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[Yosemite]

Opening dates of 1st come campgrounds along Tioga Rd

Hiking, backpacking, running, biking, climbing, rafting, and other human-powered activities in Yosemite National Park

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Opening dates of 1st come campgrounds along Tioga Rd

Postby aaronbmorris13 » Mon Apr 25, 2016 12:05 pm

I will be arriving to Yosemite June 7th (a Tuesday) around 1 pm of this year and starting a backpacking trip on the 8th. I have permits and everything for the backpacking portion, but Im looking for a campground to camp at the first night I arrive. I know any of the reservable campgrounds are pretty much out of the question because they're all booked. Im hoping to be able to get a couple sites at either Yosemite Creek Campground or Tamarack Flat because we'll have a group of 12 and Ive heard the campgrounds in the valley fill up extremely fast. It says Yosemite Creek and Tamarack flat arent expected to open until mid July though. Does that sound accurate due to the snowfall this year? I camped in Yosemite Creek early June 2 years ago, so Im just wondering if anyone thinks these campgrounds will be open in june of this year. Also, if anyone has suggestions on other campgrounds or options that would be great. Thanks so much!
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Re: Opening dates of 1st come campgrounds along Tioga Rd

Postby Phil » Mon Apr 25, 2016 2:01 pm

That's way early for almost all the higher campgrounds. The projected opening dates this year do potentially look to be a little later than usual for most, but it's not just snow, it's about how wet the ground is, water and septic, repair... From the list of this year's dates, https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm it looks like you're going to be at Porcupine Flat, which is scheduled to open June 5th. I've never seen it too crowded to find a site or two that early in the season. It's also a lot closer to the road and more easily accessible than Yosemite Creek and Tamarack Flat, if that's any consolation for not having many choices. You can't use the backpacker's camps at Tuolumne and White Wolf if the main campground is still closed for the season. The backpacker's camp in the Valley, while it may be crowded and not the best camping experience you've ever had, doesn't turn away people that need somewhere to stay, plus you have early season and arriving on a Tuesday working in your favor there. Conditions and opening dates along Tioga Rd are fluid, so make sure you check where everything stands before you commit.
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Re: Opening dates of 1st come campgrounds along Tioga Rd

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Apr 25, 2016 5:21 pm

I saw a picture today of the snow on Tioga Road - there's still more than 12 feet of snow up there. They are plowing the road but even if that opens, until the snow melts out of the campgrounds up there, no camping. Probably no camping until several weeks after the snow melts because then they have to get ready -- check all the plumbing, make sure everything works, clear out fallen trees, etc.

Hogdon Meadows will probably have sites for walk ins. You can also camp in campgrounds outside the park, there is Camp Mather, campgrounds at Cherry Lake, Evergreen Lodge, motels along the 120 west into the park.... There are small campgrounds along 140 in the Merced River Canyon, there is a hostel and cabins at Yosemite Bug, there is a KOA camp in Midpines.... Tons of places along the routes into the park.

If your backpacking trip starts out of the valley, stay in the backpacker campsites in North Pines. If it starts from a trailhead on Tioga Road -- I sure hope you like hiking in snow!!
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Re: Opening dates of 1st come campgrounds along Tioga Rd

Postby aaronbmorris13 » Tue Apr 26, 2016 6:39 am

Thanks guys, my hike actually starts in the Valley and I was unaware that there was a backpackers campground at North Pines, I thought the only one was up the happy isles trailhead on the way to half dome. Ill try that option though, thanks again!
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Re: Opening dates of 1st come campgrounds along Tioga Rd

Postby Phil » Tue Apr 26, 2016 6:57 am

The one you're thinking of is Little Yosemite Valley. Here's a link to the map of the Valley campgrounds:

http://www.yosemite.ca.us/maps/yosemite_valley_map.png

You can drive in to the campground. You'll cross the bridge over the Merced River and take an immediate left just before the stables. When you enter the campground, go right around the loop past the entry kiosk, just past the camp host's site there's a dirt pullout on the right. You're allowed to park there to unload and load gear for about 15 minutes, then you have to move your car(s) to one of the other lots over by Curry Village. From the pullout, go into the trees toward Tenaya Creek and over the bridge. You're there. It's $6 per night, per person. Make sure you fill out a tag when you pay and tie it to your tent so the rangers can see that you paid when they do their walk throughs.
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Re: Opening dates of 1st come campgrounds along Tioga Rd

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:01 am

Little Yosemite has a designated area for backcountry campers who are on a backpacking trip. It's designated to reduce overuse of the area -- it would be destroyed in short order if people were able to camp just anywhere.

The backpacking camps (North Pines, White Wolf, Tuolumne) are attached to the car campgrounds and designated for use by backpackers the NIGHT BEFORE OR THE NIGHT AFTER the dates of their permit, so you need the permit in hand to stay in them. Unless, you arrive in the park by bus, on a bike or on foot. The compendium states that those arriving without vehicles can also use them. There is no limit, backpackers just pack themselves into the campsites six people per site.
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Re: Opening dates of 1st come campgrounds along Tioga Rd

Postby Phil » Tue Apr 26, 2016 10:13 am

AlmostThere wrote:The backpacking camps (North Pines, White Wolf, Tuolumne) are attached to the car campgrounds and designated for use by backpackers the NIGHT BEFORE OR THE NIGHT AFTER the dates of their permit, so you need the permit in hand to stay in them.


Absolutely! Not just for the backpacker's camps, but any of the camps like LYV, Merced, May Lake...even on the trail, or anywhere there might be or are rangers, the first thing out of their mouths besides "hello" is going to be "Can I see your permit?". For anyone that might question it or think they won't get caught, just to be crystal clear, I can only warn you that you can pretty much count on it and that the consequences for not being able to produce a valid permit on demand are more than you want to deal with; from the time you're escorted out, as you write a check for four figures to pay your fine, and possibly right up until the time when you have to petition a federal court to try to get your confiscated gear back. Cheaters and scofflaws are not tolerated well, and rangers are constantly and actively looking for violators.
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