Yosemite National Park has a total of 13 campground sites that are separated into sections designating the park campgrounds. Among these 13 sites, about 7 of them require a year-round reservation. There are 5 that are strictly first-come and first-served, while the remaining will be seasonal only. Because of hazardous smoke levels in Yosemite Valley, the park is currently closed.
The current COVID-19 safety requirements also have an alert status throughout the park. Aside from this, the park does have limited camping access for the 2020 season. For the approaching 2021 season, Yosemite will likely reopen as usual. If you’re looking to book a campsite for the next season, it’s customary to make reservations at least 5 months in advance. These can reserve a space for up to one-month blocks at a time.
Peak-season visitors from May through September often take advantage of open reservations as soon as they’re available. If a reservation is booked but unpaid by the first day, the reservation is reopened to any visitor after 7am. Because of the volume of park visitors per day, only so many camping vacancies can be honored. That still doesn’t limit access to the park for that day, as there are plenty of off-park campsites available.
What are the Yosemite Valley camping areas?
Here’s the complete list of camping areas within Yosemite National Park that can help you determine what’s available for each. You’ll see which need a reservation and what part of the park it’s located. Depending on your interests, these locations can offer specific sights accordingly.
· Yosemite Valley
Easily the center of Yosemite National Park, these 4 campsites have immediate access to several hiking trails and local landmarks. These including the Yosemite Museum, Happy Isles Nature Center, and the Curry Village ice skating rink (winter only). There are day trips with any vehicle taking you immediately to Glacier Point, Tunnel View, Horsetail, and Yosemite Falls. Not excluding Half Dome, El Capitan, Bridalveil, and Ribbon Falls.
1. Upper Pines
This campsite features 238 spaces that can accommodate camping and RV spaces. This is the only campsite that is currently open for the 2020 season. Reservation is required for a daily rate of $26 per day. There are 10 camping spots intended for disabled people and has toilets and tap water available.
2. Lower Pines
This site only has 60 spaces available but it’s one of the few that can reserve 30-day blocks on the 15th of each month. This site can also be reserved for $26 per day and up to 5 months in advance. It has space for both standard tents and RVs with 5 spaces that allow for people with disabilities. There is also running tap water and toilets. There is a slight chance in May or June a cancellation may be issued due to high river waters.
3. North Pines
This campsite is similar to Lower Pines and has 81 sites available at $26 per day as well. It offers 5 spaces for disabled people and has tap water and toilets. Once again, this can be reserved 5 months in advance and allows 30-day blocks on the 15th too. Tents are welcome along with RVs, but only available from April thru early November.
4. Camp 4
This is the legendary camp that was made famous in the 1960s and 70s for rock climbers. This camp is a tent only area that doesn’t support RVs or pets. While there are only 36 spaces allowed, it does have running tap water and toilets. This campsite is interesting since it’s first-come, first-serve only. There is a daily lottery that runs from the middle of September through mid-May. Each camp space consists of 6 others who will share that space with you.
It costs $6 per person but if you try the lottery method you’ll pay $10 to register for the chance to have space.
· South of Yosemite Valley
Stashed into the south of Yosemite this adventurous area is still within driving distance to the bigger sights. Some of the local highlights include Chilnualna Falls and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. There is also the Pioneer Yosemite history museum and the Tenaya Lodge ice-skating rink (winter only). The Badger Pass Ski Area is open in winter but will be closed through the 2020-2021 season.
This campsite offers 93 spaces available for $26 per day and has 2 disability areas. The season starts from April 8th– October 18 and allows both camping and RVs. This site has running water and toilets.
2. Bridalveil Creek
This is a first-come, first-served campsite that operates from July through early September only. It’s next to horse camping facilities, so there’s space for horse trailers for $30 per night. Standard camping includes RVs and tents for only $18 per night and you can bring pets. Pets do need to be on a lease at all times. Each campsite can accommodate up to 6 people if their tents all fit.
· North of Yosemite Valley
This ridge that stretches North of Yosemite is dotted with campsites that are all within driving distance of the valley. Many of these campgrounds are located near general stores within the park so there’s always food available.
1. Hodgdon Meadow
This campsite can support 105 campers in either RVs or tents, but sadly there are no disabled facilities. Each site costs $26 per night with a season that starts mid-April through mid-October. These can be reserved for up to 5 months online or by phone. There is a group rate for $50 per night that can also be reserved in advance. This site has tap water and toilets.
2. Crane Flat
This is a larger campsite that supports 166 campers in either RVs or tents. 2 areas are reserved for people with disabilities with toilets and water that are very close. You will need to make a reservation for this site from July-mid-October only. There are also group spaces that support 13-30 people at a time. There is a camp amphitheater and a trail that leads to Clark Range View. Reservations can be placed 5 months in advance but must be honored on that day or you lose that space.
3. Tamarack Flat
This campsite is a first-come, first-serve site that operates from late June through September. The cost is $12 per night and you need to bring drinking water since there is no tap. There are toilets within a campground that supports 52 spaces. Five of these are for the disabled, and these are closest to the toilets. There is a creek nearby where water can be boiled, so this campsite is for experienced campers. RVs aren’t recommended at this site.
4. White Wolf
This is another site that’s first-come, first-served for camping up to 74 spots that are fine for RVs and tents. This seasonal spot begins July through early September and costs $18 per night. There are toilets and tap water and there is a creek that runs around the edges of this location too. It should also be nice to know there’s a pay phone located at the entrance of the camp.
5. Yosemite Creek
This is a very unique campsite that runs mainly along the Yosemite Creek. Again, this is a site that will be popular, so those who get there first will find a spot. There are a total of 75 sites available, with two of them set-up for those with disabilities. This campsite features 5 flushing toilets and is ideal for outdoor tent campers. There is no tap water, so any water from the Yosemite creek must be boiled first. RVs aren’t recommended to camp here.
The cost is $12 a night with a season that beings July thru early September.
6. Porcupine Flat
Starting from July through October 15th, the Porcupine Flat is also $12 per night. This is a good place for camping but not specifically for RVs. Some roads leading to campsites aren’t mean for RVs at all. You’ll also need to boil creek water or bring fresh drinking water. There is space for disabled people that include 4 spots near toilets. In all, 52 spots can allow people with tents. It’s strictly first-come, first-serve at this campsite too.
7. Tuolumne Meadows
This is one of the largest campsites in the northern territory of Yosemite. It can handle 304 campers, RVs, and has 7 disabled camper spots. The season starts from July through late September and is considered a 50/50 campsite. Half of the site supports a reservation system, while it also takes in last-minute vacancies while they’re available. It costs $26 per night and has tap water, toilets, showers, and a small grocery store.
This campsite also supports horse trailers and has 4 spaces devoted to horse camps. There is an open field space for group camps and a back-packers camp area also. There’s also a central campfire circle for large group events.
Making reservations by telephone or online
I highly recommend that any of these sites should be contacted beforehand to hear the latest updates. This website is the most helpful and lists each of the campsite’s info in full detail. https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm
There are individual numbers for each site and also website reservation info. Even though the only site that is currently open for camping may be fully booked, the park is still open. Last-minute visitors can still visit, and there’s no shortage of RV or camping sites outside Yosemite Valley.