Home A - Z FAQ Bookstore Art Prints Online Library Discussion Forum Muir Weather Maps Lodging About Search

Favorite first come, first served sites?

Discussion of camping and road-accessible campgrounds in and near Yosemite National Park

Moderators: Wickett, dan

Favorite first come, first served sites?

Postby Cass234 » Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:09 pm

We are going to be camping in Yosemite this summer and we need your advice about the best first-come, first-served sites. We have reservations for our entire trip at North Pines (site 136) but we would rather get away from the crowds, which is a lot to ask when you visit in the middle of summer. So our plan is to stay a few nights at our reserved site and then get a first-come, first-served site that is more secluded and wooded and quieter. We also like to be by some kind of water, a river, etc. Is there a campground you would recommend? We were thinking Tuolumne Meadows, is there a good first-come, first-served site there you would recommend?
Cass234
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:34 am

Re: Favorite first come, first served sites?

Postby robinella » Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:45 pm

Hi, site #136 in North Pines is about a nice as you can get in the valley (you are VERY lucky to have it). It is right next to a creek and when we've stayed in that site, we have seen lots of deer and even bears. It is close to the stables so you will see the horses go by a couple times a day, but it is pretty spacious and set apart from the other sites. I have stayed in more secluded campgrounds like Bridalveil and Tuolomne and they are great, but from the valley you can access all of the great valley hikes via shuttle or bike (or even walking). If I had that site for a week, I would use it the entire time it was booked for. Many people would love any site in the valley let alone this one :) We'll be staying in that site for a week in July as well and you would have to pry it from my cold dead hands to get it :twisted:
robinella
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:39 pm

Re: Favorite first come, first served sites?

Postby Cass234 » Tue Apr 10, 2012 9:30 am

Thanks for your reply! It's great to hear that 136 is one of the best sites. We weren't sure what sites to pick so I'm glad it's a good one. We are so glad we got a site in the valley. Everything was sold out in a matter of minutes. It's absolutely crazy.

Can you recommend any specific sites in Tuolumne or Bridalveil? We might go check out some of their first come sites if North Pines proves to be too busy and crowded.
Cass234
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:34 am

Re: Favorite first come, first served sites?

Postby robinella » Tue Apr 10, 2012 10:00 am

Both Tuolomne Meadows and Bridalvail Campgrounds aren't scheduled to open to mid-July. They are higher in elevation and much colder than in the valley. Loop A in Tuolomne is the nicest and the other loops are more dense with shrubs and trees and we found plenty of Mosquitos there. They were less in the A loop for us. Bridalvail had a loop that pets weren't allowed and the others they were. There are a fewer nicer more secluded sites. It is is very luck of the draw here. When we arrived only two or three sites were available and the campground was full by 10:00 am. We had better luck with Sunday and Monday arrivals for these locations. People start lining up for FCFS sites at 6:00 am or even earlier so it is not like you get to choose where to camp. It is more like you are lucky just to get a spot.

We like secluded camping too but prefer the valley for camping. We have stayed in Bridalvail five or so times and it is great if there is nothing in the valley. No showers, store, food, etc. drive to valley and hour or more but only 30 mins from Glacier Point. TM great if you get a nice river location. No showers but a small store and burger stand nearby.

For the valley we bring our bikes and the car never leaves the cammpground. You can walk/ride to showers, food, trailheads which helps avoid crowds. This way you don't deal with car traffic or congestion. If you go outside of the valley try to leave before noon and come back later in the day to avoid the rush coming into the valley.

Any other questions, please ask!!
robinella
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:39 pm

Re: Favorite first come, first served sites?

Postby Cass234 » Tue Apr 10, 2012 12:19 pm

Thanks so much for your response! You are so helpful! It sounds like perhaps it would be best to stay at 136 the entire trip.

We are planning to bring our bikes, so I'm excited to go biking around the Valley! Can't wait for this trip.

We also love to hike. Are there any specific hikes you remember as being particularly nice? What are some of your favorite must-see attractions within the park? Is Tuolumne Meadows a good place to see wildlife?

Since we will be camping in the valley with so many other people, we were a little concerned about maybe not having the quiet or maybe not seeing much wildlife other than squirrels and crows. Do you think we'll see much wildlife in the campground?

Thanks so much for all your help!!!
Cass234
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:34 am

Re: Favorite first come, first served sites?

Postby robinella » Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:30 pm

From my experience in the Valley it appears very crowded during the day but it is quiet enough at night. The site you have is only next to one other site and the trail and creek on the other. Yes the Valley campgrounds are crowded but so are TM and Bridalveil. Yosemite creek is probably the least.

In August bears tend to be more active in my experience. There are apple orchards near the campground and they come for that. We saw 10 bears one week in August right from #136. Last July we only saw one. We have seen birds, squirrels, deer, racoons, and ducks all in the campground. Birds include jays, owls, hawks, and yes crows too. We were awakened to the sounds of bears in North Pines before as well. Plenty of wildlife.

Hikes really depend on your ability. The Vernal Fall footbridge goes on to Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall and is a great yet challenging hike. You can walk/bike/shuttle to the trailhead from the campground. Upper Yosemite Falls is nice and challenging but you can only do half if that is what you are able to do. Four mile trail is great but very strenuous. The last two require riding your bike to the trailhead or taking a shuttle. The nps.gov/yose site has a map with all the valley trails, levels, distances. Easier hikes would be lower Yosemite falls, Mirror Lake, valley loop. Always something to see, even just walking around the campgrounds and stables.

Hope this helps! I am not usually a poster but 136 caught my attention so I had to help you out. Happy to answer any more questions if you have them.
robinella
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:39 pm

Re: Favorite first come, first served sites?

Postby robinella » Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:48 pm

Oh and Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite FAlls, Tunnel View (coming in from the east), Vernal Falls footbridge, all must sees in the Valley. Glacier Point is a must either by hiking the 4 mile trail or car. Tuolomne Meadows is beautiful and spacious (the area not the campground). We saw bears, deer, etc in the campground as wells as coyotes. It is a great day trip to do Lembert Dome/Dog Lake trail and soda springs in the meadow itself. Unless you are doing some major day hikes (10 plus miles) I would just visit for the day. There are a couple of neat turn off and views on the road between the valley and TM.

Sorry for the mistakes/grammar. Typing on a phone is annoyingly difficult :)
robinella
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:39 pm

Re: Favorite first come, first served sites?

Postby Cass234 » Tue Apr 10, 2012 4:37 pm

Ok, thank you for all of that! Helps a lot! If I have any more questions I will be sure to PM you!
Cass234
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:34 am


Return to Yosemite Campgrounds

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

cron