The Best Yosemite Hikes for Families with Kids of All Ages
Yosemite National Park is one of the most beautiful places on earth. With its soaring mountains, rushing rivers, and abundant wildlife, it’s no wonder that Yosemite is one of the most popular national parks in the country. And what’s even better is that there are plenty of great hikes for families with kids of all ages to enjoy. Here are some of our favorites.
Map of the Best Hikes in Yosemite for Kids
The Best Yosemite Hikes for Families with Toddlers
Cook’s Meadow Loop
This short, easy hike is the perfect introduction to Yosemite for little ones. The 1-mile loop takes you through a meadow full of wildflowers and past some of Yosemite Valley’s most iconic landmarks, including Half Dome, Sentinel Rock, and Three Brothers. Best of all, the trail is flat and shaded, so it’s ideal for hot summer days.
Another great option for families with toddlers is the short hike to Bridalveil Fall. The waterfall is one of the most popular attractions in Yosemite Valley, and the paved trail to the viewing area is only 0.5 miles long. Even better, there’s a playground next to the trailhead, so your kids can burn off some energy before or after the hike.
Mirror Lake Trail
The Mirror Lake Trail is a great option for families with kids of all ages. It’s a relatively short and easy hike with a big payoff—a gorgeous reflection of Half Dome in its still waters. The trailhead is located just off of Highway 41, so it’s easily accessible even for toddlers in strollers. Be sure to bring your camera to capture this special moment!
The Best Yosemite Hikes for Families with School-Age Kids
The Mist Trail is one of the most popular trails in Yosemite Valley, and for good reason. The 3-mile round-trip hike takes you to Vernal Fall, where you can cool off with a refreshing swim in the pool at the base of the waterfall (if you don’t mind getting soaked, that is!). The trail does involve some uphill hiking and stair-climbing, but your kids will love feeling like they accomplished something challenging. Just be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks to keep everyone fueled up.
For breathtaking views of Yosemite Valley (and beyond), Glacier Point is hard to beat. The hike to Glacier Point is fairly long (9 miles round trip), but relatively flat since it follows an old roadbed for most of the way. Along the way, you’ll pass by several waterfalls and get outstanding views of Half Dome, Vernal Fall, Nevada Fall, and Liberty Cap. If you have younger kids in tow, you can also take a shorter version of this hike by taking the shuttle bus partway up to Glacier Point Road.
There are so many amazing hikes in Yosemite National Park that it can be hard to decide which ones to do when you’re visiting with your family. If you’re looking for ideas, though, we’ve got you covered. Whether you’ve got toddlers or school-age kids (or both!), there are plenty of great hikes that your whole family will enjoy. So get out there and explore all that Yosemite has to offer!