A Curated List Of Yosemite Camping Spots For The Perfect Escape

With over 3.26 million visitors each year, Yosemite National Park is a treasure trove of natural beauty. The great wilderness, stretching over 748,436 acres, offers campers a chance to experience the grandeur of granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, and giant sequoia groves. 

Here, we offer a specially curated list of the best camping spots in Yosemite to help plan your perfect escape.

1. Upper Pines Campground

Nestled in the heart of Yosemite Valley, Upper Pines Campground offers an unparalleled camping experience in Yosemite National Park. Its location provides easy access to iconic attractions, and its proximity to Yosemite Village guarantees your stay is as comfortable as possible.

At an elevation of 4,000 feet, Upper Pines Campground boasts a total of 238 sites, accommodating campers in tents, RVs, and trailers. Each site offers a picnic table, fire ring, and food storage locker to ensure a convenient stay. The amenities include:

  • Potable water
  • Flush toilets
  • Paved roads
  • A dump station for RVs (no hookup)

Before planning your adventure, be aware reservations are required for Upper Pines Campground. Visit recreation.gov months in advance for availability. Early birds may snag a campsite from mid-March through November, while late-May visitors can fully embrace the spring splendor.

Accessible trails pepper the campground’s vicinity, with Mirror Lake and the trailhead to Vernal and Nevada Falls a short walk away. For those craving serenity, a nearby meadow presents endless photo opportunities and potential wildlife encounters.

2. Tuolumne Meadows Campground

Situated along the scenic Tioga Road in Tuolumne Meadows, Tuolumne Meadows Campground is one of Yosemite National Park’s pearls. A higher-elevation campground at 8,600 feet, it boasts 304 campsites designed to accommodate tent campers and RV users, each offering a serene setting and easy accessibility.

Features of the campground include:

  • Picnic tables
  • Fire rings
  • Food storage lockers
  • Drinking water
  • Flush toilets

Unlike other Yosemite Valley campgrounds, Tuolumne Meadows Campground operates on a unique schedule. Half of the sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. For the rest, reservations are required, usually five months in advance, with the booking window opening on the 15th of each month.

The campground is typically open from late May through late September, but dates may vary; keep an eye on the National Park Service website for specifics about campground opening and closing dates.

For those intent on exploring, the campground’s surroundings are filled with magnificent hiking trails. Adventurers can challenge themselves by reaching the summit of Lembert Dome or engaging in rock climbing activities on Stately Pleasure Dome.

Tuolumne Meadows Campground offers everything you need for the perfect Yosemite camping experience. Its tranquil ambiance sets it apart from the popular hustle and bustle encountered in the Valley campgrounds. Whether your arrival date is a week or even months away, make a reservation and prepare for your one-of-a-kind national park camping trip.

4. Bridalveil Creek Campground

Bridalveil Creek Campground, located along Glacier Point Road, is an idyllic getaway that lets you connect directly with Yosemite National Park’s rustic charm. Found at an elevation of 7,200 feet, it offers a total of 110 campsites that accommodate both tent and RV camping.

As with all Yosemite campsites, Bridalveil Creek Campground caters with amenities, including:

  • Potable water
  • Comfort Stations
  • Picnic tables, fire pits, and food lockers at each site

Bridalveil Creek Campground provides opportunities to camp near Yosemite’s iconic landmarks. Merely minutes from Glacier Point, you can easily explore the panoramic views of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, and Yosemite Falls.

Although the campground does not function year-round, it typically operates from July through early September, subject to weather conditions. It’s a first-come, first-served campground. Hence, be sure to arrive early, especially during peak seasons around 2024.

Balancing tranquility with proximity to major park attractions, Bridalveil Creek Campground offers an exceptional camping experience compared to the more popular Yosemite Valley campgrounds like Upper Pines or Camp 4. Remember to respect the space you enjoy and leave the meadow as pristine as you found it. Lace your hiking boots, pack your tent, make your campground reservations in advance, and get prepared to experience a genuine Yosemite adventure.

5. Crane Flat Campground

Crane Flat Campground, nestled in the heart of Yosemite National Park, is a haven for those seeking solitude without losing any convenience. Ideally located in the Crane Flat area, at an elevation of 6,200 feet, this campground boasts 166 campsites, suitable for both tent and RV camping.

Among the amenities available at Crane Flat Campground, you will find:

  • Picnic tables
  • Fire rings
  • Food storage lockers
  • Drinking water
  • Flush toilets

As one of the 13 campgrounds within Yosemite National Park, Crane Flat operates on a reservation system, nestled between Lower Pines and Tuolumne Meadows Campground. Reservations are required, typically opening five months in advance on the 15th of each month.

Open from late May through late October; campers should keep a close eye on the National Park Service website for specific campground opening and closing dates. Weather conditions may affect these dates, so be prepared for changes.

As you plan your National Park Camping Trip, Crane Flat Campground offers everything you need to know for the perfect Yosemite Camping experience. Embrace serenity while remaining connected to the park’s mesmerizing landscapes. Secure your reservation in advance and prepare for an unforgettable adventure.

6. Wawona Campground

Wawona Campground is a must-consider spot in Yosemite National Park for your perfect camping escape. Located in the captivating Wawona area, Southern Yosemite, this campground has everything you need for an unforgettable experience.

  • Location: Wawona area, Southern Yosemite
  • Elevation: Situated at an elevation of 4,000 feet,
  • Total Campsites: Wawona Campground has a total of 93 campsites to accommodate both tent and RV campers. 

With plenty of options, make your reservations months in advance to secure your spot for the 2024 season.

Nearby Attractions And Features

  • Marvel at the astounding beauty of Yosemite Valley while you camp
  • Immerse yourself in the vibrant outdoors by hiking to nearby meadow trails
  • Explore renowned campgrounds like Upper Pines, North Pines, Camp 4, Yosemite Creek, Hodgdon Meadow, and Tuolumne Meadows
  • Enjoy first-come, first-served campgrounds such as Hodgdon Meadow, White Wolf, and Yosemite Creek
  • Plan your visit between late May and early September to partake in various ranger programs organized by the National Park Service

As you embark on this adventure, remember that Wawona Campground has no hookup facilities, so ensure your camper or RV is self-contained. With its unique location, Wawona allows you to experience the enchanting beauty of Yosemite National Park in all its glory.

So, pack your tent or RV and prepare for the perfect escape you’ve dreamed of!

Top Camping Tips For Yosemite

Weaving an unforgettable memory at Yosemite hinges on responsible camping practices, from securing campground reservations to understanding Leave No Trace principles.

In Yosemite, booking five months in advance is critical. Campgrounds in Yosemite, like Lower Pines and Tuolumne Meadows, operate on a first-come, first-served basis for most of the year; therefore, making reservations is recommended and often required. In peak season, reservations can be made starting on the 15th of each month.

For those who prefer a more rugged and remote experience, Yosemite allows for wilderness camping. With a wilderness permit, you can hike and set up camp in the backcountry. Remember always to follow the “Leave No Trace” principles and properly store food due to the active bear population.

Yosemite National Park offers a wide array of camping options appealing to all types of adventurers. Whether you’re all about convenience and comfort or lean more towards solitude and overcoming the wilderness, Yosemite has a camp spot waiting for you. With picturesque beauty and many activities, Yosemite promises an escape that is truly one with nature.

Before you pack your bags, ensure you check for any closures or restrictions the park may have due to weather, repairs, or wildlife activity. Most importantly, remember to respect this beautiful natural sanctuary, pack out everything you bring in, and leave the wildlife undisturbed. 

Safe travels and happy camping!

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