If you have ever been camping in Yosemite, you will know that it either takes some serious advanced planning, or the willingness to wing it for same-day reservations! The Yosemite Valley itself has 10 campgrounds that accommodate Camper Vans (Note that Camp 4 and some of Hodgdon Meadow is walk-in, with no sleeping in vehicles allowed). Our favourites campgrounds to visit in a Campervan in Yosemite are below!
Missed the boat on reservations and not willing to get up early for First-Come-First-Served spots? Check out our post here for other options outside of the Yosemite Valley, or consider our Itinerary Planning service. You also may want to look at Campnab– for a small fee, they will scan the calendar and alert you when reservations become available. Most campgrounds are open for the peak season. If you are traveling outside of that time, your campground options are limited to Upper Pines , Wawona and Hodgdon Meadow.
North Pines Campground
This campground is a favorite, known for its towering granite walls, beautiful river and booking up super early in advance. Sites before available on recreation.gov five months before your reservation, on the 15th of the month. Seriously. If you are planning that early, you will be rewarded by beautiful wooded campsites and great hiking trails within walking distance.
Tuolumne Meadows Campground
This massive campground has over 309 sites, and is conveniently located to a number of beautiful hikes. Sites can be close together- our recommendation is to aim for Loop D for a bit more space! As with all Yosemite Valley sites, reservations can be booked up to five months in advance on the 15th of each month at 7:00 a.m. (PT) or 10:00 a.m. (ET). Most people think that this is a reservation-only campground, but it also has some first-come sites that are available. Read more on these sites below!
Crane Flats Campground
The site is conveniently located 17 miles from Yosemite Valley, and is open from mid May to mid-October. Sites here can also be booked on recreation.gov, five months before your reservation, on the 15th of the month, however, they are usually the last to book as they are not actually in the valley. This is a good back up if you miss out on one of the valley campsites above. Open July till October.
One common strategy if you are unable to get a reservation, is to show up early for one of the first-come, first-served sites. Get to the Campground Reservations building (it is a small, wooden structure with a bulletin board to the left of it), in the heart of Yosemite Valley early to line up and put your name on the list. We would recommend arriving before 6am. To do this, you will likely need to stay in one of the sites outside Yosemite the night before. You can then enjoy your day in Yosemite, and come back in the afternoon to see if your name gets called for a campground. If you are travelling in the summer season, we recommend aiming to get to Yosemite mid-week to maximise your chances of getting a first-come first-served spot. Miss out when you arrive? Try freecampsites.net- the map is clunky, but there is some gold in there, and a lot of places around Yosemite to camp at in a pinch.