You may be planning a visit to one of California’s many gems, Yosemite National Park, but have you thought about where you’re going to stay? Camping in Yosemite National Park is a great (and cheap) way to stay close to your adventure. Keep on reading for a guide on how to camp in Yosemite National Park.
Since May 21, 2021 reservations are required to drive into Yosemite National Park, but if you have a reservation for one of the places listed below, you don’t need an extra reservation. However, you will still need to pay the $35 entrance fee or have your annual or lifetime pass on you when entering.
Upper Pines, Lower Pines, or North Pines Campgrounds, Camp 4, Wawona Campground, Bridalveil Creek Campground, or Tuolumne Meadows Campground
Curry Village, Housekeeping Camp, Yosemite Valley Lodge, The Ahwahnee, or the Wawona Hotel
Private lodging or vacation rental reservation in Wawona, Yosemite West, or Foresta
A wilderness permit
First come, first serve campgrounds are not available in 2021 for Yosemite Valley camping, so you need to make reservations for your stay in advance. (Most, if not all, Yosemite camping sites are operating at reduced capacities due to Covid-19.)
There is one campground, Camp 4 (which is tents only, no trailers or RVs) that allows you to make a reservation a day in advance, but it is a lottery system. Camp 4 also has the only showers in the park, and they’re only available to campers here. The rest of the park’s showers are closed for the year.
For car camping, reservations are required all year, and required in the summer through the fall for Hodgdon Meadow, Crane Flat, Wawona, and half of Tuolumne Meadows. The reservations are able to be made up to five months in advance on the 15th of each month at 7 a.m. PT for blocks of one month at a time. Most reservations between May and September, and other popular weekends, are filled within minutes or even seconds after being released. You’ll want to create your account, be logged in, and start the first steps before 7 a.m. to ensure you can get your spot!
There are thirteen campgrounds within Yosemite, nine of which are on Recreation.gov for reservations at the time this was written. They vary in what they allow, how many RVs they can fit, when they’re open, what kind of water they have, and a few more things. You can see more about them in detail here.
While electrical, water, and sewer hookups aren’t available in Yosemite, there are dump stations (with fresh water) at Upper Pines Campground, Wawona Campground, and near Tuolumne Meadows Campground. Generators are also able to be used six hours/ day, near mealtimes.
There are only eight sites in Yosemite Valley that can fit RVs up to 40 feet long and trailers up to 35 feet long. Most other sites can fit RVs up to 35 feet long, and trailers up to 24 feet long. Yosemite Campsites have different length requirements for trailers vs RVs because of their layout.
Food may be stored in hard-sided RVs and trailers as long as it’s out of sight and all vents, windows, and doors are closed when you’re not there.
The parks have become even more popular lately, so try to arrive before mid-morning. Waits of one to two hours at the park entrances are common, so the earlier you arrive, the better!
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of Yosemite National Park Camping, let us plan your trip for you! Check out our Yosemite National Park Getaway and get a place to stay and a personalized itinerary that’s made for you and your group. Or if you’re able to get a campsite, but still want that itinerary, check out our itinerary-only option for your trip. Stay safe and have fun!
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