Camping in U.S. national parks is a favorite pastime for nature enthusiasts, and for many, securing a spot at the iconic Yosemite National Park tops the bucket list. With its breathtaking landscapes and unparalleled wilderness experience, Yosemite offers a range of campsites that set campers up to create unforgettable memories.
Sleeping under the stars in Yosemite is magical, but the process leading up to the experience is far from as enjoyable. Navigating the reservation systems and deciding which campsite to go after can be challenging. Yosemite is in high demand, particularly from May through October, and securing a camping spot requires effort.
Popular campsites in Yosemite include Upper, Lower, and North Pines campgrounds for their proximity to the valley. However, these are highly competitive to reserve, and North Pines is often fully booked through an early lottery system. If you are willing to drive from your campsite into the valley, it's easier (but still not easy) to snag a reservation at Wawona or Hodgdon campgrounds.
We have rounded up the best campsites in Yosemite, including their pros and cons. Once you've set your sights on the one you want to try for, make sure to register and get familiar with Recreation.gov, the site used for making campground reservations. Create an account and be prepared to act quickly. During peak season, reservations can often be made up to five months in advance, and Yosemite campgrounds often book up within seconds. Reservations open on the 15th of each month at 7am. In addition, this year, the opening of several campsites and roads has been delayed due to record amounts of snow. Always make sure to check the opening status of the campsites and roads before planning your visit.
Despite these challenges, the experience of waking up in the middle of Yosemite offers a connection with the great outdoors that is truly unparalleled—and well worth the effort.