Tips for Dressing Kids for Winter in Yosemite

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Walking in Yosemite

Editor’s note: In our never ending quest to bring tips from around the globe, our intrepid gal in Yosemite, we’ll call her YOMom, submits this report from the valley floor.  This is the first in a series:

January in Yosemite

If you plan to enjoy some fresh mountain air, a trip to Yosemite promises breathtaking views of frozen waterfalls and a dazzling rim of rocky cliffs dusted in sparkling snow. Here in the Yosemite Valley presently, the weather fluctuates from sunny and cool, to rain, to flurries of short-lived snow. Winter is finally settling in after a prolonged autumn weather-pattern of sunny days, verging on warm, to frozen nights.

Some Things to Think about When Packing for Children

The rain and sleet feel quite numbingly cold now, so be sure to bring layers with an external waterproof outer-layer. Skip traditional raincoats for their lack of warmth and turn to waterproof ski-type coats. Preparing ahead can enhance and extend your outdoor wilderness experience. Treat kids’ pants, coats, and gloves in a solution of Nikwax if they are losing their waterproof qualities. Spray their tennies and jeans with ScotchGuard at least a day before wearing. Bring a warm, comfortable hat.

If you can, bring snowboots (Kamiks are truly waterproof and warm) instead of rainboots, so toes stay toasty. Warm feet, heads, and hands are key to enjoying outside time. If you only have rainboots, bring several pairs of warm socks (we love Smartwool socks) and cover socked feet and pant cuffs with plastic produce bag & a rubberband to stay dry longer.

Don’t let the weather stop you…take an umbrella to keep off rain, sleet, and snow. Use rubber floormats in the car & bring shammies to use for drying off before getting back in the car. Rainpants (L.L. Bean’s are truly waterproof) over sweats is a great way to pack light…they work as waterproof snowpants and keep out the wet.

If you plan to ice-skate or ski, bring long socks (use your soccer or baseball socks) as they stay up in the skate/boot better. Warm Ugs or slippers are nice after skating to get cozy. A firepit is available at the skating rink…bring marshmallows and hotdogs to roast, a festive way to end (or begin) your skating session…don’t forget the metal skewers & condiments. A thermos of hot-cocoa is an extra treat! Bring wet-wipes and hand-sanitizer for clean-up.


Next in the series, kid friendly activities in the Yosemite Valley, stay tuned…..


Half DomeYOmom is a resident of Yosemite National Park. Her husband and two homeschooling children have helped her to fully appreciate mountain living.  She has added putting chains on car tires & using a wood splitter to her skill set, but prefers enjoying the outdoors during the daytime and NOT camping at night. She holds a B.A. in English and an MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary. She loves cross-cultural experiences and trying new things. YOmom hopes her tips will help make your visit to Yosemite a happy experience.


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I’ve never been, but these look like great tips! One day…

Nunca he estado alli pero se que es uno de los lugares mas lindos de California. Excelentes tus tips, muchas gracias por la informacion.

Leslie Limon

Muy buenos consejos! Hace muchisimos años que no visito Yosemite, pero si me acuerdo del frio que hace! 🙂

laura filipowicz

i have never been, but hope to soon! Thanks for the info! :))

Caryn B

Great tips and your photos are awesome! LOVE Yosemite!!! Can’t wait to read more of your series.

Eva Smith

We take an annual trip to the mountains. Thank you for the advice. It will come in handy when we prepare to take our granddaughter. Can’t wait!


I’ve never camped at the elevations of Yosemite, but I can imagine it gets icy cold in the evenings. Great tips!


I am DYING to go to Yosemite. I don’t know why I’ve been holding out so long.


I so want to visit this with my family.


Love the post! Aleways wanted to take the kids to Yosemite and you inspired me!

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