Yosemite National Park: Little-Known Best Yosemite Campground

Yosemite is a wonderful place to visit and a great place to camp. People have enjoyed the tradition of camping here for generations.

But getting a campsite is not as easy as many people might think. That’s why this post will give a quick overview of what camping is like in Yosemite and how to go about getting a campsite.

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Camping In Yosemite​

To begin with, Yosemite has 13 campgrounds. Four of these are open throughout the year and are located in Yosemite Valley, Hudgeton Meadow, and Moana. Higher elevation campgrounds are opening only open for a limited time during the summer.

All campsites in the park have a few things in common. They’ve got bear-proof food blockers, picnic tables, and fire pits with grills. Each campground also has flashed or vault toilets and are either running water or creek water.

Creek water needs to be treated before drinking. None of the campgrounds have hook-ups. However the park does three damp stations.

Perhaps the most important thing to know when camping in Yosemite is that it’s very hard to get a campsite in the summer. It is also hard to get a site in the weekends in spring and fall. This is especially true for Yosemite Valley.

The three-car campgrounds in Yosemite Valley are reservation only, except in the winter. Reservations of these sites are made up to five months in advance, and could 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 once in Yosemite Valley.

While it’s possible to find first come-first served sites at any time during the year, Mainjin can be difficult since many of those campgrounds are still closed from snow.

To get a first come-first served campsite, you need to show up in the morning at the campground you want to stay in. Some campgrounds are fall by 8:30 AM during the busy season. So the earlier the better to make sure you get a site.

One last tip you need to know is that campsites in the area are limited to six people and two cars. This is something very important to know when planning a trip.

If you do have more than two cars in your group, there’s some overflow parking available near each campground. There are a lot of other important things to know when camping in Yosemite. We will discuss at least 8 of them in the next section.

There are a lot of other important things to know about camping in Yosemite and we encourage you to visit their website. You can look there for information on things like Campfire Regulations, Generator Use, Shower Availability and more tips about how to make those advanced reservations.

You can visit Yosemite’s website here.

8 Best Areas In Yosemite’s Campsites​

These are the best areas to camp within the park according to my research:

1. Lower Pines Campground​

Lower Pines Campground​

Lower Pines Campground, found just west of the Upper Pines Camping ground, features 60 campsites situated close to the Merced River’s southern banks. Thanks to the Half Dome’s striking views and its waterside setting, a lot of campers consider Lower Pines the most excellent campground in Yosemite.

Campsite reservations must be booked as far beforehand as possible. The campground includes Dbl1, Dbl2, Dbl3 (three double campsites) that house 7 to 12 individuals each (cost: $36 for every campsite). Maximum trailer length is 35 feet; maximum RV length is 40 feet; RV hook-ups aren’t available.

Open: Approximately April through October​

Cost: Around $26/night​

2. Yosemite Valley Campsite​

Yosemite Valley Campsite​

The Yosemite Valley is a spectacular location in the park. It is less than 1 mile wide and 7 miles long, and it is home to a number of the highest waterfalls in the USA and sheer granite cliffs. Since Yosemite Valley is probably the most popular site of Yosemite, its four camping grounds get reservations really fast.

Campsite bookings are available five months beforehand, and bookings for the summer months frequently sell out in just minutes from opening. If you cannot get a booking, then you can attempt to claim the first-come, first-served sites at Camp Four, however, this may be extremely tough during such season.

The campgrounds in Yosemite Valley are found at around 4,000 feet or 1,220 meters high. All campgrounds include bathrooms with flush toilets and drinking water. (You can buy hot showers at Housekeeping Camp or Curry Village during the afternoon.)

The free shuttle of Yosemite Valley makes parking available at the four campgrounds all through the day.

3. Upper Pines Camping Ground​

Upper Pines Camping Ground​

Upper Pines Campground, found at Yosemite Valley’s far eastern end, is the park’s second-biggest campground. Bookings for its campsites are necessary from March through November.

Also, from December to March, the campsites are open on the basis of whoever gets reservations first. Optimum trailer length is 24 feet; maximum RV length is 35 feet; no hook-ups for RVs.

Open: All year-round​

Cost: $26/night​

4. North Pines Camping Grounds​

North Pines Camping Grounds​ - Yosemite National Park

The North Pines Campground is found directly across the Merced River and is also deemed among the top campgrounds in the park. Campsite bookings should be reserved as far beforehand as feasible.

The North Pines’ 81 campsites are crowded and packed very closely together. And hopefully, you’ll enjoy the company of your neighbors!) Maximum trailer’s length is 35 feet; Maximum RV length is 40 feet; No hook-ups for RVs.

Open: Approximately March towards October​

Cost: $26/night​

5. Camp 4

Camp 4 - Yosemite National Park

Camp Four, from early April towards November, is the park’s lone most accessible ground for camping. Unsurprisingly, its 35 sites are in very high demand during the summer season, but they may be full in the fall and spring as well.

The campsites are all walk-in, meaning; they don’t accommodate trailers, RVs or cars. If you are lucky enough in claiming a Camp Four campsite, then you should leave your vehicle in the nearby parking area. Also, camp four is the only campground in Yosemite that doesn’t allow pets.

Camp Four is popularly called the rock climbers’ camp in the park. For many years, it has drawn numerous climbers worldwide, who love the camp’s distance to the “El Capitan” as well as other popular pathways.

Open: Throughout the year​

Cost: $6/person​

6. Bridalveil Creek Campground​

Bridalveil Creek Campground - Yosemite National Park

The Bridalveil Creek Campground, found halfway along the Glacier Point Road which is 7,200 feet or 2,195 meters high, is a 45-minute (26-miles drive) from the Yosemite Valley. In the peak season, it is the nearest accessible site to the Yosemite Valley.

The area has 112 campsites, which includes two group camping sites (13 to 30 individuals) that may be booked at least five months beforehand. Maximum trailer length is 24 feet; maximum RV length is 35 feet.

Open: June or July towards late of September​

Cost: $18/night​

7. Glacier Point Road Camping​

Glacier Point Road - Yosemite National Park

The Glacier Point Road extends 16 miles from Glacier Point to Wawona Road. Glacier Point, perched 3,000 feet above the Yosemite Valley floor, provides stunning views of Nevada Falls, Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, and other popular landmarks.

Also, Glacier Point Road is the point of jumping off for numerous outstanding day hikes, lots of which go to dramatic standpoints along the south rim of Yosemite Valley.

8. Big Oak Flat Road Camping​

Big Oak Flat Road - Yosemite National Park

The Big Oak Flat Road runs 17 miles throughout the woodlands and towards the park, which stretches southeast from the Big Oak Flat Entrance of the Yosemite National Park. Though there are several scenic tourist attractions in the way, the site offers access to Merced Grove.

A few campgrounds along the site are close campgrounds to the Yosemite Valley that take reservations.

Conclusion​

Every adventure seeker, nature lover, and happy camper will love Yosemite for certain. It displays a few of the most attractive sights you’ll ever to see. It’s literally one of my most favourite camp sites and I plan on going there again soon.

The Yosemite National Park provides 13 campgrounds; a few require a reservation while others, first-come, first-served. But what is the most excellent Yosemite campground that you should chooose? Even though the campgrounds have their unique features and perks, you can select some depending on your preference.

Check out this video for a closer view of Yosemite Camping Sites:​

Yosemite National Park: Little-Known Best Yosemite Campground
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