View Full Version : Yosemite with a toddler?

04-02-2008, 04:33 PM
Has anyone ever been to Yosemite (or Yellowstone) with a young toddler? DS just turned 2 years old, and DH's cousins want to take a trip there in a few months. While we'd love to go, I'm not sure how to handle it with a toddler who still needs to nap every day. I'm guessing most hikes take several hours, and DS does not nap very well in his Ergo. I don't know how feasible it would be to have to return to the cabin every day at around 2PM!

So, has anyone done it and worked out a nap schedule? Would you do it again? TIA!

04-02-2008, 09:11 PM
I have no idea what an Ergo feels like to wear, but I just can't imagine doing any serious hiking carrying a toddler in one! I'd look into buying/borrowing/renting a true kid-carrying backpack, one with sun and rain covers. In addition to carrying the kiddo, you'll need to carry water for him (and plenty of it!), raingear (even with a rain cover for the carrier), basically your diaper bag plus everything a adult would need for safe hiking, except boots and bear spray*.

If you've never been hiking before, I'd actually recommend looking into preparing for a day hike and then thinking about how a toddler will complicate things. Naptime will probably be the least of your worries!

* Yellowstone does have grizzlies. If the park will let you carry it, I highly, HIGHLY recommend carrying this. Especially with a kid around.
** While very tempting, don't let your DS feed any animals.
*** My credentials (http://www.flickr.com/photos/geeklady/2384281156/)

04-03-2008, 12:45 PM
I have no idea what an Ergo feels like to wear, but I just can't imagine doing any serious hiking carrying a toddler in one!
We do regular short hikes with our 2 yr old in her Ergo - but not much more than 3-5 mile hikes. That's about our DD's tolerance for sitting in and sleeping in her Ergo. I agree that for more "serious" hiking you might want to get something fancier, but the Ergo has worked fine for shorter hikes. You can do a lot of short hikes in Yosemite, or hike/ramble/picnic type things in places like Tuolomne Meadows (my fave part of the park). That way you can do some hiking, but your toddler can also get out and run around for a bit.

You'll probably have to play it by ear with naps - some days, he might sleep in the Ergo, some days you might get an early start and get back to your cabin/tent in time for his nap.

04-16-2008, 12:24 PM
We are heading to Yosemite in Sept. with our two-year old. I've been there a lot before baby but this is our first trip with her. We have a hard-sided cabin at Curry Village.

Our toddler is much too heavy to carry in our Kelty backpack carrier (she is around 30 lbs), so we're going to bring our Revolution stroller. There are a lot of flat easy hikes right around the valley that we can do with the stroller (one in particular- the Lower Yosemite Falls trail- is fully ADA accessible). Most other hikes are pretty strenuous and we're just not up for that with a toddler. I've found there is plenty to do around the Valley- the visitor center, gift shop, looking around the Awahnee, going to a ranger program.

You can get an idea of some of the various activities at:


04-16-2008, 12:50 PM
I have not been to Yosemite or Yellowstone with a toddler, but 1) I have been to both of them without a toddler and 2) I have camped and hiked with our toddlers a fair bit. With respect to Yosemite - it is a crowded tourist haven. It is beautiful, but very very popular. The good news is that it is also VERY well designed for young kids, people with disabilities, etc. There is a ton of activities to do and small day hikes to take. There is a big general store with every imaginable bit of food/gear/etc. so you can literally drive in with nothing and buy everything you need right there. It is very family friendly. There are lots of cabin options as well, so you can have a proper nap place if you need it. The trick to camping/hiking with a young kid is to bring a friend for him, if you can swing it. They will both have a blast. If that is not an option, then the fresh air and great outdoors are usually enough to tucker the kids out and after a long day of playing, they will sleep. That having been said, don't expect a good night's sleep the first night. You will all be tired the first day, but the second day things start going smoother. Do not pack up and deem it a failure after the first night. Give it at least 2 nights! You will be surprised how much better subsequent days go. As for the hikes, if you have a jogging stroller or something with big wheels, there are a few hikes that will be fine with the stroller. Other hikes will be short and doable even with little toddler legs. The strenuous ones will be too strenuous to be carrying a toddler, pushing a stroller, etc. Just plan accordingly. I think that is all I can think of for now!

ETA - naps are hit and miss for us when we are on vacation. Again, after the first bad night, the next day will have your kid falling asleep in the car, in the stroller, etc. We usually strive for a rest period, even if no one sleeps. Sometimes we purposely go for a drive somewhere at nap time if it has been a few rough napping days. See if there is anything in the vicinity of your destination that you might enjoy (museums and malls seem to be our favourite destinations to take a break from the campground).