and got our first glimpse of the classic panorama of the Yosemite Valley, and the iconic sites of the Half Dome and the Bridal Veil Falls. We parked at the Village, and took the Shuttle to all the most-visited fabulously scenic spots, and were fortunate to capture some fantastic photos. The breathtaking views must be experience firsthand, because no photos or words do it any justice. At the end, we hiked up to Mirror Lake to take a mini-break before heading back home. It is no wonder that John Muir described this Park as “the brightest and the best of all the Lord has built”.

    We felt fortunate to have stepped foot in this National Park, and were also happy to add a Sticker and a Stamp to our Parks Passport.

    Absolutely, a “Must Visit” destination in everyone’s lifetime. It is like visiting Heaven on our Earth.
    Written 18 July 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • PacificNWFamily
    Washington State95,763 contributions
    We were happy to ride the shuttle to the Arrival Area. This much better than last year. And the water is turned on at the Arrival Area, so you can refill water bottles if needed.

    The wheelchair accessible Big Trees Loop is not a loop. While much of the area has been fixed after the January 2020 windstorm, there is still a huge tree blocking the trail.

    After viewing the Grizzly Giant & California Tunnel Tree, we continued up the Mariposa Grove Trail, enjoying the named and unnamed trees along the way. We went all the way to Wawona Point where we picnicked and watched local wildlife including a young Golden Eagle. Then we walked down to the Upper Grove for the Guardians Loop Trail. This is my favorite part of Mariposa Grove. I think it’s worth the effort, if folks feel they can hike that distance.

    We headed down some unnamed trails past the Clothespin Tree and on to the Perimeter Trail & the end of the Grizzly Giant Loop.

    Shuttles appeared to be running every 5 to 15 minutes. We had the 15 minute wait.
    Written 17 June 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • TheExplorerFamily
    Somerset, NJ6,333 contributions
    As soon as you exit from the tunnel (if you are coming via Route 41), you will arrive at Vista Point. Turn in there, park your car, walk a few steps, and be blessed with a flabbergasting view of the three iconic sites of Yosemite Valley – El Capitan, Bridal veil Falls and Half Dome.

    The stunning vista of granite and the deep valley below with all the trees just gives you a sense of the immense size of the park. There is a small wall where you can sit and take some great photos.

    The place is a little crowded, but people are in and out of the small parking lot fairly quickly after getting a quick photo.

    Worth a short stop just to take in that beauty. On your return home, if you are able to catch the sunset rays, you will see the granite glow red, and look as if it is on fire. That is Amazing!
    Written 18 July 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • John P
    Santa Clara, CA250 contributions
    With an elevation close to ten thousand feet, Tioga pass is one of the highest pass in Sierra Nevada.
    Written 8 July 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • TheExplorerFamily
    Somerset, NJ6,333 contributions
    El Capitan is the most revered of all sites in this National Park. This towering sheer granite monolith rises to a height of 3593 feet above the meadow. The sleek striated surface glows red at sunset and the shadows cast on it by the passing clouds during the daytime are very intriguing.

    We took the Shuttle to the El Capitan Meadow Stop Number 9, and a short walk back across a wooden bridge took us to the base of the giant rock. We just stopped and stared in awe.

    There was a nice photographer there with a camera on a tripod which had a massive lens, and he let us look inside to try to view the rock climbers on the sheer cliffs. Even with that amazing zoom, the climbers looked like ants.

    Nobody leaves the park without a visit to this famous icon.

    We captured wonderful photos of this massive and superb rock from several angles throughout our visit.
    Written 20 July 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • AVNISH SINGH
    Bengaluru, India316 contributions
    One of the most recommended trails in the Yosemite valley. The Yosemite falls are visible from a distance, no matter you are in Yosemite. So, being able to climb to the top of the waterfall and get a bird’s eye view of the valley is simply surreal. The trail also provides stunning views of the waterfall at different vantage points. We saw two rainbows at the base of the falls.

    This is slightly harder trail, with a total distance of around 7 miles and an elevation gain of 3,000 ft. So take plenty of breaks and give yourself at least 5 - 6 hours to complete this. Alternately, you can also visit the lower Yosemite Falls, which gets you closer to the base and is a much easier hike.
    Written 26 July 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • TheExplorerFamily
    Somerset, NJ6,333 contributions
    These waters cascade more than 600 feet down a sheer rock surface. They are very high up, and the wind currents there blow the falling waters into a fine mist. The Native Americans called this the “Spirit of the Puffing Wind”.

    When the sun shines down on the water at the right angle, people can even see a rainbow. We saw a very light one, and even that was very eerily beautiful.

    This Waterfall is distinguished from other Falls by the formation of the rocks that looks like a dolphin’s Head bobbing up and looking towards the sky.

    The people park right along the road side, just to make a quick stop to click a few photos. We also did that, and then hurried ahead knowing that better sites were coming up inside the park.

    Worth a look, for sure.
    Written 18 July 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • PacificNWFamily
    Washington State95,763 contributions
    Since Glacier Point Road is closed this year, it’s not really feasible to enjoy the short hike up to the top of Sentinel Dome. So this year we just viewed Sentinel Dome from North Dome across the Valley. It is a very different perspective to look at Sentinel Dome rather than being on Sentinel Dome.
    Written 17 June 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • BT3rd
    Datchet, UK5,804 contributions
    We parked by the lake, sat on the lakeside stones and had lunch. With the sun shining bright the lake looked beautiful with the mountains in the background.
    Written 2 June 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • BT3rd
    Datchet, UK5,804 contributions
    These meadows are a sight as we came down from the mountains on the road to Tioga pass. Very serene and peaceful with lovely views
    Written 2 June 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • badmaru
    San Jose, CA243 contributions
    Tuolumne Grove is an awesome plane to visit even in the winter. The area is so beautiful and quiet especially in the winter. We did not wear snowshoes, but still managed to do some hiking. If you have then, definitely bring them to make it easier. If you have young kids, a sled makes a big difference. Our kiddo enjoyed the trail because she didn’t have to hike and she got to sled.
    Written 1 May 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • PacificNWFamily
    Washington State95,763 contributions
    I have visited the History Center in Wawona many times. This time I spent most of my visit in the new Chinese Laundry Building that is across from the gray barn. It was fascinating to learn about the contributions from this group in the development of Yosemite NP. I enjoyed the signs, information, and photos.
    Written 17 June 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • TheExplorerFamily
    Somerset, NJ6,333 contributions
    This small and pretty lake is located in the Tenaya Canyon. The hike is a 2.4 mile round-trip from the Shuttle Bus Stop, and was our final activity for the day. Most of the path was paved, but a few parts of the hike were steep, a little arduous and slippery. Luckily, there are plenty of trees that provide shade.We saw some massive boulders, and quite a few squirrels.

    The Mirror Lake is a popular swimming hole that is quite shallow, and a lot of people come prepared to take a dip in there.

    We thought it was over-hyped, and were a little disappointed at not seeing enough water in the “Lake”. Yes, the sky and the rocks were reflected in the water, but the water was not clear enough to create a mirror effect.

    Make sure you wear good walking shoes if you plan this hike.
    Written 21 July 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Claudia10229
    Dallas, TX316 contributions
    Plenty of parking to view wonderful scenery. You can climb on the rocks and there are steps going down to a path. Walk the entire length of the sidewalk to view different parts of the park.
    Written 25 June 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Bet543210
    201 contributions
    Wow! This was by far our favorite part of visiting Yosemite. We drove up to the Hetch Hetchy road and waited for the ranger to open it right at 8am. Just a few minutes from there was the dam where we started our hike. Two young kids that made it all the way to Wapama falls and even swam in the pools below. Without the cool water, this may have been miserable. There is very little shade along the trail and although along the reservoir the entire time, there is no way to access it because of the steep drop offs. We saw many people struggling when we were nearing the dam at the end of our trip that were wearing flip flops/crocs and had one water bottle between them. Come prepared for high temps in the summer and start as early as you can get in the gate. When you get to the falls cross the first bridge and climb down under the second. This was where you could get into the water to cool off.
    Written 9 July 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.