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Re: Yosemite first time with 6 y/o son

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Yosemite first time with 6 y/o son
September 23, 2016 05:49PM
Hi,

I'm planning to go to Yosemite in late October or early-mid November with my 6 y/o son. I have never been, but what to spend an enjoyable 2-3 days out in the park. Can somebody with good experience shoot me a plan for a good trip. I'd also like to conserve money and I don't mind sleeping in a tent unless you suggest otherwise. Hiking for miles is probably out of the question, but he's active enough to do 1-2 miles. Thanks everybody.
Re: Yosemite first time with 6 y/o son
September 23, 2016 06:56PM
Curry Village Pizza Deck. A slice of heaven for a 6 year old.

Vernal Fall is pretty cool too.
Re: Yosemite first time with 6 y/o son
September 23, 2016 07:03PM
On more serious note...

The Merced River is quite low now. There are some nice beaches for your son to play around on...and maybe see a crawdad. The meadows in the middle of the Valley are gorgeous, and offer a quiet space for you to have some down time.

the Visitor Center has a good video to watch, some nice wildlife exhibits, and often has native Americans offering various educational programs.

So you could easily spend a couple of hours there and the rest of the day in the meadows/on the beach.

The hike to Vernal Falls is lovely, even with the low water flows. And then maybe a drive up to Glacier Point or the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias.



Balzaccom

follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
Re: Yosemite first time with 6 y/o son
September 23, 2016 07:16PM
All great suggestions except the Mariposa Grove is closed until next summer.
avatar Re: Yosemite first time with 6 y/o son
September 24, 2016 05:34AM
There also are ranger programs for kids -- guided hikes, activities, educational presentations, etc. The roster for these is fullest in the summer season, not sure what they do into the fall. Throughout the national park system is a Jr Ranger program for kids, my daughter loved doing that at all the parks we visited when she was younger.
Re: Yosemite first time with 6 y/o son
September 24, 2016 07:53AM
Excellent point, both about Mariposa Grove and the Junior Ranger Program...

But when we drove past Mariposa Grove a couple of weeks ago, the parking lot was packed?!?



Balzaccom

follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
avatar Re: Yosemite first time with 6 y/o son
September 24, 2016 12:07PM
Quote
balzaccom
But when we drove past Mariposa Grove a couple of weeks ago, the parking lot was packed?!?

You sure you aren't thinking of Merced Grove?
Re: Yosemite first time with 6 y/o son
September 24, 2016 01:46PM
Quote
balzaccom
Excellent point, both about Mariposa Grove and the Junior Ranger Program...

But when we drove past Mariposa Grove a couple of weeks ago, the parking lot was packed?!?
Are you meaning the lot at the Wawona Store or the lot near the road that goes to the grove? According to the website, it will not reopen until next summer.

https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/mariposagrove.htm

When we were last there, right before Labor Day, the lot by the road that goes to the grove was full of construction related vehicles.
Re: Yosemite first time with 6 y/o son
September 24, 2016 07:06PM
Yeah---duh. Tuolumne Grove. Which was packed because Mariposa Grove was closed.



Balzaccom

follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
Re: Yosemite first time with 6 y/o son
September 24, 2016 01:48PM
Quote
JRinGeorgia
There also are ranger programs for kids -- guided hikes, activities, educational presentations, etc. The roster for these is fullest in the summer season, not sure what they do into the fall. Throughout the national park system is a Jr Ranger program for kids, my daughter loved doing that at all the parks we visited when she was younger.
My son is 20 and we still do the Jr. Ranger program at parks we have not been to before. Some parks now have started a Senior Ranger Program geared towards adults.
avatar Re: Yosemite first time with 6 y/o son
September 24, 2016 06:39PM
To clarify, the park has a variety of individual ranger programs for kids, for example a 15-minute presentation on the geology of Yosemite Valley. The Jr. Ranger program is a specific program that a kid can sign up for, usually stratified by age groups. They get an activity book that they have to fill out, typical set of activities might include a requirement to sit in on one of the kid-oriented ranger presentations, collect a certain amount of trash and dispose of it properly, keep a diary of animals observed, etc. Filling out the booklet can stretch over your entire visit. Once the booklet is filled out you can return to a ranger station where you show it to the ranger and the kid gets "sworn in" as a Jr. Ranger, gets a badge and a certificate, etc.
Re: Yosemite first time with 6 y/o son
September 24, 2016 02:20PM
Ditto on the ranger-led programs, we've never gone wrong with any of them with young kids at any of then national parks we've visited, you can get a list of the ranger-led programs in the current "Yosemite Guide" here: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/guide.htm.

As to hikes: if the Glacier Point Road is still open, the hike from the road to Sentinel Dome and back is certainly doable for a 6-year-old. If Tioga Road is open, our then-5-year-old had no problem with the May Lake or Dog Lake hikes the first time we visited; Elizabeth Lake and the Murphy Creek trail are two more relatively easy ones that come to mind. And of course you can just walk around Yosemite Valley between shuttle bus points, it's pretty flat.
Re: Yosemite first time with 6 y/o son
September 24, 2016 04:05PM
Thanks for the suggestions. I'll definitely check the out the ranger programs.
Re: Yosemite first time with 6 y/o son
September 25, 2016 05:35PM
From our experience with younger kids, If 120 is open, a day trip up to Tuolumne Meadows... try going up Pothole Dome. It's not very high, nor difficult. A 6yr old can do it easily; he can imagine himself "rock climbing". (my son imagined it that way when he was 4). Then walk along the JMT towards the "twin bridges" in Lyell Canyon. Explore the river...

Bring bikes if you can, rent if you can't. A bike ride in the valley is great. Your best bet for saving money on food is to make it yourself. Groceries are available either at Curry (half dome) village or Yosemite Village (much better selection). Otherwise the pizza deck is good, and there is a food court at Yosemite Lodge.

If you don't mind sleeping in a tent and have warm sleeping bags, your son may enjoy being in his own tent rather than the tents at Curry/Half Dome Village (it may actually be quieter at night since the tent cabins at Curry are RIGHT NEXT to each other so you'll hear snoring, giggling etc).... just keep an eye on the weather as it can get below freezing at night. Don't forget to bring warm clothes...

General hint: Get your son his own headlamp, and something that glows in the dark...(check for Halloween stuff). Also, if you have a smartphone download a free star chart app for it...

Have fun!
Re: Yosemite first time with 6 y/o son
September 25, 2016 09:02PM
Awesome, thanks.
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