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Yosemite National Park in the Fall: A weekend itinerary for the family.

Updated April 15th, 2022
Autumnal natural landscape from Yosemite National Park, California, United States
Image credit: Adrian Martinez

If you're looking for a breathtaking, family-friendly getaway this fall, look no further than Yosemite National Park. Just a few hours from San Francisco, this world-renowned park offers something for everyone, from hiking and biking trails to waterfalls and wildlife watching. Here's a sample itinerary for a wonderful weekend trip to Yosemite.

Day One:

After arriving in the park, take a short hike to Lower Yosemite Fall. This easy, one-mile loop is perfect for little legs and offers up some stunning views of the falls.

Next, head to Bridalveil Fall. This short, 0.5 mile hike is also suitable for young children and leads to one of the most iconic views in the park, the 620-foot Bridalveil Fall.

For lunch, picnic at one of the many scenic spots along the Merced River. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife like deer, squirrels, and birds while you enjoy your meal.

After lunch, it's time to explore one of Yosemite's most popular attractions, Tunnel View. This lookout point offers panoramic views of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, and El Capitan.

Next up is a visit to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. This is the largest grove of these giant trees in Yosemite and is definitely worth a visit. Take the shuttle from the Visitor Center to the grove, then explore the various trails at your own pace. Just be sure to keep an eye out for black bears, which are often seen in this area!

Finish up your day with a visit to the Wawona Hotel, a historic landmark built in 1879. Grab a bite to eat at the hotel restaurant, then explore the grounds and learn about the hotel's rich history.

Day Two:

Start your second day with a visit to Glacier Point. This popular spot offers up some of the most incredible views in the entire park. On a clear day, you can see for miles in every direction.

After taking in the views, it's time for a hike. The Panorama Trail is a great option for families. This 8.5 mile trail offers up stunning views of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, and Illilouette Falls. If that sounds like too much for your little ones, no worries - the trail can be broken up into smaller sections.

For lunch, head to the Ahwahnee Hotel, another historic landmark in Yosemite. This grand hotel is definitely worth a visit, even if just for lunch. Be sure to try the famous Ahwahnee bread, a park staple.

After lunch, it's time to explore Yosemite Valley. This 7-mile long valley is home to some of the most iconic sights in the park, including El Capitan, Half Dome, and Yosemite Falls. You can explore the valley by foot, bike, or shuttle.

As your weekend comes to a close, take one last hike to Upper Yosemite Fall. This moderate, 3-mile hike offers up some of the best views of Yosemite Falls.

We hope you enjoy your weekend in Yosemite!