Camping in Yosemite

Camping in Yosemite


HI. I’M MAREA ORTIZ, AND I’M A PARK RANGER HERE
AT YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK. YOSEMITE IS A WONDERFUL
PLACE TO VISIT AND A GREAT PLACE TO CAMP. PEOPLE HAVE ENJOYED
THE TRADITION OF CAMPING HERE FOR GENERATIONS. HOWEVER, GETTING A CAMPSITE
IS NOT AS AS EASY AS YOU MIGHT THINK. I’D LIKE TO GIVE YOU
A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF WHAT CAMPING IS LIKE HERE AND HOW TO GO ABOUT
GETTING A CAMPSITE. TO BEGIN WITH, YOSEMITE HAS 13 CAMPGROUNDS. 4 OF THESE ARE OPEN YEAR ROUND AND ARE LOCATED
IN YOSEMITE VALLEY, HODGDON MEADOW, AND WAWONA. HIGHER-ELEVATION CAMPGROUNDS
ARE ONLY OPEN FOR A LIMITED TIME
IN THE SUMMER. ALL CAMPSITES IN THE PARK
HAVE A FEW THINGS IN COMMON. THEY’VE GOT BEAR-PROOF
FOOD LOCKERS, PICNIC TABLES, AND FIRE PITS WITH GRILLS. EACH CAMPGROUND ALSO HAS FLUSH
OR VAULT TOILETS AND EITHER RUNNING WATER
OR CREEK WATER. CREEK WATER NEEDS TO BE TREATED
BEFORE DRINKING. NONE OF THE CAMPGROUNDS
HAVE HOOKUPS. HOWEVER, THE PARK DOES HAVE
3 DUMP STATIONS. PERHAPS THE MOST IMPORTANT
THING TO KNOW ABOUT CAMPING IN YOSEMITE IS THAT IT’S VERY HARD
TO GET A CAMPSITE IN THE SUMMER. IT IS ALSO HARD TO GET A SITE
ON THE WEEKENDS IN SPRING AND FALL. THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE
FOR YOSEMITE VALLEY. THE 3 CAR CAMPGROUNDS
IN YOSEMITE VALLEY ARE RESERVATION ONLY
EXCEPT IN THE WINTER. RESERVATIONS FOR THESE SITES
ARE MADE UP TO 5 MONTHS IN ADVANCE AND CAN SELL OUT IN HOURS
OR EVEN MINUTES. SO ONE KEY TO CAMPING
IN YOSEMITE IS TO PLAN FAR IN ADVANCE. THE OTHER KEY, THOUGH, IS TO KNOW THAT MANY
OF THE CAMPGROUNDS OUTSIDE OF YOSEMITE VALLEY HAVE CAMPSITES THAT DO NOT
REQUIRE RESERVATIONS AND ARE FIRST COME,
FIRST SERVED. THESE CAMPGROUNDS
HAVE THE ADVANTAGE OF BEING MORE NATURAL
AND LESS CROWDED THAN THE ONES
IN YOSEMITE VALLEY. WHILE IT’S POSSIBLE TO FIND
FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE SITES AT ANY TIME OF YEAR, MAY AND JUNE CAN BE DIFFICULT SINCE MANY OF THOSE CAMPGROUNDS
ARE STILL CLOSED FROM SNOW. TO GET A FIRST COME,
FIRST SERVE CAMPSITE, YOU NEED TO SHOW UP
IN THE MORNING AT THE CAMPGROUND
YOU WANT TO STAY IN. SOME CAMPGROUNDS ARE FULL
BY 8:30 A.M. DURING THE BUSY SEASON. SO THE EARLIER THE BETTER
TO MAKE SURE YOU GET A SITE. YOU CAN CALL OUR CAMPGROUND
STATUS LINE ANYTIME TO GET A CURRENT UPDATE OF
CAMPSITE AVAILABILITY. THIS INFORMATION IS UPDATED
THROUGHOUT THE DAY ONLY AS CONDITIONS CHANGE. SO THAT COVERS THE BASICS
FOR HOW TO GET A SITE. ONE LAST TIP I’LL GIVE YOU IS THAT CAMPSITES ARE LIMITED
TO 6 PEOPLE AND TWO CARS, WHICH IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW
WHEN PLANNING YOUR TRIP. IF YOU DO HAVE MORE THAN
TWO CARS IN YOUR GROUP, THERE IS SOME OVERFLOW PARKING
AVAILABLE NEAR EACH CAMPGROUND. THERE ARE A LOT OF OTHER
IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT CAMPING IN YOSEMITE, AND WE ENCOURAGE YOU
TO VISIT OUR WEBSITE. YOU CAN LOOK THERE
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THINGS LIKE CAMPFIRE
REGULATIONS, GENERATOR USE, SHOWER AVAILABILITY, AND FOR MORE TIPS ABOUT HOW TO MAKE THOSE
ADVANCED RESERVATIONS. WE HOPE YOU HAVE
A GREAT VISIT TO YOSEMITE AND A WONDERFUL TIME CAMPING.

80 thoughts on “Camping in Yosemite

  1. My family and I stayed at Housekeeping Camp the end of April 2012. It was gorgeous right on the river and was not crowded at all. We did plan a few months ahead and made a reservation. Can't wait to visit Yosemite again!

  2. Absolutely one of the best National Parks to camp in, especially at Crane Flat. Crane Flats is located in the north-western region of the park. I've camped in the valley before, and there it feels as though your camping on top of each other. If you want privacy while still being within a 30 minute drive of the valley, I suggest Crane Flat.

  3. we used to camp in yosemite every single year from the time i was 2-16…i think we usually stayed in upper or lower pines cant remember which

  4. Also, they have friendly bears ,you wake up middle of night and they looking down at you asking, you have any food?[trust me, i know].

  5. WARNING! Bear lockers in full sun quickly become extremely hot inside. Excellent ice chests and lots of ice are required to prevent spoiled food. Block ice lasts much longer. Ice in Yosemite Valley cost three times what it does outside the valley, and block ice has been scarce in the valley. You must plan for this! Consider making your own block ice at home.

  6. as far as I know only in upper pines campground (if you are camping). I don't think dogs are allowed on trails or in other touristy areas…so if you are camping and bringing a dog be prepared to leave it with someone at the campground or in a trailer/rv while you explore. I may be wrong about some of this, so it's best to check the government website.

  7. yes! they're only allowed on paved trails, like the bike trails, must always be under your control so you can't just leave your dog in an RV

  8. It's too bad, back when I was a kid we had no problems just driving in and getting a sight. Unfortunately now you have a million people that want to camp and only a limited number of sites.

  9. If you want the typical freedoms that come with a camping trip then do not camp in Yosemite valley. Camping in the valley is just asking to get harassed by rangers.
    We actually had a ranger try to kick us out for "ignoring his orders" because we had charcoal burning. He tried to tell his buddies that we had a "large fire" (you aren't allowed to have a fire in the morning but charcoal is fine).

  10. Hmm, I see where you're coming up with that figure, but not everybody rides double… I think it should be 6 people 6 bikes…since 6 bikes would take up no more room than 2 cars would…

  11. That might work, but, you have to remember, we're dealing with the U.S. Government here. Very little is as it should be. 😉

  12. Listen to my WORD that getting harassed by rangers is not even remotely a joke. Two visits. One winter, one summer. Busted for pot smoking (get off my case, it's smoking a plant in a goddamn forest) and two tickets; $275 and $384. They spent 3 hours trying to bust my friend with a DUI. Hey assholes, we've been toking and driving for 4 years now! Good luck with your sobriety tests, dicks

  13. Reducing impact on the environment is the main reason you cant, and the main goal of the national park service. People camping all over the park would ruin the natural integrity.

  14. Never been and in need of advice. We've got a trip and tour video to Yosemite in the planning stage and are curious about which campsites offer the best opportunities for hiking and cycling. We're sure there aren't any bad options, but are there any that perhaps are better? Anyone?

  15. Hello, my friends and I need a camp site for 10 people, can we take 2 sites next to each other, if available?  Are the people per camp rules more relaxed in the higher elevation camp sites?

  16. What if you show up with 8 people at the gate and you've already reserved a spot and payed for it and show up on time. Will they still be able to give us our campsite? 

  17. love love love love this place..my heart longs to be there right now!! I shall close my eyes and click my heels together 3 times…yeah..that should work…:)

  18. The running water, toilets, dump stations and built in firepit/grills is nice but until they pave the camp spots with blacktop, I don't really consider it camping!

  19. "People have enjoyed the tradition of camping in Yosemite for generations. However, it's now virtually impossible for you to camp anywhere and if you have young children that you'd like to initiate to camping.. like you've done for 40 years in Yosemite, too bad. We've closed everything, set up enough regulations to keep most people away, and made it impossible to enjoy the valley without a year worth of reservations and a phonebook sized stack of permits and regulations that you can't get anyway because they are all booked also."  Thought I'd fix your statement for you.

  20. I had a guy offer me $100 for my spot, as he claimed his family had camped there for twenty years plus. Too bad, buddy! Also, don't smoke weed at your campsite. Assholes will call the rangers on you! They are lucky I am nice,. or their tent might have 'caught on fire'!

  21. Please clean up your mess if you camp here. I'm tired of seeing empty beer cans everytime I come to this park. Take responsibility for your actions, people.

    Long live Yosemite.

  22. Yosemite is great, some jerk at a Tahoe campground yelled at me at around midnight scarring me and causing people to think I was the one who did something wrong??????!!!!!!!!!! I been to Yosemite on several occasions and never had a bad experience with anyone!!!!!! I feel Tahoe was allll about money and not about nature, I still enjoy Tahoe, I went to campground from hellll however ✨

  23. would you recommend camping at little yosemite valley the night before hiking half dome for someone who has NEVER backpacked before?
    in good shape, but no experience.
    thanks!

  24. Too bad , the rangers at Yosemite don't tell people how many go missing in Yosemite under very mysterious circumstances are never found , read Missing 411 books by Dave Paulides . Yosemite is the worst national park for clusters of missing persons not attributed to simply getting lost or animals or accidents . Lots of missing children , one moment there on the trail with their family and the next moment gone forever , never to be found . What mysterious force is taking people of all age groups and experienced hikers as well who know these trails also go missing ?

  25. Bullshit rules , I'm going to enjoy nature not get dinner why the fuck we need a reservation . I'll camp where I want and fuck your fee

  26. America, land of the free, where you need to get a flipping permit to camp out in nature, that is, if you're lucky to get one.

  27. Check out the annual YOSEMITE FACELIFT in late September. Organized by the Yosemite Climbing Association and the National Park Service.

  28. Why does the government make park rangers wear such stupid hats? There are so many better hat options that would be more comfortable and would not look so dorky.

  29. Tried two years in a row to get campground and failed, did all my research, computers ready and clicked in at exact time requested and it was sold out within a few seconds!  Very disappointed, I used to go all the time, but in the last few years it seems impossible…..  Check out John F. Kennedy @ Yosemite, 1962 on YouTube…. Like I said I've been coming a long time.

  30. I really love Yosemite and the people there are friendly and willing to work with you. My only pet pev would be all the camp fires burning at nite that makes for bad smokey air you can't escape at times due to the very very close campsites -make sure to close all your windows if possible. Happy Camping love

  31. shit public campsite law rule all that shit on it i would camping on my grandpa farm free wood to burn quiet place and smoke pot without anything problem

  32. We used to go there and camp when I was like 4 yrs old, 57 yrs ago. I'm sure it's changed sense than lol.

  33. I just got back from a trip here. Absolutely stunning. We came in on 3 motorcycles. They had no issue accomodating all 3 of us per one site. We didn't have any reservations rolling in either. Campsite availability was lottery based. The sooner you got there, the better your odds of landing one. Your odds of keeping the same site each day are slim, so each morning we would awaken at 6:30am to arrive at camp reservations at 7. (They open at 8am) to ensure we were first on the list for a cancellation we could quickly snag up. They were all in the valley at Lower, Upper or North Pines so moving wasn't a huge issue. Good luck to those traveling soon.

  34. are hungry bears save ??do they ever kill people ? will i guess if they do the bear lovers are right -it's the bear's environment not humans LOL

  35. What about real camping? They failed to mention the rules of camping at non-designated camp sites in the wilderness. Can we camp anywhere 100 feet from a trail and water source?

  36. "Reservations can be 5 months in advance and sell out in hours." Why is it so hard to live outside like a homeless person? I would love to camp but it sounds like a big pain in the butt! Everything in America is so difficult that's why I moved overseas.

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