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First time camping in Yosemite

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

Moderators: Wickett, dan

First time camping in Yosemite

Postby treebeads12 » Sat Apr 08, 2017 6:42 am

Hi! I'm traveling with a friend to California at the end of May/beginning of June, and we'd love to visit Yosemite. But we checked all the campsites in the park (and the area generally) and they're already full. We're thinking of trying to get a backcountry permit and going that route but neither of us have done it before. Is it alright for two people without experience to give it a go and go backcountry camping in Yosemite? And if so, what do we need to know/bring/do to prepare? In the alternative, what do we need to do to find a spot at a first come first serve campsite (assuming they will be open by late May/early June)? And any chance people will cancel reservations and spots will open up? Thank you!
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Re: First time camping in Yosemite

Postby Phil » Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:53 am

If you have to ask what goes into backcountry camping, it's not something you should even be considering that time of year. Even a little way out, given all the snow this year and conditions that go along with it, and that will still be prevalent during your trip, it can get uncomfortable, dangerous, and even life-threatening, very quickly.

You're also going to be relegated to Yosemite Valley. All other campgrounds in the park that handle sites on a first-come, first-served basis will still be closed well into July, if not later this year. The only walk-in campground will be Camp 4 in the Valley. The various Pines campgrounds all require reservations, although there is a line for a few cancelled sites that open up each morning that's guaranteed to be long, just as it always is. Don't count on it being you that gets one of the few coveted sites. The competition will be fierce and openings minimal. Strange things happen, and there's always luck, but neither are good strategies for planning a trip and hoping you end up with a place to stay the night. If you're unable to find available campgrounds elsewhere, your best bet is to look for lodges and hotels outside the park (mid-week rates are far cheaper) and see the Valley as a series of day trips.
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