Yosemite National Park is a beautiful park that is just hours away from San Francisco and has some of the best hiking and scenic areas found in our National Parks. Camping at Yosemite can be a challenge though. All of the campsites within Yosemite are on a reservation system that fills up in seconds after the dates are opened. Seriously!
If you know you want to camp within the park, please plan way ahead of time to secure a spot. When making a reservation make sure you are signing up for an RV or a tent space. If you are tent camping, know that you will have to park a little bit away and carry your gear in as there is no space for you to park next to your tenting spot. Yosemite camping can get quite crowded because it is crazy popular.
North Pines and Lower Pines Campground
One of the best parts about Yosemite is that the Merced River runs through it. This river has rapids, is magnificent and carries all the thawed snow down the mountain. Both North and Lower Pines have great views of the Merced River. Depending on how full the river is though, these campgrounds open later in the season in July because of the danger of flash flooding.
If these campgrounds open early, there are at a first-come, first-serve basis which is good for last minute campers. Sometimes this campground is open on a daily basis throughout the summer if there is heavy rainfall. In Yosemite Valley at Curry Village, there are hot showers and is close to both North and Lower Pines Campground.
Upper Pines Campground
One of the largest campgrounds at Yosemite is Upper Pines Campground with 238 sites. It is also located close to Curry Village which has a huge convenience store, a camping store, and a few restaurants plus medical help if needed. Upper Pines is where the majority of people with children like to camp since it is so close to all the amenities.
There is a nice canopy of trees and people out on their bikes or out for a hike with their families. There are also campgrounds at Yosemite that do not take reservations. For these, arrive before noon during the week and 9:00am on weekends to secure a spot.
Tuolumne Meadows Campground
Tuolumne Meadows campground opens seasonally and is a gorgeous campsite. It is 50% on the reservation system and opens once the snow has melted making travel accessible. It is typically open July-September and even though it has 304 campsites, it doesn’t seem as congested as the ones in Yosemite Valley can get.
Bridalveil Creek Campground
Bridalveil Creek Campground is on the way up to Glacier Point and is a great campsite out in the middle of the woods close to the creek. It is also hiking distance to one of Yosemite’s waterfalls, Bridalveil Falls.
It is one of the least expensive campsites at Yosemite, but just about perfect in every way. Just know that with it being in the woods, you are closer to seeing wildlife and all precautions need to be met.
Yellowstone National Park is a must-see if you are in the area. Would you spend a day or two camping before making your way back home?