A Nature’s Magic | Camping in Yosemite

Camping in Yosemite – Yosemite National Park, located in California’s Sierra Nevada range, is a pleasure to the eye. It is best known for the waterfalls, the valleys, the grand meadows, the ancient giant sequoias, and the expansive greenery that it holds. Yosemite National Park was first protected in 1864, and in 1984 it was declared a UNESCO heritage site. 

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Yosemite National Park_Waterfall_©Mick Haupt
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El Captain_©Ross Harding

El Captain (The Chief) stands above the shores of Merced River in Yosemite Valley with a height of more than 3000 feet from the floor of the valley. Yosemite Falls is the sixth highest in the world, with a depth of nearly 2425 ft (740m). The Falls consist of Upper Yosemite Fall and Lower Yosemite Fall, letting the water flow in between. It is one of the highest attractions in the world, and the Half Dome is a granite dome with a rounded back and vertical rock wall of 2200 ft high on the valley side. 

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Yosemite Falls_©Jeb Buckman

The climate in Yosemite National Park is regulated by the valleys and the mountains in the vicinity. The summers in the National Park are warm, sometimes up to 32-degree celsius, and the winters are cold and snowy. The plantation in the National Park differs as per the location it grows. The lower elevations have scattered trees, shrubs, and meadows that are filled with wildflowers in the spring. The Valley area comprises the larger stands of conifers that include groves of big trees (the giant sequoias), particularly in the southern part of the park. There are varied kinds of animals seen in this park. In the large mammals, there are mule deer, black bears, coyotes, mountain lions, and the endemic and endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep, and in the small mammals, there are squirrels, chipmunks, bats, and also the rare and endangered Pacific fisher. More than 250 species of birds have been observed in Yosemite National Park, out of which 167 reside here. Birds like Steller’s jays, western meadowlarks, and mountain bluebirds are seen here. There is also an extensive population of amphibians, lizards, and fishes. 

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Half Dome with a Waterfall_©Ryan OConnor

In Yosemite National Park, diverse activities are carried out for entertainment that helps attract tourism. Activities such as Biking, Rock Climbing, Camping, hiking, and Rafting are available based on prior reservations and bookings. Camping in Yosemite National Park is one of the prime pursuits to attract people, and that is done by offering additional ease and luxury. Along with regular camping, this National Park also provides glamping (glamorous camping), which provides the solace of comfortable beds and reduced packing of outdoor gear for camping.

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Mountains and Meadows_©Aniket Deole


Yosemite National Park has campgrounds with different camping setups, which help people find their comfort and basic needs fulfilled. Different stations are made for various activities, like the showers at Curry Village pool shower house. No other campgrounds have the provision of showers. Likewise, the dump stations are situated at Upper Pine Campground (all year round), Wawona Campground (only in summer), and Tuolumne Meadows Campground (only in summer). 

There are RV campsites available on most of the campgrounds. Horse campsites are available too in this National Park. Wawona Campground (All year round), Bridalveil Creek (only in summer), and Tuolumne Meadows Campgrounds (only in summer) are designated for horse campsites. Also, group campsites are available at Wawona Campground (All year round), Hodgdon Meadows (only in summer), Bridalveil Creek (only in summer), and Tuolumne Meadows Campgrounds (only in summer) are used for group campsites. Prior reservations are required for group campsites and a few of the campgrounds too.

There are 13 popular campgrounds in Yosemite National Park, and these are categorized into three sections, Yosemite Valley, North Yosemite Valley, and South Yosemite Valley.

Campgrounds Reservation Level RV Daily Fee Sites Water
Yosemite Valley
Upper Pines Yes 1200m Yes $36 238 Tap
Lower Pines Yes 1200m Yes $36 60 Tap
North Pines Yes 1200m Yes $36 81 Tap
Camp 4 May-Sept 1200m No 61 Tap
South of Yosemite Valley
Wawona Apr-Oct 1200m Yes $36 93 Tap
Bridalveil Creek Yes 2200m Yes $36 110 Tap
North of Yosemite Valley
Hodgdon Meadow Apr-Oct 1500m Yes $36 105 Tap
Crane Flat Yes 1900m Yes $36 166 Tap
Tamarack Flat Yes 1900m No $24 52 Creek
White Wolf Yes 2400m Yes $30 74 Tap
Yosemite Creek Yes 2300m No $24 75 Creek
Porcupine Flat No 2500m No $20 52 Creek
Tuolumne Meadows Yes 2600m Yes $36 304 Tap
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RV Camping_©Jeffery Keenan

Note: There are two types of toilets, creek water (i.e. vault toilets) and tap water (i.e. normal toilets) 

Campground Reservations 

Several campgrounds need reservations a few months in advance. During the spring and summer, i.e. from April to September, since the number of people wanting to visit is excess, the entries are mandatory with prior reservations only. For car campgrounds, reservations are required all around the year. Hodgdon Meadow, Crane Flat, Wawona, and Half of Tuolumne Meadows Campgrounds need summer to fall reservations. From spring to fall, a one-day advance reservation is required for Camp 4. For the other campgrounds, reservations are on the 15th of each month at 7 a.m. (Pacific time), blocks of one month are available for up to five months in advance. The reservations are made at www.recreation.gov.


Campground Regulations | Camping in Yosemite

There are a few rules and regulations for camping in Yosemite National Park. Campfires are allowed in the campgrounds. From October to April, campfires are allowed at any time in the day or night, but from May to September, it is restricted to 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. When not attending, the campfires need to be put out completely with water. Firewood collections of wood less than 6 inches in diameter are allowed only within campgrounds limits. Camping and sleeping in vehicles are allowed only at certain campgrounds. For each campsite, two motor vehicle parking is available in every campground, and they need to park on the parking pad. There are no limits to the number of tents at each campground up to its capability, and only six people maximum are allowed per campsite. One can camp up to 30 nights in a year in Yosemite National Park, and between May 1st to September 15th, only fourteen nights maximum is allowed for a person, out of which seven of those could be in Yosemite Valley or Wawona campground. Pets are allowed at camp four and group campsites only and must be leashed and not be left unwatched.

There are quiet hours between 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. The use of generators is time restricted too, i.e. 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Hammocks, clotheslines, and other tensioned lines in campgrounds are allowed as long as they don’t vandalize the nature nearby and are not allowed to be attached to oak trees. Slacklines are allowed only within two hundred feet of Camp 4. Sewages are allowed only at the dump stations mentioned earlier. Wastewater is to be disposed of at the utility drains. Check-in and out timings are at noon. If there is a reservation, check-in is allowed anytime after noon but before 10 a.m. of the next morning of the reservation, or else it will stand cancelled. 

Camping_©Avi Naim

This is pretty much all the required information needed for one to go on a camp at Yosemite National Park.


  • (Yosemite National Park: A splendid Wilderness with Magical Sunset and Moonlight, 2022)
  • (Yosemite National Park (U.S. National Park Service), 2022)
  • (Yosemite National Park | Location, History, Climate, & Facts, 2022)
  • (Yosemite National Park | Lodging, Camping, Attractions | Yosemite.com, 2022)
  • (Things to Do In Yosemite | What To Do In Yosemite | Best Things to Do, 2022)
  • (Campgrounds – Yosemite National Park (U.S. National Park Service), 2022)
  • (Campground Reservations – Yosemite National Park (U.S. National Park Service), 2022)
  • (Campground Regulations – Yosemite National Park (U.S. National Park Service), 2022)

Soundariya Shetty is an architect from Mumbai. She believes architecture is not limited to buildings, landscapes or its aesthetics, architecture is in every corner. She has high regards for sustainable architecture and strives to learn more to build her knowledge and understanding in this field by listening, reading and observing.