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Old 03-03-2019, 12:15 PM   #1
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Yosemite National Park

We are planning to visit Yosemite National Park from Vancouver BC and were wondering about camp sites, places to visit along the way. Any tips suggestions about anything would be appreciated.

Thanks. Scott
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Old 03-03-2019, 01:00 PM   #2
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Try to visit when there is a full moon, the rangers do a show "in the valley" then.
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Old 03-03-2019, 01:08 PM   #3
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on summer weekends, mid june through August, there is an astronomy program at Glacier Point, ideally do this between the first quarter and a few days after the new moon, when the evening sky is properly dark.

campsites IN the park are hard to get now days, they book up the day they go on sale. campgrounds outside the park are a long ways from everything.
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Old 03-03-2019, 02:13 PM   #4
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We were trying to join a family reunion on June 23-30. Thought the 24-28 would work for us. Got on line at 7 am Feb 15 as the June sites were open for reservations, and all the trailer sites were gone in 3 minutes! We might try for an Oct trip, kids back in school, summer vacation over, not too cool yet. But be ready to be disappointed if you really want a spot.
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Old 03-03-2019, 02:27 PM   #5
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We stayed in Mariposa, outside the park and did daily trips from the KOA in Mariposa. Gas was over $5/gal back 12 years ago near the park and a beer and glass wine cost us $20, very expensive area.
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Old 03-03-2019, 02:57 PM   #6
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The Evergreen Lodge is a nice place to stay.... its just north of the North Entrance to the park, a privately run historic lodge. I think they have some trailer-friendly campsites, in addition to their cabins.... hmm, no, they have some platform tents, already setup, no trailers, ok, never mind. and no cooking in camp due to the bears.
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Old 03-03-2019, 03:33 PM   #7
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Yosemite NP campsites (in park) are really hard to get, they released a block every 15th of the month so you need to plan for that. There are a couple campgrounds along high elevations 120 (inside the park) that are first come first serve but you will have to go there early to get a spot. There are also some NF campgrounds right outside the park along 120 on the western side of the park and also on the east side towards mono lake/Lee vining , all of those are first come first serve but will be occupied well before the weekend. This year we have a good amount of snow so 120 Tioga pass might open late too.

If you camped outside and try to get into the park on a weekend/holiday expect to get stuck in park entrance traffic for 1-2 hours at least.. plan to get in early for sure.

By the way, the Maricopa KOA has either gone independent or is no longer in business, I suspect the former but not sure.
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Old 03-03-2019, 08:45 PM   #8
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Just a friendly reminder that a few of our NorCal campgrounds may still be full due to 'extended stay' RVers who have lost their homes from our CA fires. Also, one of our favorite little campground (near Yosemite) is now located in the middle of a 'burnt area'. So you may want to plan or even call ahead when making your plans. On your journey down or up we recommend spending some time in and around Lassen National Park, near Redding. Lots of hiking trails (various levels) with gorgeous beautiful views in Lassen. There are a couple campgrounds inside the park but we usually stay in one of the private RV parks just outside the entrance, in the Hat Creek area. As for Yosemite, we recommend seeing: Sentinel Dome, Glacier Point, Mariposa Grove, Yosemite Falls, and Happy Isles. Happy trails!!
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Old 03-03-2019, 09:43 PM   #9
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There is some good boondocking behind Tenaya Lodge, fyi. Have done it twice and is pretty cool. Guests from the Lodge walk back to the equestrian facility at the end of the road. It is 34 miles to the Valley.
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Old 03-03-2019, 10:06 PM   #10
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Lake Tahoe is beautiful. There are various public and private campgrounds all around the lake. Maybe by August some of the (so far) 300 inches of snow at squaw valley will be melted. The small town of Coloma in Hwy 49 is the site of sutter’s mill (a state park) where the first gold discovery resulted in the population boom and eventual statehood for California. The American River flows through there and many rafting companies offer full or half day trips on class 3 whitewater.

Tahoe and Lassen (someone mentioned above) can be quite cold at night even in high summer so check on that and pack accordingly.
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Old 03-03-2019, 10:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilkuma View Post
We are planning to visit Yosemite National Park from Vancouver BC and were wondering about camp sites, places to visit along the way. Any tips suggestions about anything would be appreciated.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rossue View Post
There is some good boondocking behind Tenaya Lodge, fyi. Have done it twice and is pretty cool. Guests from the Lodge walk back to the equestrian facility at the end of the road. It is 34 miles to the Valley.
Scott, not sure what time of year you are planning on visiting, or where you plan on entering the park but, as others have mentioned, reservations for inside the park can be difficult to obtain so plan well in advance if that's your intent. Staying at a cg outside the park may be your best (or only) option.

The place Ross mentions (Tenaya Lodge) is at Fish Camp, about 3 miles from the south entrance of Yosemite on Hwy. 41. Another possibility, if using the south entrance, is the Bass Lake area. It's a little further drive (about 30 minutes) from the south entrance.
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Old 03-04-2019, 05:53 AM   #12
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I remember the first time visiting Yellowstone, the prior year there were major fires. All I saw were burnt trees and Ol' Faithful, very disappointed. You may want to hold off a couple of seasons. California was hit pretty hard with fires this year.
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Old 03-04-2019, 07:36 AM   #13
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We were there the middle of November last year and had no problem getting a camping spot. The hiking was fantastic, and the crowds were tolerable.

We tried going once during spring break in March and left after one day. The crowds were horrible. I can't imagine what it is like during the peak seasons.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 03-06-2019, 01:27 PM   #14
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Yosemite Reservations

The Valley sites are difficult to reserve - worth it if you are lucky. Attached is information re the reservation schedule and tips on making reservations. The reservations open up 6 months in advance. If your window of time is less that 6 months, you probably will not find a site. In the past, I have been lucky by going on the site daily, 3 or 4 weeks out, looking for cancellations.
If sites are not available for multiple days, then looking for sites one day at a time - which means if you would like to stay more than one day, you would need to move each day
Kent
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Old 03-06-2019, 01:35 PM   #15
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Another possibility for outside the park locations is in & around Lee Vining & Mono Lake. This only works if you are willing to do some driving & Tioga Pass (CA 120) is open.

There is a commercial campground in Lee Vining, Forest Service campgrounds in the area, some nice places along June Lake drive, and, of course, Mono Lake is an interesting place to see. A bit north on US 395 is Bodie State Historic Park, a restored ghost town.
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Old 03-06-2019, 05:18 PM   #16
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Mono and Lee Vining is *hours* from Yosemite Valley. I agree its a great side or bracket trip. Bodie is very cool!

btw, the infamous "Tioga Toomeys" cafe formerly at the Mobil station at the bottom of the east end of Tioga is no longer Toomeys, he's moved to Mammoth Lakes last I heard. Menu - Toomey's
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Old 03-07-2019, 08:53 PM   #17
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The Valley sites are difficult to reserve - worth it if you are lucky. Attached is information re the reservation schedule and tips on making reservations. The reservations open up 6 months in advance. If your window of time is less that 6 months, you probably will not find a site. In the past, I have been lucky by going on the site daily, 3 or 4 weeks out, looking for cancellations.
If sites are not available for multiple days, then looking for sites one day at a time - which means if you would like to stay more than one day, you would need to move each day
Kent
+1 on trying for cancellations, even until the day you're leaving. I kept watching the reservation site and managed to get 2 consecutive nights in the valley (different campsites) just a week or two prior to departure.



If you're going in summer, the road to Glacier Point will be open. This is by far my favorite area. There are hikes to various points along the rim with great views, plus wildlife. My valley time was up Sunday a.m. so I packed up and drove to the Bridalveil Creek CG which is first-come, and at 11 a.m. I had my choice among several sites. So I camped there for 4 nights and used that as my base of operation for day trips. It seemed to fill up at Bridalveil anywhere from noon to 4 p.m. on the days I was there.


This is the trail to Taft Point.

P1010346 sm.jpg



And here's Taft Point.
P1010338 sm.jpg


Sentinel Dome.
P1010265 sm.jpg


I bet I have whetted your appetite for Yosemite!
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Old 03-07-2019, 09:56 PM   #18
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I was intentionally *NOT* mentioning Bridalveil Creek Campground, hah. its a little known secret. the only problem is if you get there and there IS no space available, its a long ways to anywhere else.
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Old 03-13-2019, 01:12 PM   #19
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We stayed at Yosemite Pines RV resort in July 2017 and took a bus to and from the National Park. Very convenient not having to handle Park traffic. If you go there, be sure to follow their directions to avoid steep twisty roads. (Added to my list of Lessons Learned the Hard Way.)
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Old 03-13-2019, 07:05 PM   #20
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We did a road trip to the Bay area in 2011 and here are some of the places we stayed:


Seaquest State Park (near Mt. St. Helens)
  • If the weather is clear, it's worth it to drive up to the crater.
  • If the weather isn't clear, the visitors centre near the campground is still good.

hiwayhaven.com - View on a Microsoft Map of
  • This is a converted drive-in movie lot that still shows movies every night!
Crater Lake
  • Can't remember the campground name but it was on the north side of the park.
  • Lots of flies in July.
  • Crater Lake itself is breathtaking and worth the detour from I-5 IMO.
Heritage RV Park in Corning, CA
  • Fairly typical urban park.
  • Walking distance to some restaurants etc. if you want a break from cooking.
  • Very clean.
  • For us it was just a good distance between Crater Lake and Freemont.
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