Best Campsites in Yosemite National Park

by Amy Myers

As one of the most popular national parks in the country, it’s no secret that Yosemite’s campsites hold almost as much beauty as the world-known attractions themselves. Home to gorgeous, giant sequoias and towering, granite cliffs, there isn’t a single spot in this park that doesn’t spark wonder. Naturally, folks find it hard to head back out to the real world, and that’s why these campsites may be among the best in the world, let alone Yosemite itself.

Luckily, Yosemite National Park has plenty of campgrounds throughout its different corners and regions to accomodate for the millions of visitors that wish to watch the sun rise over El Capitan or peak through the ancient trees in Mariposa Grove.

Of course, with so many visitors, the park has to keep up with maintenance. For that reason, the following campgrounds are closed for the 2022 season: Tuolumne Meadows, Craane Flats, Bridalveil Creek and Porcupine Flats.

Pro tip: In Yosemite National Park, there are few hook-ups for RVs and campers. These large vehicles are still welcome at most campsites, but you may not encounter quite as many amenities as with other parks and campgrounds. Be aware that if you use any of the park’s natural water sources at its campgrounds, you’ll need to also boil or treat the water before consuming it.

Browse below for Outsider’s choices in Yosemite campsites.

Campers lounging in Yosemite National Park, California. (Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Upper Pines

Camping beneath the trees

  • Location: Upper Pines Campground, Yosemite National Park, CA, 95389
  • Campground contact: (209) 372-8502
  • Park hours: open 24 hours, year-round
  • Campground website

All of the Pine District campgrounds are in close proximity to many of Yosemite National Park’s most popular attractions, but Upper Pines sits in the heart of Yosemite Valley where a canopy of California black oak, Ponderosa pine, incense-cedar, White fir and Whiteleaf Manzanita offer a welcome reprieve from the west coast sun. That means perfect opportunities for midday naps between hikes in a swinging hammock. And at night, the sound of the breeze through the branches will lull you to sleep.

Campground breakdown:

  • 5 tent-only campsites: $36 per night
  • 10 ADA-compliant sites: $36 per night
  • 32 non-electric RV-only sites: $36 per night
  • 198 non-electric RV/tent sites: $36 per night

Upper Pines amenities: cell reception, trash and recycling services, sanitation dump station, food storage lockers, potable water, flush toilets, fire rings and picnic tables.

Reserve an Upper Pines campsite here.

Camper snoozing in a hammock in Upper Pines Campground, Yosemite National Park, California. (Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Lower Pines

Camping below the Half Dome

  • Location: 9000 Southside Dr, Yosemite Valley, CA 95389
  • Campground contact: (209) 372-8502
  • Park hours: open 24 hours, year-round
  • Campground website

For those that prefer a bit more sunshine at their campsite, Lower Pines still gives its visitors a touch of green in its sceneery without distracting from the polished granite peaks above them. In fact, you’ll be slumbering under the shadow of the famous Half Dome formation, known for its one flat side and one rounded side. By morning, avid hikers will help inspire you to reach greater heights as you watch their impossibly small forms climb the nearly 5,000-foot rock.

Campground breakdown:

  • 5 ADA-compliant campsites: $36 per night
  • 9 non-electric RV-only sites: $36 per night
  • 64 non-electric RV/tent sites: $36 per night

Lower Pines amenities: cell reception, trash and recycling services, food storage lockers, potable water, seasonal flush toilets and fire rings.

Reserve an Lower Pines campsite here.

Camp 4

Camping beside the granite cliffs

  • Location: Camp 4, Yosemite Valley, CA 95389
  • Campground contact: (209) 372-8502
  • Park hours: open 24 hours, year-round
  • Campground website

Like Lower Pines, Camp 4’s sites are located beside Yosemite’s pale rock faces, making it the prime location for climbers and boulderers. In fact, Camp 4’s mark on Yosemite’s history began when rock climbing pioneers staked their claim on the area from 1947 to 1970, sharing new climbing philosophies and techniques that molded the sport into what it is today.

You’ll find that there are some pretty good bouldering opportunities right at the campsite that will help you warm up for the day’s big send. Of course, if you decide to stay at one of the Camp 4 sites, you’ll be sharing the grounds with other avid climbers. Remember to be mindful of your gear and of others hoping to take advantage of the nearby boulders.

Campground breakdown:

  • 2 ADA-compliant campsites: $10 per night
  • 61 walk-to/boat-to sites: $10 per night

Camp 4 amenities: cell reception, trash and recycling services, sanitation dump station, food storage lockers, potable water, flush toilets, year-round hot showers, fire rings and picnic tables.

Reserve an Camp 4 campsite here.

Wawona

Camping close to the sequoias

  • Location: Wawona Campground, Wawona, CA 95389
  • Campground contact: (209) 375-9535
  • Park hours: open 24 hours, year-round
  • Campground website

Located along the south Merced River, Wawona Campground is at the crossroads of natural beauty and historical significance. Just a short drive from the campsites is the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, easily one of the top five attractions in the national park. Nearly every one of the millions of visitors flock to the grove to see several hundred of the most mature sequoias in the world. And you get a jump start on the action.

Also close by is the historic town of Wawona, home to the crown jewel, the Wawona Hotel, established in 1856. Also in Wawona is the Yosemite History Center, offering the perfect day trip for folks that want to step back in time.

Campground breakdown:

  • 47 tent-only campsites: $36 per night
  • 4 ADA-compliant sites: $36 per night
  • 43 non-electric RV/tent sites: $36 per night
  • 2 horse campsites: $50 per night
  • 1 group site: $75 per night

Wawona amenities: cell reception, trash and recycling services, sanitation dump station, food storage lockers, potable water, flush toilets and fire rings.

Reserve a Wawona campsite here.

Hodgdon Meadow

Camping by the groves

  • Location: Hodgdon Meadow Campground, Big Oak Flat Rd, Groveland, CA 95321
  • Campground contact: (209) 379-2123 
  • Park hours: open 24 hours, year-round
  • Campground website

Similar to Wawona Campground, Hodgdon Meadow has direct access to the park’s wooded attractions. Close to the campsites are the trailheads for both Merced Grove and Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias. That means the majesty of the Yosemite’s gorgeous evergreens are only a hike away. Located near Crane Flat, Tuolumne Grove is home to the Dead Giant Tree Tunnel which allows you to stroll through the carved archway of a sequoia that still stands tall today. Meanwhile, Merced Grove’s sequoias have much more variety in their size and shape.

Campground breakdown:

  • 68 tent-only campsites: $36 per night
  • 31 non-electric RV-only sites: $36 per night
  • 4 group sites: $75 per night

Hodgdon Meadow amenities: cell reception, trash and recycling services, food storage lockers, potable water, flush toilets and fire rings.

Reserve a Hodgdon Meadow campsite here.

Yosemite Creek

Creekside camping

  • Location: Upper Pines Campground, Yosemite National Park, CA, 95389
  • Campground contact: (209) 379-2123
  • Park hours: open 24 hours, July 15 to September 15
  • Campground website

Unlike the Pine District campgrounds, Yosemite Creek is a bit farther away from some of Yosemite’s more popular trails and sites. The campsites here are 26 miles west of Tuolumne Meadows and over an hour away from Yosemite Valley. However, what the campground may lack in nearby attractions it makes up for in seclusion and tranquility. With only tent sites at this campground, you’ll get to enjoy the babbling of the Yosemite Creek without interruption.

Campground breakdown:

  • 75 tent-only campsites: $24 per night
  • 2 ADA compliant sites: $24 per night

Yosemite Creek amenities: trash and recycling services, food storage lockers, potable water, seasonal vault toilets and fire rings.

Reserve a Yosemite Creek campsite here.

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