|Camping In Yosemite
Summary of all camping facilities in
Yosemite National Park.
877-444-6777 (International callers:
518-885-3639) It's much easier to call the
reservations number, but if you want to do it on-line, the link is
On Friday, March 15, 2013, Upper Pines Campground will return to reservation status,
and the back loops will open. Lower Pines will open for the season on
March 27 (by reservation). North Pines will open for the season on
April 3 (by reservation). Camp 4, Wawona, and Hodgdon Meadow are the
other park campgrounds that are currently open (all currently on a
first-come, first serve basis).
Yosemite National Park
announces three changes to the way in which visitors make camping
for campgrounds operated by the National Park Service (NPS) in the park.
These changes are being implemented in an effort to thwart and discourage
misuse of the camping reservation system that all visitors currently use
when making campground reservations within Yosemite National Park.
The first change will require all visitors checking into a
campsite in the park to show identification upon arrival at the Campground
Reservation Office. Currently, campers do not need to present any form of
identification to secure their reserved campsite. However, this new
identification policy is being implemented to make sure that the person who
arrives at the campground office is the same person who made the campground
reservation. This new procedure will commence for all check-ins beginning
tomorrow, Wednesday, June 8, 2011.
Also starting tomorrow, campground reservation holders
will no longer be able to change the name of the person on the campground
reservation. Previously, the original name on the reservation could be
changed online on the reservation contractor’s website. This would not
change any components of the existing reservation. However, this change
precludes the ability to change the name on a reservation once the
reservation is made. There is a $10 cancellation fee for any reservation
that is cancelled. Further, the same reservation under a different name is
The final change to the campground reservation system will
be implemented later this summer. This alteration will change the way in
which cancelled reservations are released back into the system. Currently,
once a reservation is cancelled, the campsite is put back online to be
purchased. However, under the newly implemented system, the campsites that
become available can only be reserved by calling the campground reservation
phone number. There is no date available for this change.
All campsites reserved in Yosemite National Park are
reserved through a contractor, Active Works. The website is
www.recreation.gov. They can also be reached at 1-877-444-6777. The
park is implementing these changes to ensure equity and fairness for
visitors wishing to make a campsite reservation within Yosemite National
HOW can reservations be sold out 5
minutes after the advance reservation period opens???
Many people have written in dismay over the fact that camp sites are
booked 5 minutes after the window for reservations is open, sometimes a
year in advance. The question has been, "How can 350 campsite
be reserved within 5 minutes of being made available?" I spoke
with George Gonzales, Manager of Reservations at Delaware North Corp,
and he explained it this way: (This process also applies to the
campgrounds, for which his group is not responsible, but mentioned it's
the same situation)
(follow me on this, it's a bit
confusing) Let's say you want a reservation for July 15th through
20th. The first day to make reservations comes around, you are ready,
7am comes and you start dialing, and within 5 minutes you get a
reservation person, who tells you "Sorry, no openings for that date".
You're furious! How can this be? Because two days, three
days previous, for July 14th, July 13th, July 12th etc. the reservations
for those dates opened and people booked 5 days in advance. So
even though reservations for your particular dates have just opened,
people who made reservations 3 days ago booked through your dates, and
thus that campground is not available. Then, the remaining sites
are very quickly snapped up because they have 25 reservation people who
are helping guests simultaneously, booking the remaining sites. I know,
it's not fun, but it's legit.
The way to get campsites after the
campgrounds become "full" is very easy. At Curry Village, the
campground reservation kiosk is located in the northeast corner of the
dirt parking lot. Get there at 7 or 8am to leave your name for
daily no-shows. At 3pm, they read the names in the order they were
received and if you are within the first 5 or 6 names you'll get a site.
A reader shares his insight on staying at Upper Pines
and getting reservations at the last minute:
"Wow, what an amazing week in the valley. Stayed in Upper Pines on the far
loop (229) from 4/19-4/25. Had reservations for 4 days, and due to Phil's
help, I had the knowledge I needed to secure an extra 2 days in the same
site. The NPS website's may indicate that the campgrounds are full, but we
had a large selection of available sites for the extra 2 days, so don't
get discouraged. For the majority of the week, I'd estimate that Upper
Pines was only 60-70% full. Plenty of options folks. Don't miss out; high
50's-low 60's during the day with temps goin up when we left (very cold at
Ps: quiet hours are 10pm-6am. That means start
packing up for the night around 930pm, and be at a whisper by 10pm.
Unfortunately, I had to establish a working relationship with our camp
host due to disrespectful campers. Yosemite is not a party place folks; if
you want to get drunk and loud, take it to the beach. Just be respectful
of others (novel concept, I know)
Thanx for the help Phil. Info was right on as usual.
Keep up the great work; we all appreciate it very much"
Your enjoyment of camping in Yosemite National Park is a function of where
you do it. On the valley floor it's jam-packed, no-privacy,
constant-noise, car-and-RV-camping. In the backcountry it's remote,
wilderness, awesome, on-your-own backpacking. There doesn't seem to
be any mid-ground. You're either in with the rats or you're all by
yourself in the woods.
If you want an immediate
graphical look at what sites are available, go here:
yosemitesites.com I don't
know how he does it, but this is a great on-line service to see immediately
Please remember that Backpackers Camp is for visitors that are going
backpacking. They can use the camp the night before a backpacking trip
and the night after. Valid next-day and previous-day wilderness permits
must be in your possession. (Rangers usually make their rounds at 7-8am and
6-7pm each day.) Backpackers is $5.00 per person per night and is
self-registration. Located at the rear of North Pines Campground and
is walk-in only. Park to unload only, then you MUST move your car to
the Curry Village Parking lot.
||Click on the image on
the left for a map of the Yosemite campgrounds.
|Yosemite Valley Camping
You have only 4 choices:
1) Lower Pines Campground 60 sites
2) Upper Pines Campground 238 sites
3) North Pines Campground 81 sites
4) Camp 4 Walk-in Campground 35 sites; 3 tents to a site,
even if it's 3 different parties, you share!
||Click on the image at
left to see a location map of valley floor campgrounds.
|The redeeming factor to this
sardine-can camping is that all valley campgrounds are convenient to
everything in the valley.
Tuolumne Meadows Camping
Same as valley camping in terms
of the density of people and proximity to your neighbor. But
it is the high country, very convenient to everything there is to do
in Tuolumne Meadows.
The good news is that the
campground is 1/2 first-come-first-served and 1/2 reservations.
At the 9,000 foot elevation, it's
colder here at night and there's a greater chance of thunderstorms
especially when the San Joaquin Valley temperatures are at the 105
degree level. Mosquitoes are substantially more prevalent than
in the valley. This is also bear country. PAY ATTENTION
TO PROPER FOOD STORAGE INSTRUCTIONS! USE THE BEAR BOXES!!
||Click on the image to
the left for a map of the Tuolumne Meadows area showing campgrounds
in relation to other landmarks.
- 110 sites. Located along the Glacier Point Road, 3.25 miles past
the Badger Pass Ski Resort, and 25 miles from Yosemite Valley, this
is a nice, high-country, isolated, quiet campground. It's
first-come, first-served, and no reservations are needed.
There is GREAT hiking leading out of the campground. There is
no store or other "civilization" close by. You'll
have to go into the valley or to Glacier Point for any supplies; (Be
aware; Glacier Point is woefully inadequate as a supply
source, but it does have snacks and drinks.) This campground is at the 7,000 foot elevation, so
it's colder and there are more mosquitoes. The great thing
about this area is it's proximity to Glacier Point and Sentinel Dome
trail. You have not lived until you've been to the top of Sentinel
Dome or to Glacier Point at
Here's a review of Bridalveil
Creek campground: 7/23/03
"Camping at Bridal Veil was great!!!! used
lots of insect spray, but it was worth being up higher and out of the
crowds! No wood close by to collect, it's been pretty cleaned out, but
parking along the road and collecting close to the car worked well.
The nights weren't very cold, we were a bit
disappointed it wasn't colder. only a sweatshirt was needed and
sleeping with a 40 degree sleeping bag was hot. We got a pretty solid
thunderstorm on Saturday afternoon, made a muddy mess since the ground
just won't absorb it. Remind your tenters to check the slopes.. a few
folks near us had flooded tents when they returned from their day out
(editor's note: This kind of weather is the exception to the rule; the
remnants of a hurricane came through that weekend.)
We did Glacier Point at night!! it's a
must! but remember to bring a flashlight, no lights up there. We also
saw a bear in the parking lot of Glacier Point... sniffed out our
tailgate bbq but when he saw us, he just turned and left. But.. we did
lock up our stuff in the food locker in the parking lot before heading
up to the point.. and we parked our car next to a pick up truck that
had two ice chests in the back, completely visable! What are people
(editor's note: when you see this kind of stupidity, park AWAY from
these cretins. A bear looking in THEIR car will jump on,
sometimes urinate on, and possibly investigate your car too. Move AWAY
from these fools.)
I would highly recommend staying at
Bridalveil Creek! The campsites are spaced out nice and they have
plenty of shade. Just get there before 10am to get a site when
folks are leaving. A lot of 1 day users. "
Wawona - 93 sites.
Ugh; this has to be the worst camping area in the park. Much
of it is
in open ground, meaning there is no shade in any of the sites.
The ground is mostly sloping, so getting a flat place to pitch your
tent is almost impossible. It's 27 miles from Yosemite Valley,
and takes about an hour to get to the Valley from here. Very
close to the Wawona Hotel in the southern end of the park, it is not
close to anything except the golf course. Unless you are
specifically playing golf or you plan to hike the Chilnaulna Falls
trail, make it your last resort.
Hodgdon Meadow/Crane Flat
- 271 sites combined. Very close to each other, I lump them
together because they are very similar in amenities and location,
along Highway 120 in the western end of the park near the Big Oak
Flat entrance. Crane Flat is slightly closer to the valley,
about 17 miles, and Hodgdon Meadows is about 25 miles away.
These campgrounds are very similar to the Valley campgrounds in most
every way. If your plans include a lot of time in Tuolumne Meadows,
this would be a good choice. It's only about 45 minutes from
Tioga Road (Highway
120) - 4 campgrounds, total of 253 sites. These campgrounds
(Tamarack Flat, Porcupine Flat, White Wolf and Yosemite Creek) are
all first-come, first-served. They are not suitable for RV's,
especially if you are over 24'. Some can accommodate RV's on a
limited basis, but since it's first-come, first-served, you'd likely
be out of luck if the RV spaces have been taken. these
campgrounds are a lot cheaper than the others, at about $8.
They are not near any facilities or stores. But, they are
remote, quiet and very near Tuolumne Meadows and Tenaya Lake.
It's very nice to come up here in the fall and have the place to
yourself and be totally alone at the 8,000 foot elevation.
This is typical for campgrounds
along Tioga Road. Very rocky, often with very little
shade, and very difficult to get to. However, it's very quiet
and you'll have lots of room to spread out and have privacy.
This is a campsite in Yosemite
Creek campground, a 5 mile drive down a very bumpy, narrow road.
Once you get there it's very quiet, and there's a creek for
Although not visible in this shot,
the campsites at Yosemite Creek Campground are very close to the
water's edge. Lot's of deep pools for decent fishing.
They aren't large, but they bite readily.