There are some places in the world that sink right into your soul. Yosemite National Park - like Yellowstone National Park - is such a place. It's so majestic, so unearthly in beauty, that you can't help but want to get right down on your knees. It's no wonder that Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant in 1864 to protect and preserve the space.
With an elevation range from 2,127 to 13,114 feet, the park features five different vegetation zones - which means you'll see a wide variety of trees, flowers, plants, and wildlife. During our visit, we saw deer, a wolf, birds, and squirrels...but bears, bobcats, cougars, beavers, and owls also live here.
For our two-night trip, we stayed at The Redwoods in Yosemite, a company that operates over 130 vacation home rentals located inside of Yosemite National Park in the town of Wawona. That's right! The rentals are INSIDE the South entrance. Each home is individually-owned and reflects that design tastes of the owner. Take your pick from a studio to a 6-bedroom cabin. Rates range from $220-$1010 per night, depending on square feet, number of rooms, and included amenities. This is an especially fantastic option for multigenerational or multi-family travel because you can all make memories together (and split the cost!).
On day one, we settled into our vacation rental and ate grilled corn-on-the-cob, french bread, and fruit salad for supper. On day two, we headed out early to see the sights. We hiked Bridalveil Fall Trail (0.5 miles), stopped to take pictures of Lower + Upper Yosemite Falls, marveled at El Capitan, exited and entered through the famous Tunnel View, splashed in Mirror Lake (2 mile hike to get there), and drove up to Glacier Point (drop-your-jaw views of Half Dome!). Lots of walking for little feet - but so worth it!
On day three, we spent at least half the day in Mariposa Grove, which contains about 500 mature giant sequoias. We were awed by the Grizzly Giant and the California Tunnel Tree (an ~0.8 milk hike to both)...and then the girls surprised up by hiking all the way to the Upper Grove and Museum (a very steep and strenuous 2-mile hike!).
That concluded our time at Yosemite National Park...but we can't wait to go back again when the kids are a bit older! There are so many hiking trails and scenic vistas to explore!
Have you ever been to Yosemite National Park with kids? What travel tips would you add?
* Thanks to The Redwoods in Yosemite for hosting our stay.