Campgrounds at Yosemite National Park: From roaring waterfalls to awe-inspiring granite cliffs and towering sequoias, Yosemite National Park abounds with impressive natural attractions. The park draws millions of visitors every year to rejuvenate their senses amidst this natural paradise.
Camping is one of the best ways to discover the park’s manifold attractions. There is a variety of campgrounds available to suit every taste. Whether you’re looking for a comfortable stay with all the essential amenities or are looking for a more authentic experience where you don’t mind filtering water out yourself, you can choose from the 13 campgrounds available in the park to suit your requirements. These campgrounds also differ in elevation and not all are accessible for the disabled.
Based on various factors such as amenities, activities, and location, we’ve curated a list of the best 7 campgrounds in Yosemite National Park. So, dive into the list and see which one ticks off all the boxes on your checklist: –
Upper Pines Campground #1
With 238 sites, Upper Pines Campground is the largest campground in Yosemite Valley. It can be accessed via all roads in the park and is also covered by the free shuttle service. Camps are set up amidst cedar and pine trees that make for a postcard-worthy landscape. Campers can enjoy spectacular views from this scenic site and even spot attractions such as El Capitan and Half Dome. It also offers easy access to numerous trailheads, making it easier to explore the park.
Looking for easy access to amenities? With the Curry Village nearby, you can easily get everything you need for a comfortable stay here. There are also toilets and cell reception at the site. If you’re bringing an RV, keep in mind that the campground accommodates RVs up to 35 feet and trailers up to 24 feet. The campground is open throughout the year. This campground has a lottery system for reservations like many other campgrounds in the park.
Camp 4 #2
If you’re an avid rock climber, this is the place for you. In the late 20th century, many famous climbers the likes of Warren Harding and Royal Robbins set up camps here. Owing to its role in the growth of rock climbing as a sport, the place is even listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Nestled in Yosemite Valley, the campground offers easy access to the stunning Yosemite Falls. You’ll also find a boulder here where you can practice your rock-climbing skills.
Tents are surrounded by gigantic pine trees. There are 35 tent sites in total and each accommodates six people. It’s a short walk away from the parking lot nearby. There are flush toilets and cell reception here. If you’re planning to visit between May to September, you’ll have to enter an online lottery system. For the rest of the months, the camp operates on a first-come, first-served basis.
North Pines Campground #3
Nestled between the Merced River and Tenaya Creek, this scenic campground offers easy access to the waterfront. You can relax here as you enjoy building a fire and sipping on your favourite beverage. There are various trails accessible via a short walk from the campground. It also has seasonally available flush toilets.
The campground features 81 sites with enough space to offer a sense of privacy and one of Best Campgrounds at Yosemite National Park. If you get a riverside site, you’ll wake up to mesmerising waterfront views. Besides tents, RVs up to 40 feet and trailers up to 35 feet are allowed.
The campground runs from April to November and there’s a lottery system in place to score a site here. If there are any slots left after the lottery, they’ll be up for reservations.
Tuolumne Meadows Campground #4
From easy access to urban amenities to proximity to many of the park’s natural attractions, Tuolumne Meadows Campground comes with a host of attractive offerings.
The largest campground in the park, it is home to 304 tent and RV sites. Nestled at an elevation of 8,600 feet, it offers easy access to amenities such as a general store, a visitor centre, a gas station, and even a restaurant amongst others. The park is set at a point where the Tuolumne River divides into Lyell Fork and Dana Fork. Love to hike? The John Muir Trails begins here.
Campers can also explore numerous lakes, and peaks nearby. Two of the easily accessible park highlights are Lyell Canyon and Elizabeth Lake.
Wawona Campground #5
Perched along the South Fork Merced River, Wawona Campground is set at an elevation of 4,000 feet and is home to 93 campsites. Apart from tents, trailers and RVs up to 35 feet are welcome here. Towering pines add to the place’s charm. Each campsite comes with a picnic table, a fire ring, a food locker, and easy access to flushing toilets and drinking water.
If you’re looking for a secluded vibe, this is the place to be. What’s more? It’s also located close to Mariposa Grove, which is known as the home of the Grizzly Giant sequoia tree. Campers can also explore the Pioneer Yosemite History Center nearby. With so much to offer, it’s one of the best campgrounds at Yosemite National Park.
You can make reservations around five months in advance from April to September. From October to April, sites operate on a first-come, first-served basis.
Lower Pines #6
The smallest of the three campgrounds in Yosemite Valley, Lower Pines Campground is home to 73 sites. Located near the Merced River, it offers stunning views like the other two campgrounds in the valley. You can spot attractions such as Half Dome and El Cap from here. What’s more? Camping here means easy access to all the amenities in the nearby Curry Village including showers. There’s also an amphitheatre nearby which hosts park ranger presentations at night. Pines and deciduous trees surround the sites.
Looking for some privacy? the sites on the edge offer a secluded vibe as compared to those in the middle. Keep in mind that the campground is prone to flooding. So, check carefully before booking in May or June when the river is high as it might lead to last-minute cancellation.
The campground is open from mid-April to late October you can make reservations up to five months beforehand. Besides tents, trailers up to 35 feet and RVs up to 40 feet are allowed. The site has flush toilets, cell reception, and an amphitheatre all available seasonally.
Hodgdon Meadow Campground #7
Hodgdon Meadow Campground comes at 7th position in “Best Campgrounds at Yosemite National Park” list. This is my personel favourite.
Sitting at an elevation of 4,900 feet, this campground is located near the Big Oak Flat entrance to the park. Around an hour’s drive from Yosemite Valley, it offers essential amenities and is accessible year-round. Campers have easy access to a gas station at Crane Flat.
Looking for hiking trails nearby? You can access trailheads to the Tuolumne Grove and the Merced Grove of Giant Sequoias via a short drive. It features 105 sites that are on the fine dirt ground so prepare to get a rustic vibe. Although a lot of sites may not have shade or are as scenic as many others on the list, the campground is popular mainly for its convenience.
If you’re planning to visit from mid-April to mid-October, you can make a reservation up to five months in advance. For the rest of the year, the sites operate on a first-come, first-served basis. Keep in mind that these are not ADA-accessible. There are flush toilets and cell reception here.
So, pick the one that ticks off all the boxes on your checklist and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in this stunning national park.
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FAQs: Best Campgrounds at Yosemite National Park
What is the most popular campground in Yosemite?
Upper Pines Campground is considered the most popular campground in Yosemite.
How many campgrounds are in Yosemite?
There are 13 campgrounds in Yosemite.
What campgrounds to stay at in Yosemite?
Upper Pines, North Pines, Wawona, and Camp Four are amongst the best campgrounds in Yosemite that offer essential amenities and a plethora of recreational activities.