The Best Places for Camping in Yosemite National Park
Camping in Yosemite – the Basics
Yosemite National Park is a beautiful national park and landmark located in Sierra Nevada, California. It was the very first national park designated by the United States government for wilderness preservation in 1890, and continues to be one of America’s greatest treasures.
Every year, over four million visitors trek the hills, valleys, and mountains that Yosemite National Park has to offer. While some visitors prefer traditional cabin or home lodging, many avid outdoors-men and women prefer more rustic accommodations.
Within Yosemite National Park there are 13 campgrounds. The most popular campgrounds within the park, such as Upper Pines and Camp 4, are reservation-only and book as early as five months in advance. Smaller, lesser-known campgrounds are on first-come first-served or lottery systems.
No matter the campground, a maximum of four guests are permitted to stay at each site. Group sites are available for reservation at the Wawona, Bridalveil Creek, Tuolumne Meadows, and the Hodgdon Meadow campgrounds. Campgrounds accept RV’s and trailers (unless noted otherwise) and most offer fire pits, picnic tables, tap drinking water spouts, and bearproof food lockers at each site. No campsites in Yosemite have RV hookups of any kind, and dump stations are located at the Upper Pines Campground. Horse Campsites are available seasonally at Wawona, Bridalveil Creek, and Tuolumne Meadows.
The Best Places to Camp in Yosemite
Campgrounds in Yosemite Valley
- Upper Pines
- Upper Pines Campground is the largest and most popular of Yosemite Valley Campsites. It is open year-round, and sits at an elevation of 4,000 feet.
- Upper Pines Campground is known for its incredible views of El Capitan and Half Dome. Reservations are required, and typically are reserved up to five months in advance. The pet-friendly campground hosts 238 sites, with space for tents, RV’s up to 35 feet long, and trailers up to 24 feet long. Only about 50 of these campsites are open during the winter season. Each site accommodates up to six visitors.
- At each campsite campers will find a fire ring, picnic table, and food locker. Shared restrooms with flushable facilities and tap drinking water are available. Wood fires are permitted year-round.
- Lower Pines
- Lower Pines Campground is a slightly smaller, more intimate campground located in Yosemite Valley, just moments from El Capitan and Half Dome. The campground is just a short walk from Curry Village – a popular spot for shopping and grabbing a bite to eat. Lower Pines Campground is only open spring through fall, and reservations are required. Reservations book up to five months in advance online. The campsite contains 60 sites, with ample space for tents, RV’s up to 40 feet long, and trailers up to 35 feet long. Each site accommodates six people, and offers a fire ring, picnic table, and food locker for visitors. Shared restrooms with flushable facilities and clean drinking water are present. The campground is pet-friendly, and wood-fires are permitted year-round.
- North Pines
- North Pines Campground, located in Yosemite Valley, offers fan-favorite views of the Merced River and Tenaya Creek. Mirror Lake and Yosemite Valley Stable are just a short walk away. For campers looking to stay right near the water, this is an wonderful choice.
- North Pines Campground is open spring through fall, and reservations are required. Reservations are bookable online and tend to fill up to five months in advance. The campground is comprised of 81 sites with space for tents, RV’s up to 40 feet long, and trailers up to 35 feet long. Each site offers a fire ring, picnic table, and food locker. Shared restrooms with flushing toilets and potable water are just a short walk away.
- This campground is pet-friendly, and a maximum of six people are permitted to sleep at each site. Wood fires sanctioned year-round.
- Camp 4
- Camp 4 is a rock-climber’s dream camp. Sitting at an elevation of 4,000 feet, Camp 4 is known for the climbable, enormous rock mass sitting right in the middle of the campground. It is perfect for a daily climbing challenge. The campsite is open year-round, and reservations are required during peak season. Reservations for this campground are unique. There is a daily lottery in place for Camp 4 Campground, set one day prior to each reservation time. During the off season, the camp is first-come, first-served.
- Camp 4 is tent-only and does not permit vehicles onsite. Parking is available adjacent to the campground. Each site offers a fire pit, picnic table, and food locker. Bathrooms with flushing facilities and potable water are nearby. Pets are not permitted, and only six people are permitted to sleep at each site. Wood fires are sanctioned year-round.
South Yosemite Valley
- The Wawona Campground sits at a comfortable elevation of 4,000 feet, adjacent to the Merced River. Travelers enjoy falling asleep to the sound of the babbling brook each night. Wawona is open year-round, and reservations are required for the months of April through September. Campsites book up to five months in advance online. During the off-season, Wawona Campground is first-come, first-served.
- This campsite provides ample space for RV’s and trailers up to 35 feet long. Pets are permitted, and wood and charcoal fires are allowed year-round. A maximum of six guests are permitted per campsite rental. Each campsite offers a fire ring, picnic table, and food locker. Shared restrooms are nearby, containing flushable facilities and taps for drinking water.
- Bridalveil Creek
- Bridalveil Creek Campground is a beautiful campsite located in central Yosemite, just down the road from Glacier Point and Sentinel Dome. It is open from the summer through the fall, and sits at an elevation over 7,200 feet. The campground is entirely first-come, first-served; no reservations are available.
- Campsites provide space for RV’s up to 35 feet long and trailers up to 24 feet long. The amenities available at each site include a: fire ring, picnic table, and food locker. Nearby public restrooms feature flushable facilities and taps of potable water. Pets are permitted, and wood and charcoal fires are permitted perennially.
North Yosemite Valley
- Hodgdon Meadow
- Hodgdon Meadow is rustic, “no-frills” campground, perfect for meeting travelers from across the globe. It sits at an elevation of 4,900 feet and is a bit remote, offering more privacy from the main attractions – and crowds – of Yosemite. Hodgdon Meadow is known for the serene countryside that surrounds the camp.
- This campsite is open year-round, and reservations are required during peak season. During off season the campsite operates on a first-come, first-served basis. Campsites offer space for tents, RV’s up to 35 feet long, and trailers up to 27 feet long. Each site comes with a fire ring, picnic table, and food locker. Hodgon Meadow Campground does have a public restroom with tap water and flushable facilities. Pets are permitted, and wood and charcoal fires are permitted year-round.
- Crane Flat
- Crane Flat is a popular campground located northwest of Yosemite Valley, only moments from the Tuolumne Grove trailhead. It sits at an elevation of 6,200 feet. Crane Flat Campground is open summer through fall, and features stunning views of Yosemite’s gorgeous natural light filtering through the trees. This campsite is unique as it is home to an outdoor amphitheater that features local performers. Campsite reservations are required and available online up to five months in advance.
- Crane Flat Campground is home to 166 sites, each with space for RV’s up to 35 feet and trailers up to 27 feet in length. Each site provides a fire ring, picnic table, and bearproof food locker. A nearby restroom features flushable facilities and a drinking water tap. Pets are permitted at Crane Flat Campground. Visitors may burn wood and charcoal fires year-round.
- Tamarack Flat
- Tamarack Flat is a sprawling campsite located just north of Yosemite Valley. The campground was based around the bubbling Tamarack Creek, and is perfect for visitors looking to avoid crowds and relax among the lush trees.
- This campground is open summer through fall, and does not require reservations. There are 52 sites available, and the campground only accommodates tents – no RV’s or trailers. Each site provides a fire ring, picnic table, and bearproof food locker. There is no tap water available, so guests are encouraged to bring water filters or boiling tools. Vault facilities are available for use. Pets are permitted, as well as wood and charcoal fires year-round.
- White Wolf
- White Wolf is a lush campground encircled by the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It is seated at an elevation of 8,000 feet. White Wolf is a short distance from Lukens Lake and Harden Lake - perfect for fans of fishing and swimming. The campsite is open summer through fall, and no reservations are required. White Wolf is comprised of 74 sites with space for RV’s up to 27 feet and trailers up to 24 feet in length.
- Campsite amenities include a fire ring, picnic table, and bearproof food locker. White Wolf does have a public restroom with flushable facilities and a drinking water tap. Pets are permitted year-round, as well as wood and charcoal burning fires.
- Yosemite Creek
- Yosemite Creek Campground is a hidden jewel. Seated at an elevation of 7,700 feet, this site offers a rustic, authentic, and picturesque experience of all that Yosemite has to offer. The campsite is open summer through fall, and no reservation is required.
- Yosemite Creek Campground is comprised of 74 pet-friendly campsites for tents only. No RVs or trailers are permitted. Each site provides a fire ring, picnic table, and food locker. Vault facilities are available for use. Wood and charcoal fires are permitted year-round.
- Porcupine Flat
- Porcupine Flat Campground is an idyllic, pet-friendly spot for travelers looking to get away from the craziness of the world outside Yosemite. This campsite is open summer through fall and does not require reservations. Porcupine Flat sits at an elevation of 8,100 feet. 52 campsites are available for tent camping only; no RV’s or trailers are permitted.
- Each site provides campers with a fire ring, picnic table, and food locker. Porcupine Flat does not have a potable water tap, so travelers must bring water filters or boiling tools. Vault toilets are onsite. Wood and charcoal fires are permitted year-round.
- Tuolumne Meadows
- Tuolumne Meadows is the largest campground in Yosemite, and therefore the most populated throughout peak season. The campsite is open summer through fall, and has a unique reservation structure. One half of the campground is available to be reserved online, will the other half is first-come first-served. It sits at an elevation of 8,600 feet.
- Tuolumne Meadows has 304 camping spots, and each offers space for RV’s and trailers up to 35 feet in length. Pets are permitted – and this campground is one of the most popular for families with pets! Wood fires are permitted all year, and restroom facilities with tap water are located within the site.
Tips for Renting a Cabin in Yosemite
Renting a cabin or lodge in Yosemite is the ultimate way to enjoy a Yosemite adventure. Cabins are available year-round and offer private bedrooms, private bathrooms, fully-equipped kitchens, central heat/AC and parking. Traditional camping amenities, such as a fire pits and outdoor grills, provide a timeless outdoorsy feel. Families with children and teens can enjoy a day hiking in the park, before returning home to a cozy cabin with television, Wi-Fi, and board games.
Unlike campsites that only sleep up to six visitors, most cabins and lodges accommodate eight to twelve visitors. Pet friendly options are available as well. With a wide variety of properties available, it is easy to choose the perfect rental home to match any traveling style.
Featured Cabin Properties
Whispering Pines is a rustic, one bedroom, one bathroom, cabin in the woods stocked with modern amenities. It is perfect for couples, friends, or small families. Whispering Pines is pet-friendly and is located only a short walking distance from the Merced River. This cabin truly feels like a camping adventure, while also offering creature comforts such as a satellite TV and propane BBQ.
Along the River is a charming riverfront cabin with two bedrooms and one bathroom. The cabin comfortable sleeps six, and is located on the Merced River. Just steps from fishing or swimming in the river, this hotel feels like a traditional camping experience! Along the River offers a hot shower, fully equipped kitchen, spacious outdoor deck, propane grill, and TV with Netflix. It’s a stellar balance between rustic camping accommodations and modern comfort.
The Papa Bear Cabin is a spacious 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom rental property located in Wawona. Its central location is perfect for enjoying the serenity of the lush forest while still being located just a few miles from main attractions. Papa Bear Cabin features a spacious living room, wood-burning fireplace, fully equipped kitchen, and expansive deck with a propane barbeque. This property accommodates up to eight guests and provides parking for three cars. Enjoy a day of hiking, fishing, or swimming nearby – then return to “home base” at Papa Bear Cabin!
If you’re looking for Yosemite National Park lodging, call Yosemite’s Scenic Wonders at 1-888-YOSEMITE (1-888-967-3648) to begin planning your memorable vacation. Scenic Wonders offers quality cabin rentals inside of Yosemite National Park at reasonable prices!