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Tent camping in summer

PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:07 am
by damir
Hi folks. Greetings from Croatia.

My girlfriend and me are planning a trip to USA this summer which will hopefully include a 4-day visit to Yosemite.

However I am at odds on how to plan this visit. We will most probably be coming with public transportation and plan to sleep in a tent, hopefully in a campground with basic facilities and low bear traffic. We also plan to spend our days hiking 1-day routes.

Can you please inform me the best way to ensure this will go smoothly? Like which campground to choose, should we try to reserve it online (as far as I hear it's a dead race once the reservation window opens) or it's entirely possible to find place for a small tent even in the summer without reservations?

I thank you in advance for any kind of helpful information or advice you can give me.


Re: Tent camping in summer

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 6:19 pm
by dan
damir wrote:We will most probably be coming with public transportation

Try to arrive in Merced, California. There's a daily bus that goes from Merced to Yosemite Valley. See YARTS at

Or you can rent a car--it's much easier. The closest major airport is Fresno Yosemite Airport, Fresno, California ("FAT")

If you have time, you should also visit the Giant Sequoias in Wawona Grove at the southern part of Yosemite National Park. There's a tour bus that leaves from Yosemite Valley hotels and back in the same time.

damir wrote:and plan to sleep in a tent, hopefully in a campground with basic facilities and low bear traffic.

No such thing as a campground with low bear traffic. Keep your food in your car or in bear lockers in the campground.

The Black Bear in Yosemite is not as dangerous as other bears, such as the Grizzley Bear or Polar Bear. They generally do not attack people, if they have no food. They want your food, not you. They are more dangerous if you approach them, get between a mother bear and her cubs.

I strongly recommend reserving a campground in Yosemite Valley, preferably the first day they become available. The Pines Campgrounds are in Yosemite Valley. Any of them are OK. To see how many campsites are available on a given day see:
Reservations for summer will open up in the next month or so.
To reserve a campsite, go to this US government website:

damir wrote:[is it] entirely possible to find place for a small tent even in the summer without reservations?

Unlikely. Your best bet is in the middle of the week in the morning when people are leaving.

PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 6:28 am
by damir
Thanks for the reply.

However I am very well aware of the mentioned sites (I can't named them since this is my 2nd post and the damn anti-spam policy has already nuked my previous reply so I have to write all this again. Grr.) I have researched the available campgrounds and plan to make an online reservation, however - as I heard - the reservation get filled up in mere minutes after they get opened, what with the "spillage" of people who reserved in the previous period which spilled over after 15th and the big intereset in those camps altogether.

What I'm mostly interested is the question whether it pays off to go visit Yosemite altogether if we don't succeed in getting a reservation, what with us using public transportation and all. If there's a reasonable chance to get a spot, ok, but if the place is SO crowded in summer it's impossible to find a spot perhaps it's a better choice to avoid it altogether.

PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 7:32 am
by bill-e-g
You should visit Yosemite. I've travelled a bit around the world and it's
just my favorite place of all ...

Anyway, don't worry so much. There are a large number of first-come
first-serve campgrounds throughout the park. If you visit in July
they will almost all guaranteed to be open.
The nps website is really really good and has a huge amount of information.

Just spend the money and rent a car. It will save you alot of
headache. You can see all of Yosemite (Wawona Big Trees,
Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point) on YOUR
schedule. Not worrying about what time the bus runs.
You can also move your campsite if you want.

Yes, all the campsites w/i the valley may be filled up but, again, there
are a alot outside. Visit the nps site for alot of info of where they

Just avoid July 4 week if possible. It will be the most crowded.
You may want to try to reserve Hodgden Meadow for your first night.
It just guarantees you get a good 2 days in Yose. It is a bit of
drive to Yosemite Valley but you can visit the Merced Grove or
Tuolumne Grove easily from there.

As far as bears... just don't worry... put your food in the lockers...
(NOT your car)...

I hope you visit. Just assume it will be crowded in the Valley.

If you can visit Tues-Fri that would be best...
Ask if you have any more questions... but again, the nps website...

Yes, I know you said about NOT renting a car....

PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 7:37 am
by damir
Well, by our current plan we arrive on Monday and stay until Friday.. I guess we can postpone arrival for one day if Tuesday is a more viable option.

We thought of renting a car, but I'm unsure of the US rates. Can you tell me a ballpark figure for the cost of renting a small car for five days? It would be nice not to rely on public transportation, but then again I planned to do some serious hiking in Yosemite, and not too much joyriding as such.. :)

Oh, and thanks for the answers, really.

PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 8:02 am
by bill-e-g
The thing is... the park is pretty big... Renting a car gives you
the option to say, stay in Hodgden Meadows... drive to Tuolumne
(about 45 minute drive) ... Hike to Clouds Rest and back...
then drive back to your campsite...
With a bus, if you take a little too long... now you're hitch hiking...

Monday is fine. Just def not start on Fri-Sun.

As far as the car.... I just searched for July 6-10 for economy car
on hotwire and it said $30/day. So prob somewhere in range of
30-60 US dollars per day.

A good website to look is kayak. Give it a look. Perhaps it is not
as expensive as you expected. ??? Hopefully gas doesn't shoot
up to $4.50 + a gallon again like last year...

And to fly into Fresno or Merced from overseas... hmm... yeah, I just don't know... that would probably cost the extra amount of
a rental car just there... not sure if those airports are even international.

If you want more opinions you can post on
That forum has alot of regulars that may give you more info
(or give you more headaches... however you look at it)

PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 9:18 am
by damir
Got a place in Upper Pines. Barely.

The reservation process is madness. Almost every single date was filled up a few minutes after the window was open. And it's sheer lottery whether you'll get one or not even though it shows itself as available - you have to endure a few seconds of "booking..." after which you just get a message that it wasn't successful (and see those available dates suddenly turning R) and you realize in despair you just wasted another few precious seconds.

North Pines were filled at 7:02, Lower at 7:03. I snatched the second-to-last place in the Upper (the last one was for people with disabilities). I think it's the probably the worst place in the entire camp, but what the heck.

I knew there would be a rush but this was insane.