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Old 10-26-2017, 03:27 PM   #1
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Escape 21: prettiest Yosemite reservable campground ?

Hi all

Title says it all

For our Escape 21:

prettiest Yosemite reservable campground ?

I have heard that many of the campsites are just outside the park ... that is ok.

We can do without hookups, but if you know please mention what sort of hookups (or none)

The south end is closer to Los Angeles. So Better for us.

Thanks.

John.
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Old 10-26-2017, 04:02 PM   #2
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I've always found the reviews here worth reading.

Yosemite Valley, CA Campground Reviews - Best of Yosemite Valley Camping - RV Park Reviews
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Old 10-27-2017, 04:24 PM   #3
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Thanks Padlin.

Anyone else have any specific recommendations,based on experience?

Thanks. :-)

John
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Old 10-27-2017, 05:15 PM   #4
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We stayed at Upper Pines last May and had a great time. No hookups, I don't think there are any spots in the park that have them. Reservations are hard (make that nearly impossible) to get -- and our 19 just barely fit into our spot. Some of the sites were much smaller than ours so we wouldn't have fit, but several were bigger. I suggest using campsitephotos.com to preview sites.
I also suggest trying to find a spot not too far from the shuttle stops.
Checkout the forum "yosemitenews.info" -- lots of people there with in depth knowledge of Yosemite. Have fun!
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Old 10-27-2017, 05:17 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Losangeles View Post
Hi all

Title says it all

For our Escape 21:

prettiest Yosemite reservable campground ?

I have heard that many of the campsites are just outside the park ... that is ok.

We can do without hookups, but if you know please mention what sort of hookups (or none)

The south end is closer to Los Angeles. So Better for us.

Thanks.

John.
Be sure to check a map or GPS to see what "just outside the park" means - depending on the entrance, the park borders are a long way from the valley.

We stayed at Yosemite Pines RV Park in Groveland, which is 21 miles from the West border of the park, but it is a 40 mile, 1 hour + drive on CA 120 to the valley floor.

My notes on the campground: "Nothing fancy, but everything you need, good WiFi, clean bathrooms & large, hot showers, stuff to do such as panning for gold, quiet, and relaxing." We watched a family of acorn woodpeckers in the tree behind out site.
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Old 10-27-2017, 11:08 PM   #6
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Thanks Padlin.

Anyone else have any specific recommendations,based on experience?

Thanks. :-)

John
John,

Based on much experience in the park over the decades, including finishing the John Muir Trail there over four decades ago, I would recommend staying in one of the Pines campgrounds (Lower, Upper or North) right in the middle of the Valley in the shadow of Half Dome. Except for the tent only campground for the rock climbers a few miles away, these are the only campgrounds within the Valley which can be reached by automobile. Everything else, inside or outside the park, is a drive of around an hour or more one way. Almost 15 years ago my wife and I made our second trip in our new truck camper over New Years weekend to Upper Pines, still the only campground open all winter in the Valley. Got a real learning experience in power management not having a generator, and only one battery and one 75 watt solar panel. Due to the continued increase in popularity of the park, reservations become a necessity year round at the Pines campgrounds. There are very specific rules on how far out one can reserve, and prime time in the spring and summer months can be difficult to reserve.

Cliff
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Old 10-28-2017, 12:34 AM   #7
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It was another era, but back in the late 1980's, I found myself in California with a few days to burn before a meeting and a rental car with unlimited mileage, so I drove to Reno to check out the gambling scene you hear so much about and had planned to spend the night there. It was a Saturday night, and half of the population of California was filling the casinos and all the hotel rooms for miles around. So around 10 p.m., I just started driving south looking for a vacancy, and next thing I new (about 1 a.m.; still no luck) I happened upon an entrance to Yosemite N.P. I pulled over and slept in the car until it started getting light, and then just started driving through the park - no map or nothing. But it was daybreak in Yosemite on a lazy Sunday morning, and I could swear I was the only one in the entire park. So beautiful, so peaceful. Given the current popularity and foot traffic, I doubt one could ever repeat the experience.
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Old 10-28-2017, 01:57 AM   #8
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My wife and I lived in Silicon Valley during the eighties until October, 1991. In the mid eighties before our children were born we would sometimes hop in the car after work on Fridays and drive to Yosemite NP often getting there around midnight. We always found a camp site for the weekend but never in the valley. Usually Crane Flat or White Wolf. On longer three or four day weekends we stayed in Tuolumne Meadows. The only time we camped in the valley was in late fall. Four times we went during Thanksgiving and tent camped/froze. Spent a lot of time sitting in the Ahwahnee Lodge near the fireplace watching the rich folks and warming up.
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Old 10-28-2017, 02:15 AM   #9
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My wife and I lived in Silicon Valley during the eighties until October, 1991. In the mid eighties before our children were born we would sometimes hop in the car after work on Fridays and drive to Yosemite NP often getting there around midnight. We always found a camp site for the weekend but never in the valley. Usually Crane Flat or White Wolf. On longer three or four day weekends we stayed in Tuolumne Meadows. The only time we camped in the valley was in late fall. Four times we went during Thanksgiving and tent camped/froze. Spent a lot of time sitting in the Ahwahnee Lodge near the fireplace watching the rich folks and warming up.
Ah the big wonderful fire in the Ahwahnee Lodge when there was snow on the ground Oct in the 80's .Camper only using the propane lamp and opening oven trying to warm up . Then head over to the big fireplace and get blueberry pancakes in the morning . Pat
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Old 10-29-2017, 01:24 PM   #10
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John,

Based on much experience in the park over the decades, including finishing the John Muir Trail there over four decades ago, I would recommend staying in one of the Pines campgrounds (Lower, Upper or North) right in the middle of the Valley in the shadow of Half Dome. Except for the tent only campground for the rock climbers a few miles away, these are the only campgrounds within the Valley which can be reached by automobile. Everything else, inside or outside the park, is a drive of around an hour or more one way. Almost 15 years ago my wife and I made our second trip in our new truck camper over New Years weekend to Upper Pines, still the only campground open all winter in the Valley. Got a real learning experience in power management not having a generator, and only one battery and one 75 watt solar panel. Due to the continued increase in popularity of the park, reservations become a necessity year round at the Pines campgrounds. There are very specific rules on how far out one can reserve, and prime time in the spring and summer months can be difficult to reserve.

Cliff
Thanks Cliff and Jon V and everyone who chimed in on this thread.

All great info.

Would welcome any more.

:-)

John
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Old 10-29-2017, 02:56 PM   #11
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John, We have camped on the Valley Floor a lot over the years, in each of the Lower Pines, Upper Pines, and North Pines; even in the (now removed) old Upper and Lower River CGs. But we have not camped there, or even tried in the past five years. The Reservation Periods are the 15th of the month to the 14th of the next month, with the Reservation Window opening 5 months in advance. In other words, the camping period of June 15-July 14 is open for reservations beginning on January 15 at 7:00am pst. Over the years we noticed the reservations getting harder and harder for the spring and summer months, our favorite time due to the spring run-off and waterfalls. The last time we tried, about fives years ago, all sites in all Valley CGs were gone in 90 seconds. 7:02 am, nada!
Reservations are by phone or on-line and are gone in the blink of an eye due to worldwide interest. We have not tried earlier spring (March-April) or late fall (Oct.-Nov.), but if I did, I would set the alarm, be logged on and on the NPS Reservation Page by 6:45 am Pacific Time, and start attempting reservations by 6:59 am. This, of course would be on the 15th of the month, 5 months prior to your desired reservation period.
To answer your original question, each of the Valley CGs are good and provide easy access to all valley attractions. They are in the same general area, so no advantage to any.

Good Luck!
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Old 10-29-2017, 03:25 PM   #12
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Steve’s description of the CA reservations system for popular sites mirrors our experience exactly. I understand that many of these reservations were appearing on eBay and Craigslist later and I’ve never heard if the parks system ever has remedied that.
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Old 10-29-2017, 05:46 PM   #13
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One more thing, John. On the Reservation Page of the NPS, there is button labeled, “First Available Site”, or something similar. Press that button. Do not waste valuable seconds looking for your preferred or largest site. By the time you locate your preferred site, and check for availability, it will be gone. Again, Good Luck!
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Old 10-29-2017, 08:58 PM   #14
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John, We have camped on the Valley Floor a lot over the years, in each of the Lower Pines, Upper Pines, and North Pines; even in the (now removed) old Upper and Lower River CGs. But we have not camped there, or even tried in the past five years. The Reservation Periods are the 15th of the month to the 14th of the next month, with the Reservation Window opening 5 months in advance. In other words, the camping period of June 15-July 14 is open for reservations beginning on January 15 at 7:00am pst. Over the years we noticed the reservations getting harder and harder for the spring and summer months, our favorite time due to the spring run-off and waterfalls. The last time we tried, about fives years ago, all sites in all Valley CGs were gone in 90 seconds. 7:02 am, nada!
Reservations are by phone or on-line and are gone in the blink of an eye due to worldwide interest. We have not tried earlier spring (March-April) or late fall (Oct.-Nov.), but if I did, I would set the alarm, be logged on and on the NPS Reservation Page by 6:45 am Pacific Time, and start attempting reservations by 6:59 am. This, of course would be on the 15th of the month, 5 months prior to your desired reservation period.
To answer your original question, each of the Valley CGs are good and provide easy access to all valley attractions. They are in the same general area, so no advantage to any.

Good Luck!
Thanks Steve for this info, and the other post as well

My concern would be - how will I know, in split seconds, if our 21’ Escape (plus SUV) would fit in the site?

Thanks. :-)
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Old 10-29-2017, 10:56 PM   #15
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Thanks Steve for this info, and the other post as well

My concern would be - how will I know, in split seconds, if our 21’ Escape (plus SUV) would fit in the site?

Thanks. :-)
It’s not likely your 21 won’t fit. Very few sites won’t take a 21. We never had a problem, even with our prior 31’ (older) Airstream, But You May need to park your tow in the Curry Village Lot, or along the road near the CG. That’s what we did many times. Either way, if you are lucky enough to get a site, take it. You will make your 21 fit
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Old 10-30-2017, 12:27 PM   #16
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One of my favorite memories as a 5 year old of a cross country trip was the firefall at Yosemite. They burned a large fire on top of one of the peaks above the campground, and after dark a ranger called out "Let the Fire Fall!" and pushed the coals over the cliff. Beautiful, but not all that environmentally sound!

Some pictures of Yosemite taken on our 1950 trip (Alas, not the firefall) 1950 Cross Country Trip
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Old 10-30-2017, 01:04 PM   #17
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One of my favorite memories as a 5 year old of a cross country trip was the firefall at Yosemite. They burned a large fire on top of one of the peaks above the campground, and after dark a ranger called out "Let the Fire Fall!" and pushed the coals over the cliff. Beautiful, but not all that environmentally sound!

Some pictures of Yosemite taken on our 1950 trip (Alas, not the firefall) 1950 Cross Country Trip
Great memories captured in your photos, Jon! I didn’t visit Yosemite as a child, and missed the fire falls off Glacier Point, But Debbie has many memories. They used to sit in the meadow at dusk (the meadow is now off limits) and wait for the “Call”, followed by the Fall.
Thanks for the pictures. Debbie will get a kick!
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Old 10-30-2017, 01:26 PM   #18
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Here's a youtube video of the Yosemite firefalls
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Old 10-31-2017, 12:08 AM   #19
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I too remember the firefall at Yosemite. Spent many happy days as a child camping there.
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Old 10-31-2017, 10:32 PM   #20
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We stayed at Upper Pines last May and had a great time. No hookups, I don't think there are any spots in the park that have them. Reservations are hard (make that nearly impossible) to get -- and our 19 just barely fit into our spot. Some of the sites were much smaller than ours so we wouldn't have fit, but several were bigger. I suggest using campsitephotos.com to preview sites
Tent camping is simple as site size was of no concern. When I had a VW camper long ago any site available to tenters was also available to our VW bus, no hookups needed. When we camped 11 years using our 13ft Scamp no problems with any trailer site, no hookups. We saw a few larger sites for longer trailers but did not seem to be as available. For that reason we parked our Escape 21 outside the park.
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