Fall is one magical season full of messy and golden leaves. Yosemite National Park celebrates fall so beautifully as the quaking aspen turns yellow, the dogwood turns red, and the black oak turns orange/brown. This is one of California’s top destinations during the warm months. It can be frustrating to get around Yosemite during the weekend. However, it does get much quieter during the fall season. The weather at night gets cooler which makes it less comfortable for campers and backpackers. On the other side during the day the weather is very comfortable and one could easy agree that it is perfect for a day full of outdoor and fall fun. Before you head to Yosemite make sure to check the weather forecast, get whatever you need to be comfortable, and head to the amazing Yosemite Valley for a great day trip.
We chose these two easy hikes for our day trip…
This short 2.4 mile long roundtrip hike is a great choice when little feet are joining you. It is particularly beautiful in the fall because the trail follows along Tenaya River with the trees celebrating the fall season and with all the red and yellow colors the green moss on the rocks, bolder, and tree trunks stands so vividly. If you’ve walked this trail before you’ll want to walk it again during the fall season because it feels like your experiencing the trail for the very first time.
This lake truly lives up to its name because you get to see the reflections of Mt. Watkins, Tenaya Canyon, Washington Column, and the parks surrounding cliffs. This is one of the only places in the valley where you can see the majesty of Yosemite Valley by looking down, so find a comfortable spot because you might want to stay for awhile and gaze into the water.
Refraction of light in water:
To see a reflection in the water there must be no wind in the air because the water has to be still and calm. How refraction works: Refraction is the bending of light. If you place a pencil in a half full jar of water, the pencil will look bent. Light travels from the air to the front of the glass then through the water, through the back of the glass, through the air once again, and then touches the picture. The image looks reverse because the light that was once on the left side is now on the right side and the light that was on the right side is now on the left side.
You can have some hands on fun yourself at home and all you need is two jars, water, two pieces of paper, and color pencils. On one sheet of paper draw two arrows (horizontal lines) and on the other draw two lines going vertical (one green and the other red). Place the sheet of paper behind the empty jar and start pouring water inside the empty jar. The arrows that once were drawn facing the left side will now be facing the right side. Also, the line that was once red will now look green and the green line will look red. This sure looks like magic to a child. 🙂
Cook’s Meadow Loop:
If you’ve got children who complain that their feet hurt when they hike then this is the perfect loop for you and your little one. This loop starts at the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center and takes you on the boardwalk through the golden meadows to the famous Sentinel Bridge. Here you get great views of lower and upper Yosemite Falls with golden elm trees lined up at the edge of the meadow almost as if to protect you from the busyness of Yosemite Village. Bring a blanket and lunch with you so you can enjoy the beauty that surrounds you in one of the most busiest places in Yosemite National Park.
Hands on Learning:
We printed out pictures of Yosemite National Park and painted the picture on a big maple leaf. It was a bit challenging to do but our kiddos enjoyed doing it.
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