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Re: Doable hikes with a 3 year old

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avatar Doable hikes with a 3 year old
April 09, 2014 03:33PM
Kid loves to explore, but I'm looking for suggestions. Obviously we're not going to be able to do all-day hikes of 8+ miles, but short trips would be fine.

I was thinking Mist Trail, although some were trying to talk me out of it with a kid that young. Of course Mirror Lake. Wondering if taking the bus to Glacier Point and going down Four Mile Trail is possible.
Re: Doable hikes with a 3 year old
April 09, 2014 04:28PM
Depends upon the time of the year you are planning to go and how fit/strong you are. (ie assume you have to carry a toddler at least 50% of the time). Try going to see Lower Yosemite Falls to see if the kid is ok with getting wet w/cold water before considering the Mist Trail. Going up will be safer than going down (ie suggest returning via the JMT/Horse trail).

My boy was also 3 the first time he went to Yosemite. We took him to Lembert Dome/Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite Falls, and bug hunting in the Merced River (below Yosemite Lodge). We considered the area around Glacier Point, but felt that one long drive from the Valley was enough. Since you seem to want to cover a lot of ground you might also consider renting a bike w/trailer. Also, if your kid has never used a port-a-potty before, don't assume he/she will during your trip.

Otherwise, have fun!
avatar Re: Doable hikes with a 3 year old
April 09, 2014 05:08PM
Quote
OL
Depends upon the time of the year you are planning to go and how fit/strong you are. (ie assume you have to carry a toddler at least 50% of the time). Try going to see Lower Yosemite Falls to see if the kid is ok with getting wet w/cold water before considering the Mist Trail. Going up will be safer than going down (ie suggest returning via the JMT/Horse trail).

My boy was also 3 the first time he went to Yosemite. We took him to Lembert Dome/Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite Falls, and bug hunting in the Merced River (below Yosemite Lodge). We considered the area around Glacier Point, but felt that one long drive from the Valley was enough. Since you seem to want to cover a lot of ground you might also consider renting a bike w/trailer. Also, if your kid has never used a port-a-potty before, don't assume he/she will during your trip.

Otherwise, have fun!

Our kid has little fear. In a way that sort of scares me. In another thread I mentioned where we just went together - on a trip to China. About the only hesitation was getting in an aerial gondola car. There was no problem with the return ride.

As for using a port-a-potty/Port-A-Let/"vault toilet"/"pit toilet" - I don't think that would be an issue. On the China trip, our kid managed to use some of the nastiest/smelliest toilets and even a few squat toilets.
Re: Doable hikes with a 3 year old
April 09, 2014 06:46PM
At three we took our son to The Fissures at Taft Point and Taft Point. I can tell you that once we got near the fissures, we did not let go of his hand for a second the whole time we were in the whole area including Taft Point. The fearless thing is what you have to watch out for. My son was also fearless so we had to keep him close enough to grab if we had to. Unfortunately, he did get away from us on the trail back from Taft Point/ Fissures and he started running and tripped over a rock on the trail, fell and hit his knee so hard on a rock that 15 years later he still has issues with that knee. There were times I thought that one of those kid's harnesses with a leash would have been a good idea but I hate those things. Leashes are for dogs not kids.
avatar Re: Doable hikes with a 3 year old
April 09, 2014 05:47PM
I am all about keeping it fun for the young ones...even up to about the teen years. My philosophy is that if it is fun then they will want to come back and do more...if not, well, they won't. I would definitely err on the easy side of things.

Some off the wall ideas...
watching the climbing bums bouldering and slacklining in Camp 4 (they may even invite the toddler to (safely) participate
any of the available big trees areas
Old Big Oak Flat Road is always a winner...an easy half mile up to great views from the pullout at V7

And I think you could do the mist trail...with a death grip on the kid's hand sad smiley
avatar Re: Doable hikes with a 3 year old
April 10, 2014 10:00AM
I'm wondering why doing the Mist Trail with a toddler is such an important goal?

It's a trail with a real possibility of a bad accident occurring. Personally, I wouldn't have a child try to do the Mist Trail unless I was very comfortable that they could manage climbing up the slick boulders on their own. I certainly would not let a toddler try to climb those boulders that are getting doused in water on his own. Maybe when the Mist Trail wasn't so misty (as in September or October) would be one thing, but in spring it's a whole different animal.

If the goal is to just get to the top of Vernal Fall, I would recommend the longer route of going up the JMT to Clark Point then heading down the crossover trail to Vernal and then hiking back up the same trail to get back to the valley or continue to the top of Nevada Fall. But doing the Mist Trail with a toddler — to me at least — is to be looking for trouble.

He will one day, in relatively short order, be old enough to do climb the Mist Trail on his own with aplomb. No need to rush it.

Just my two cents...
avatar Re: Doable hikes with a 3 year old
April 10, 2014 10:18AM
In regards to hikes that could be fun for a toddler, I would recommend not just hiking to Mirror Lake, but also doing the Mirror Lake loop trail. Also hiking in Yosemite Valley from the campground as far west (beyond Yosemite Lodge) on the Valley Loop trail should be rewarding. He could have some fun at the beach area near Swinging Bridge, or at the giant sand bar along Mirror Lake.

Other suggestions: hiking to Sentinel Dome and hiking up and down the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias.

If they're still offering the tram tour this year at the Mariposa Grove (don't know when they're planning to phase it out), a less strenuous option would be to take the tram tour up to the top of the Mariposa Grove and then hike back down to the parking lot.

The Four Mile Trail shouldn't be too bad either if you schedule a break (like having a lunch break at Union Point) in the middle of the hike to ease the constant grind of an all downhill hike. (I would have him hold your or your wife's hand while hiking across the Four Mile Trail's traverse between Glacier Point and the first set of switchbacks. The rest of the FMT should be fine, though.)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/10/2014 01:59PM by plawrence.
Re: Doable hikes with a 3 year old
April 11, 2014 09:01AM
Quote
plawrence
I'm wondering why doing the Mist Trail with a toddler is such an important goal?

It's a trail with a real possibility of a bad accident occurring. Personally, I wouldn't have a child try to do the Mist Trail unless I was very comfortable that they could manage climbing up the slick boulders on their own. I certainly would not let a toddler try to climb those boulders that are getting doused in water on his own. Maybe when the Mist Trail wasn't so misty (as in September or October) would be one thing, but in spring it's a whole different animal.

If the goal is to just get to the top of Vernal Fall, I would recommend the longer route of going up the JMT to Clark Point then heading down the crossover trail to Vernal and then hiking back up the same trail to get back to the valley or continue to the top of Nevada Fall. But doing the Mist Trail with a toddler — to me at least — is to be looking for trouble.

He will one day, in relatively short order, be old enough to do climb the Mist Trail on his own with aplomb. No need to rush it.

Just my two cents...
Absolutely agree with not doing the mist trail. IMO, it's too dangerous for a 3 yr old. Even adults have slipped and fallen to their death on the mist trail.
Re: Doable hikes with a 3 year old
April 11, 2014 11:23AM
I agree its not "safe" for any age. But I would rather hike the Mist Trail with a 3 year old than a 6-12 year old. Of course it depends on the kid but from the description this won't be the kid's first rodeo and the parents seem to understand the risks. The age issue for me is that it is much easier to pick up and carry a three year old than a six year old through the more dangerous parts. I just wouldn't trade those early experiences with my boys for anything in the world.
avatar Re: Doable hikes with a 3 year old
April 10, 2014 03:58PM
Wherever also posted something a while back that may help here



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/11/2014 08:23PM by Bearproof.
Re: Doable hikes with a 3 year old
April 11, 2014 08:16PM
Quote
Bearproof
Wherever also posted something a while that may help here

Thanks. The head of that thread is here:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,34462,34462#msg-34462
Re: Doable hikes with a 3 year old
April 12, 2014 08:06AM
The first time our son did the mist trail, he was seven. We were coming down from Tuolumne Meadows. With a 12lb pack on, he did great, like a billy goat. The problem was the people coming up the trail. It was crowded and there were so many people jumping around and pushing others. I had allot of anxiety around Vernal. The next time we came down, we timed it to be very early, before the crowds.
Re: Doable hikes with a 3 year old
April 12, 2014 09:12AM
Other options in Yosemite are SEntinel Dome and Pothole Dome---our kids liked both of those, and they are doable with realtively young kids. So is Tuolumne Grove.

On the other hand, our kids favorite hikes when they were small were relatively short and lead to water. Hike across the Valley to the river, and dabble on the beach. Eat lunch. Take a nap in the shade. Dabble in the water again. Hike back. For a three year-old, that is a lifetime memory



Balzaccom

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Re: Doable hikes with a 3 year old
April 13, 2014 04:33PM
Quote
balzaccom
Other options in Yosemite are SEntinel Dome and Pothole Dome---our kids liked both of those, and they are doable with realtively young kids. So is Tuolumne Grove.

Speaking of Pothole Dome, I seem to recall that they have forbidden parking there now. Or something like that. Does anyone here know the actual restriction?
avatar Re: Doable hikes with a 3 year old
April 13, 2014 08:07PM
Quote
wherever
Speaking of Pothole Dome, I seem to recall that they have forbidden parking there now. Or something like that. Does anyone here know the actual restriction?

The path across the meadow has been blocked and the natural grass restored. There's still parking but you have to walk around the end of the meadow.
Re: Doable hikes with a 3 year old
April 14, 2014 09:56PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
wherever
Speaking of Pothole Dome, I seem to recall that they have forbidden parking there now. Or something like that. Does anyone here know the actual restriction?

The path across the meadow has been blocked and the natural grass restored. There's still parking but you have to walk around the end of the meadow.

Yes, they will build a single designated trail from the road to pass along the edge of the dome (and erase all the existing use trails), but that's not what I was talking about. If you look at the river plan for Tuolumne, http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/trp.htm , you will see that all roadside parking will be eliminated, except for designated parking lots. That would be about 20 places near Pothole Dome. It appears that you will be out of luck if it fills up, unless you want to walk a long way on the road. All parking on the shoulder of Tioga Road will be prohibited.
avatar Re: Doable hikes with a 3 year old
April 15, 2014 12:35AM
Quote
wherever

If you look at the river plan for Tuolumne, http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/trp.htm , you will see that all roadside parking will be eliminated, except for designated parking lots. That would be about 20 places near Pothole Dome. It appears that you will be out of luck if it fills up, unless you want to walk a long way on the road. All parking on the shoulder of Tioga Road will be prohibited.

I've never had an issue finding a parking spot at the small Pothole Dome parking lot. Granted, I never go there midday, but it the mornings or late afternoon when I usually hike up and around Pothole Dome, parking has never been an issue.

.
avatar Re: Doable hikes with a 3 year old
April 15, 2014 01:47AM
Quote
plawrence
I've never had an issue finding a parking spot at the small Pothole Dome parking lot.

I usually park up the hill from there.
avatar Re: Doable hikes with a 3 year old
April 17, 2014 11:47AM
Regarding the Mist trail: Lots of day hike folks never make it beyond the big footbridge across the river a little ways below Vernal Fall and the trail is actually asphalt up to the bridge. You have a clear view of Vernal Fall from the bridge. If your 3-year old peters out by the time you reach the bridge you still get to see the fall without having to navigate the slippery trail further up. Another really easy family day hike with a toddler is from Tuolumne Meadows Lodge to the Lyell Creek footbridge. It's just a little more than half a mile of level walking and the footbridge area is a nice safe place for kids to play in the water if desired. The scenery opens up near the bridge permitting long distance views of nearby mountains.
Jim
Re: Doable hikes with a 3 year old
April 22, 2014 10:54AM
I was in Yosemite last May with my 2 and 4 year old daughters. Let me say it was definitely a challenge and considerably different from being there with just me and the wife, but completely worth every second. We had a Kelty backpack kid carrier for the 2 year old which worked well, but obviously it's impossible to carry a 4 year old in one of those. I found a carrier for older kids called the piggyback rider (piggybackrider.com) that was simply awesome and greatly expanded the scope of trails we were able to take on. It's fairly easy for the kid to jump on and off, and helps distribute the weight like a backpack for you. Definitely got a bunch of weird looks since it is kinda different...

We were able to hike throughout the lower and upper Mariposa grove, Sentinel Dome (using the "shortcut" route on the old road), Mirror Lake, and the short stuff like Glacier Point, Lower Yosemite falls, Bridalveil, etc. We DID hike the Mist trail but only to the point that we could stand near the waterfall and experience the spray. I wouldn't have wanted to tackle all the slippery and crowded steps with a kid on my back, but I highly recommend at least taking it to the first few "steps". Very safe and a good compromise. I also recommend taking other adults if possible so you can at least get one day to "scratch the itch" and do a big hike without kids. My wife and I hiked to Waterwheel falls on our "free" day and it was one of the best parts of our trip. Good luck!
avatar Re: Doable hikes with a 3 year old
April 22, 2014 09:32PM
Quote
Ryno98

I found a carrier for older kids called the piggyback rider (piggybackrider.com) that was simply awesome and greatly expanded the scope of trails we were able to take on. It's fairly easy for the kid to jump on and off, and helps distribute the weight like a backpack for you. Definitely got a bunch of weird looks since it is kinda different..



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