Yosemite National Park is the ultimate destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. With irresistible natural wonders, unmissable wildlife, and unforgettable landscapes, you’ll be itching to get out of your tent as soon as possible to experience everything Yosemite has to offer. There are many ways to enjoy this incredible park, but my favorite is camping in one of Yosemite’s many beautiful campgrounds.
Yosemite is a beautiful place to camp but it is important to know what to expect.
The scenery is spectacular and the weather can be unpredictable. Bring clothes for all weather, because you never know when it will turn cold and rainy. Also, please don’t feed the animals—they’ve been known to bite!
The food at Yosemite is excellent and there are many options for dining out at restaurants onsite as well as nearby stores like Trader Joe’s off Highway 41 between Mariposa and Merced. If you’re looking for more of a “roughing it” experience though (and who isn’t?) then consider camping out!
The park’s campgrounds fill up quickly. Arrive early to get a spot, or you can try for the back country experience. Back country sites are available by permit only and you’ll need to reserve them in advance, or you can get a permit on arrival at each of the visitor centers (there are three).
Pro tip: If it looks like there will be no spots left when we arrive at Yosemite at noon, we would rather go back home than drive around for hours trying to find a place to camp!
Bring a bear canister – or leave your food in your car
Yosemite is home to lots of bears. In fact, the park has one of the highest densities of black bears anywhere in the world! You can see them at any time of day or night, but they’re most active during twilight hours when they’re out looking for food.
The best way to keep yourself safe from marauding critters is not to leave food out where they can get at it. If you plan on camping overnight and want an easy snack while you’re sitting around the campfire – well then, we recommend bringing a bear canister with you. Otherwise, leave your food in your car at night (not inside it!).
Camp sites do not have power
A campsite without power is a rare find, but it’s out there. In the Yosemite Valley and Wawona campgrounds, you’ll have to make do with your own solar-powered devices or car battery chargers. Even if you’re camping in a remote area where there are no other people around, remember that many areas use generators during daylight hours to power their facilities—so you can’t count on having electricity at all times.
Get water at the campground
The campgrounds are equipped with water fountains and showers. At the campgrounds, you can refill your water bottles from the water fountains that are open throughout the day and night.
Campers must bring their own drinking water in the back country. There is no access to potable drinking water at any back country campsites or designated trailheads except for those located near a large body of running water (such as Tenaya Lake). Even then, it’s not recommended that you drink directly from these sources because they may contain giardia or other contaminants that can make you sick!
Remember that your campsite is also your neighbor’s campsite
A good rule of thumb is to be respectful of other campers, no matter what their campsite looks like. If you’re a nature lover and your neighbor has decided to leave the wilderness in favor of a pop-up camper made from a mirror, don’t judge them for it. Remember that the campsite is also their home for the duration of their stay—it’s likely no more or less comfortable than yours!
When setting up your tent and gear, take care not to block off others’ access routes or set up camp on top of vegetation (this will damage plants). Keep an eye out for spots where hikers might need to cross through your site; make sure there’s room for them so they don’t have to detour around you.
Lastly, keep pets under control at all times—especially if they’re small enough to get lost easily! They may sense danger before humans do and run away before anyone notices they’ve left camp.
We’ve given you the lowdown, now it’s up to you to find your perfect camping trip. Yosemite should be at the top of your list if you are looking for adventure, or just a great way to experience the outdoors.