Going to YNP for 3 days next month. Was just wondering about the selection of trails available? Would there be many options whereby runners would suffice or will I need my hiking boots? Just planning the packing. I have all the gear for hiking at home etc but my boyfriend doesn't. Would we have much options with runners only? What are the trails like - rock / sleepers/ gravel/ natural path or a variety of same?
The trails vary depending upon what you are looking for--but, in general, the best trails involve going up and down great elevations. If possible pack both, but if you had to choose one or the other, I'd definitely go with the hiking boots.
Hiking and backpacking options are still limited in April. Expect snow above 6,000 feet (this varies from year to year).
The Mist Trail to the top of Vernal Fall usually opens sometime in April, although it is possible to reach the top of Vernal Fall via the John Muir Trail and continue on to Nevada Fall. The Yosemite Falls Trail is typically snow-free at least most of the way to the top, but snow is likely at the top, making for a snow-camping experience if you're backpacking. The Four Mile Trail to Glacier Point is closed, but may be open to Union Point, about halfway up.
Outside of Yosemite Valley, snow may still be present in the Upper Mariposa Grove, but the lower grove is usually mostly snow-free. Chilnualna Falls Trail (Wawona) may be mostly snow-free and hiking to Wapama and Rancheria Falls (Hetch Hetchy) is another usually snow-free option.
There are no multi-night backpacking options in April that do not involve hiking and camping in the snow.
Yosemite Lodge Food Court in Yosemite Valley is a nice affordable option before or after hitting the trail. There are items you can pack along and the market next door also has a range of items available for your trail needs.