Best Places to Camp in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is like heaven here on earth. It has beautiful landscapes and breathtaking perspectives of the famous Half Dome,  El Capitan, and Yosemite Falls. Also, it is loved for its unmistakable High Sierra excellence interspersed by spouting cascades and giant sequoia trees. 

What’s more, Yosemite is a hotspot for many outdoor activities such as hiking, backpacking, winter sports, and of course, camping.

Camping is probably the perfect approach to enjoy the Yosemite National Park. There are 13 favorite campgrounds like Camp 4 and the Pines Campgrounds, with an overall 1,445 all-out camping areas. Visitors can reserve approximately 1,000 camping sites ahead of time, while others operate on a first-come-first-served basis.

If the quarantine causes your feet to itch, it’s a sign to plan your next camping trip in Yosemite. Indeed, camping in this heavenly place is an experience like no other. It is something you’ll need to relax and refresh. This blog will walk you through the best places to camp in Yosemite National Park. Please sit back, relax, and let’s get started!

1. Camp 4

Camp 4 has been the home for many rock climbers. Today, this campsite is still firmly connected with the rock climbing culture. Set in the core of the Yosemite Valley, this campsite has its one-of-a-kind vibe. In this tent-only campground, you can walk in with six people allowed for each site. Hence, if you come in groups, there is a possibility that you won’t stay together on one site. 

During mid-May through mid-September, visitors reserve a spot via a lottery system. Campers pay a $10 fee and register on a per-individual premise. For the rest of the year, Camp 4 operates on a first-come-first-served basis. You must line up as early as 8 A.M. and register with a ranger.

2. The Pines Campgrounds

The North Pines, Lower Pines, and Upper Pines are the go-to places of many Yosemite campers. It is set amid transcending pines, rock bluff dividers, and close by a hurrying stream. Each campground has a wonderful setting, a woodsy vibe, and a great area.

The pines campgrounds are close to each other, nearby the Curry Village. They have 379 campsites altogether, and many will accommodate enormous RVs. Only the Upper Pines is open throughout the year; the rest are open from spring through fall. You can reserve a site via the recreation.gov website.

3. Bridalveil Creek Campground

Bridalveil Creek Campground is a home away from home for many campers. If you need solitude from the loud crowd at Yosemite Valley, take a 26-mile drive to rest in this place. Here, it gets cold, dropping to a low 30 in July and August. Pack warm layers and a winter cap.

With its 112 campsites, you can reserve a spot on a first-come-first-served basis. Also, you can reserve up to 5 months before the preferred camp date. Bridalveil Creek campground is accessible from mid-June through mid-September. 

4. Wawona Campground

If you are a fan of peaceful places, the Wawona campground is the best place to be. It’s not as impressive as the rest of the Yosemite National Park. However, it’s the home of the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias. Here, you can also discover the Pioneer History Center and the Wawona Hotel, where you can play golf.

Ninety-three reservable sites are open all year. If you plan to reserve online, you can do it from mid-April to mid-October. Otherwise, you can go directly to the Wawona campground and claim a campsite through its first-come-first-served system.

5. Hodgdon Meadow Campground

This campground is a perfect home base for those who wish to explore the boondocks along Tioga Road and Hetchy Hetchy. It has 105 campsites open all year. If you plan to visit between mid-April to mid-October, you need to make reservations. The remainder of the year campgrounds at Hodgdon Meadow are accessible on a first-come, first-served premise.

6. Crane Flat Campground

If you are in Yosemite Valley, Crane Flat Campground is the nearest place to stay outside. After a peaceful rest, you can come back to Yosemite Valley or stroll through the high country along Tioga Road. If the weather permits, the 166 sites in this campground are accessible from July through mid-October. You can reserve up to 5 months before the arrival date. 

7. Tamarack Flat Campground

Tamarack Flat is the haven you come to when driving Tioga Road from the west. It’s additionally lower in ascent than other Tioga Road camping areas. Hence, it’s probably going to open somewhat earlier than others. Know that it is a rudimentary campsite that is not appropriate for RVs. If you need drinking water, get it from the stream and treat it. It has 52 reservable campsites, first-come, first-served.

8.Yosemite Creek Campground

If Yosemite Falls is the goal of your journey, the Yosemite Creek campground is the best place to start. It has a 7-mile trail heading to the peak of Yosemite Falls. What more, the water from this prestigious waterfall is the one flowing through the creek.

You can treat the water and drink it! This campground serves on a first-come-first-served system for its 75 sites. It is a primitive place to visit anytime from June through September.

9. White Wolf Campground

White Wolf is another excellent place to stay if you want tranquility. Off Tioga Road, you can drive or walk a mile to check out its 74 campsites. If you wish to stay, you can reserve via its first-come-first-served system. 

Staying at White Wolf can also offer you a fancy dining experience at the White Wolf Lodge. After a peaceful stay, you can drive for 30 minutes to visit the great Tuolumne Meadows.

10. Porcupine Flat Campground

If you want an ancient-like camping experience, the Porcupine Flat campground can give it to you. Live like your ancestors who drink water from the stream and cook through the woods. You can make a reservation on one of its 52 campsites. It accommodates only small RVs and is open from July until mid-October.

11. Tuolumne Meadows Campground

Among the campgrounds along Tioga Road, Tuolumne Meadows is the largest, with up to 304 campsites. If hiking is one of your side activities during this camping trip, this campground has many trails branching from it. It offers rock climbers, backpackers, and hikers access to alpine paradise. What’s more, it serves as the entrance to Yosemite’s High Sierra. 

Open from late May through September, and you can visit this great spot by making a reservation at recreation.gov. Also, you can claim a spot by arriving early to employ its first-come-first-served premise. 

Yosemite Camping Guide

The crowd factor in Yosemite is high during June through August. During this season, camping can be tricky since campsites in the recreation center top off quickly. Discovering a campground can likewise be challenging during weekends in May and September. 

Suppose you need to camp in Yosemite, attempt to reserve a site as far ahead of time. Yosemite campgrounds can be reserved as long as five months ahead of time. However, a considerable lot of the camping areas are held within 30 minutes of opening up. 

If you can’t hold a campground before your excursion, you can try Yosemite’s first-come, first-served camping areas. Remember that first-come, first-served camping is amazingly high during the peak season. 

A readily hefty visit to Yosemite National Park during the COVID-19 pandemic in California will need more preparation. Reservations are needed to enter Yosemite consistently starting Friday, May 21, 2021. 

Reservations will be needed through Thursday, September 30, or until local health conditions improve. Reservations are not needed to visit Yosemite before May 21, 2021. In case you’re arranging a weekend Yosemite outdoors trip during this season, be prepared. Struggle to show up on Thursday or early Friday morning to guarantee your camping area. By Friday evening, most Yosemite camping areas are full. 

Day-use Reservation

Day-use reservations are only accessible through recreation.gov. Secure a record, be signed in, and prepared to get a booking immediately at 8 A.M. Pacific time. If you have one, specify that you have a yearly or lifetime pass once you place your booking.

Every visitor can reserve one spot for each appearance date. A tenant of the showing-up vehicle should have the person, with a valid ID, who reserved the spot. The booking is then valid for three back-to-back days, counting the appearance date.

Fees and Cancellation

The day-use reservation fee consists of a $2 non-refundable processing fee and a $33 car park and camping fee. Make sure to specify who will be the pass holder before checking out. You will need one reservation for every car, which serves as a booking for everyone inside it. If you cancel a reservation, you will receive a $33 refund. 

Regulations

If you plan to bring your food, make sure to store it in bear-proof lockers. Campers can only make campfires between 5 P.M. to 10 in the evening. However, this period may vary depending on moisture levels at the park. Firewood collection may be prohibited at some campgrounds, but you can buy some at certain stores nearby. 

Sleeping in vehicles is only allowed in specific sites. Please check the NPS site to know more about your chosen campground. You can bring pets on a leash, except in Porcupine Flat, Tamarack Flat, Camp 4, and all group campsites. 

Conclusion

Yosemite National Park is a paradise full of beautiful sceneries, and the best way to experience it is through camping. It also houses wonderful camping sites made to offer comfort and serve as a home away from your home. Pack your bags and try one of these campgrounds. Make sure to observe the camping guide and follow the regulations for a delightful stay in Yosemite.