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Legal place to roll out a sleeping bag near Hwy120 Entrance

PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2016 2:26 pm
by Duane
I want to enter the park through the Tioga Pass entrance as early as possible this Saturday (Labor Day weekend) to avoid the inevitable long line of cars as much as possible.
I'm coming up from LA Friday afternoon, and I'm looking for a legal place to roll out a bag the night before.

My plan is to make use of established campgrounds along the 120 or near Lee Vining, but in case they are filled up, is there a nearby trail head or a road with a wide shoulder where I can safely get some sleep?

A few years back, I made use of the Mono Lake VC parking lot, but it was during the off season, and I'm not sure if it was allowed.
Any suggestions appreciated. Thanks!

Re: Legal place to roll out a sleeping bag near Hwy120 Entra

PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2016 3:16 pm
by Phil
You might try to head up toward Saddlebag Lake for a few campgrounds like the walk-in Sawmill. There's also Tioga Lake right along the highway that might be worth a try. People will sometimes share sites if you come in early and ask nicely, so it might be worthwhile to consider that if you get squeezed. There are some big turnouts you can use to crash in the car, but if you get inside the park it is illegal to sleep in your car, and the rangers do patrol, and will roust you, at the very least.

Once you get into YNP, you're legally supposed to have a wilderness permit to camp overnight, and then you're supposed to not camp any closer than a mile away from the road itself. You can't get that permit at the Tioga Pass entry station, and you need to be at the permit station in Tuolumne before 5 pm to get one there.

I don't want to tell you to break the law, but if you can't get to a campground before the entry gate, you're going to have to use your best judgment and wing it. One other thing...if you can get to the Tuolumne campground, you might be able to convince someone there to share their site, and there is a backpacker's camp, but they do check permits, and again, you're not legal if you don't already have a wilderness permit on you.

Re: Legal place to roll out a sleeping bag near Hwy120 Entra

PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2016 3:20 pm
by Duane
Thanks Phil! I'm also considering camping down in Mono Basin. No desire at all to wake up to a flashlight beam in the middle of the night!