Although Yosemite National Park encompasses a vast area, its most breathtaking locale is undoubtedly Yosemite Valley. Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, and El Capitan can all be seen from this relatively small section of the park, which is open all year. Camping at one of the local campgrounds will cut down on your travel time significantly.
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There are three great campgrounds at the far end of the valley, close to Curry Village (formerly Half Dome Village) and not far from Yosemite Village: Pines, Lower and Pines, Upper, and Pines, Up North These three items are located in close proximity to one another.
Besides the RV park, the tent-only campground in the valley is your only other option.Camp 4historic hub for mountaineers.
If you can’t get a campsite in Yosemite, here are some other options:
Please be aware that recent worldwide health and safety issues have forced the temporary closure of some businesses.
West of Yosemite Village by about an hour via two routes within the park are Park Campgrounds at Wawona and Meadow in Hodgdon Campground Several small, first-come, first-served campgrounds can be found sporadically throughout the park, including along the Tioga Road (open during the summer months only).
East of the Tioga Pass is A Campground in Tuolumne Meadows Campers staying here will be unable to reach Yosemite Valley until the Tioga Road reopens in the spring.
Here is a list of the top campgrounds in Yosemite National Park, along with detailed descriptions of each.
1. North Pines Campground
North Pines Campground has a beautiful setting, fantastic location, and woodsy feel thanks to its placement among towering pines, granite cliff walls, and alongside a rushing river.
This campground near Curry Village at the far end of Yosemite Valley provides easy access to nearby hiking trails.
There are only 81 campsites, but they are all spacious and spread out, so it’s usually quiet and many of them are completely private. Places by rivers are beautiful. Camping in tents, recreational vehicles (RVs) up to 40 feet in length, and trailers (trailers) up to 35 feet in length are all permitted.
Place of camping starts up in April and winds down by the beginning of November Bookings for sites are accepted up to five months in advance, with a batch being made available every 15th of the month.
2. Upper Pines Campground
Upper Pines Campground is the largest of the three Yosemite Valley campgrounds, with 238 sites available. Despite its size, this campground is easily navigable thanks to its many distinct loops. Shade and sun are provided by clusters of tall pines and cedars, and in between the trees are vistas of the valley walls.
Most sites are very public and do not provide much anonymity. In a short amount of time, you can walk to the trailheads of several different routes.
Compared to North Pines Campground, the sites here are much smaller, and RVs and trailers are limited to a maximum length of 35 feet. The camping area is available all year Similar to North Pines, sites can be reserved up to five months in advance and are made available in a batch on the 15th of each month.
3. Lower Pines Campground
Of the three campgrounds in the area of Curry Village, Lower Pines is the smallest. This campground is beautiful, with pines and deciduous trees creating a diverse forest and offering stunning vistas in every direction. The sites in the center are more exposed to the elements, while the sites on the edges are more secluded and have more trees.
The campground has a river running along part of its perimeter. Sites in this area of the campground are sometimes closed in the spring because of the high risk of flooding. In years when the river is particularly high in May and June, campers who have made reservations along this side may find that their bookings are canceled and they must scramble to find alternative accommodations.
This 60-site campground is available from the between the months of March and November. The maximum length for a recreational vehicle is 40 feet, and the maximum length for a trailer is 35 feet. The earliest you can reserve a campsite is five months out. The 15th of each month is the release date for a batch of new websites.
4. Camp 4
Rock climbers all over the world know of Camp 4. Famous climbers like Royal Robbins and Warren Harding camped here throughout the climbing season in the 1960s and 1970s. Due to its significance in rock climbing’s past, this campground is included in the National Register of Historic Places. List of Historic Places in the United States.
A strong connection between this campground and the climbing community exists even today. Campground near Yosemite Falls in the heart of Yosemite Valley; not for the faint of heart.
All 35 campsites are located under towering pines. Guests are welcome to drop by at any time parking lot, and campsites are shared and can accommodate up to six people at a time.
Midway through May to approximately the middle of September, campsites are assigned via a lottery system one day prior to the desired night. There is a $10 per-person registration fee, and campers must share their six-person site with whoever they are assigned.
Camp 4 is available on a first-come, first-served basis from the middle of September to the middle of May. A spring or fall registration with the ranger begins at 8:30 a.m. (or earlier, if you want to be sure of a site) each day. Self-registration is available and the campground is rarely full during the winter.
If you’ve come with a large group, take note that you might be split up. No pets are permitted.
5. Tents and Cabins at Curry Village
Canvas tent cabins and small, rustic cabins are available for rent at Curry Village, though they come at a higher price than simply bringing your own gear and renting a campsite.
There are 319 guest rooms in total. Although they are close together, the location is ideal.
There is a wooden floor, cot-style beds, electricity, and in some of the tent cabins, propane heat is available from fall to spring. Electrical outlets are not included in the tents. Every comfort is provided in the tents, including sheets and blankets. There are restrooms and showers nearby, and daily cleaning is provided.
It’s typical for rustic wooden cabins to have similar furnishings. Just 56 of the 70 rooms have access to plumbing and showers. There’s central heating and plugs in every room. Campers staying in the 14 cabins without bathrooms can use the nearby tent campers’ showers and restrooms. Housekeeping is included in these cabins on a daily basis.
6. Wawona Campground
Wawona is nearly at the park’s southern entrance along Highway 41, on the road coming in from the direction of Fresno around the Yosemite Valley area in an hour, and even more time if there are delays due to congestion. In the event that you are unable to reserve a campsite in the valley, this is the next best option.
Campsites at this campground are dispersed among pine trees and are located right next to the South Fork of the Merced River. There is about a 4,000-foot elevation difference here.
Loop A, closest to the entrance to the campground, is relatively open, while Loops B and C, further away, offer more privacy and a slightly nicer setting. Loop A is always accessible, while Loops B and C are only open during the warmer months.
Tents, recreational vehicles, and trailers up to 35 feet in length are welcome at any of the 93 campsites at this campground.
From April to September, you can make a reservation for up to five months in advance, and sites open up on the 15th of each month. October through April is “first-come, first-served” camping season.
The Mariposa Grove, home to a forest of giant sequoias, is a popular nearby destination. The Pioneer Museum of Yosemite’s Past.
7. Summerdale Campground
Approximately 2.0 km Besides the south door The Summerdale Campground, located near the park on Highway 41, is a private campground. The sites are located in a meadow surrounded by cottonwoods, cedars, and sugar pines. The campground is bordered on one side by a river.
There are thirty primitive campsites with access to water and vault toilets at this campground. There is a fire ring and picnic table at each location. You can bring your pet with you.
Camping spots can be reserved on a rolling six-month basis.
8. Indian Flat RV Park
If you have trouble finding a campsite in the park or would like more amenities, the privately run Indian Flat RV Park is located on Highway 140 just outside of Merced.
There are a total of 25 tent sites and 25 RV sites available, with full hookups available at a nearby lodge. Huge, leafy trees create shady areas and a rustic feel. It’s a no-go to bring in a power source.
In order to avoid disappointment during the busy season, reservations can be made up to a full year in advance.
9. Hodgdon Meadow Campground
The Hodgdon Meadow Campground is located within Yosemite National Park, off of Highway 120 and about an hour’s drive west of Yosemite Valley’s main hub. This campground’s main selling point is its easy, year-round accessibility.
As a result of the prolonged drought in California, many trees have had to be cut down in this area. That’s why it’s so hard to find places to camp that offer adequate seclusion and cover from the sun.
The 105 campsites are cramped and uneven, and the fine dirt ground makes for a dusty camping experience. The entrance area is the least desirable part of the venue. It looks like the fire has spread to the surrounding area.
The reservation window is from about the middle of April to the middle of October, and it opens up to about five months in advance. All sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis until further notice.
10. Tuolumne Meadows Campground
A summer stay at Tuolumne Meadows Campground is ideal if you want to explore the park’s hiking trails and the attractions along Tioga Road. Nights can be quite cool even in the height of summer due to the elevation of 8,600 feet.
This campground typically doesn’t open until the middle of July and stays open until the end of September because the Tioga Road is closed during the winter. Guests with tents, RVs, and trailers up to 35 feet in length are welcome at the campground. There are 304 sites available, some of which can be reserved and some of which are first-come, first-served. Sites are available for reservation five months in advance, and new sites become available on the 15th of each month. There are no RV hookups at this campground, but there are clean restrooms and drinking water available.
You should get to a first-come, first-served campground early in the day and be prepared to wait around if you don’t get a site. Visit the Reservation Office in the Curry Village parking lot if you don’t have a confirmed reservation. It is recommended that you get here as early as possible in the day, ideally before 8 a.m. Sites that become available each day due to early checkouts and cancellations are distributed by the park. Everyone gets one as soon as they show up, no reservations needed. You can put your name on a list and check back at a specified time in the middle of the afternoon to see if any additional sites have opened up if you don’t get one in the morning. While it’s true that a surprising number of sites become available every day, the anxious anticipation of finding out whether or not you’ve been awarded one can be a real downer. In the event that you do obtain a site, you will be required to repeat the aforementioned steps daily, which may include finding a new location. Campgrounds in the North, Upper, and Lower Pines are all found at an altitude of 4,000 feet. The park’s campgrounds welcome pets all but Camp 4. There is a bear-proof food storage locker at each campsite in the park, and campers are expected to use them.
Where to Stay near Yosemite if You Can”t Secure a Campsite
Exploring Yosemite: A campsite is the first step toward focusing on activities. Have an appetite for some fresh air? Take a look at our in-depth piece on the top Yosemite trails. Check out our Top Attractions & Things to Do in Yosemite article to make sure you don’t miss any of the park’s highlights.
California camping:Using our camping guide series, you can narrow down your options if you’re thinking of spending more time camping in California. Visit Sequoia National Park, Kings Canyon National Park, and Redwood National and State Parks to sleep in the shade of these massive trees. Get out on the water and relax at one of Lake Tahoe’s finest campgrounds. In the heat of summer, camp out in Joshua Tree National Park, the crown jewel of the desert. In each of these, you can enjoy fantastic sights and activities that are unique from one another.