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Camping at Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park
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Overview of Yosemite Camping

Yosemite National Park is a renowned destination for camping, attracting visitors from all over the world to its stunning valleys, waterfalls, and giant sequoias. With a range of campgrounds available, camping in Yosemite requires some planning and adherence to park regulations to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Campground Options

Developed Campgrounds:

  1. Upper, Lower, and North Pines: These are in Yosemite Valley and quite popular due to their central location.
  2. Wawona and Hodgdon Meadow: These are open year-round but are further from Yosemite Valley.
  3. Crane Flat and Tuolumne Meadows: Seasonal campgrounds that provide a different experience on the High Sierra.

Backcountry Campsites: For the more adventurous, backcountry camping is an option. Permits are required and can be obtained through a lottery system.

Reservations and Permits

  • Reservations: Most Yosemite campgrounds require reservations, which can be booked through Recreation.gov. Sites fill up quickly, often within minutes of becoming available, so plan to book several months in advance.
  • Permits: For backcountry camping, you need a wilderness permit. These are allocated via a quota system to limit the impact on the environment.

Camping Seasons

Yosemite's camping seasons vary by campground. While some are open year-round, others are seasonal due to weather conditions. For instance, higher elevation campgrounds may only be accessible during the summer months.

Campground Amenities

Amenities vary by campground but may include:

  • Potable water
  • Bathrooms with flush toilets and sinks
  • Picnic tables and fire rings
  • Food storage lockers (to protect from bears)
  • Nearby trails and visitor services

Wildlife and Food Storage

  • Bears: Yosemite is home to black bears that have become very adept at obtaining food from campers. Proper food storage is mandatory in bear-proof lockers.
  • Other Wildlife: Proper food storage also protects other wildlife and helps maintain the park's ecology.

Fire Safety

  • Campfires: Follow the park's rules for campfires. Campfire restrictions are typically in place during high fire danger periods.
  • Gathering Firewood: Do not gather wood or kindling from the park. Instead, purchase firewood from nearby stores.

Leave No Trace

  • LNT Principles: Campers should adhere to the Leave No Trace principles, which include camping on durable surfaces, disposing of waste properly, and minimizing campfire impacts.
  • Restoration Efforts: By following these principles, you help preserve the park for future generations.


Some campgrounds in Yosemite offer accessible campsites for visitors with disabilities. Check specific campground details for the availability of these sites.

Tips for a Successful Camping Trip

  1. Book Early: Start planning months in advance to secure a reservation.
  2. Check Conditions: Review the latest park conditions, including road closures and weather, before your trip.
  3. Pack Appropriately: Bring suitable gear for the elevation and season of your visit.
  4. Food Storage: Use bear-proof lockers and never leave food or scented items in your car.
  5. Follow Regulations: Adhere to all campground rules to maintain the park's natural beauty and safety.

By keeping these points in mind, you can ensure a fulfilling and responsible camping experience in Yosemite National Park.

Map of Campgrounds in Yosemite National Park
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