Yosemite National Park
We spent a heavenly week camping in the heart of Yosemite Valley, right at the end of September/beginning of October! We were fortunate to have had fairly good weather at the time and enjoyed our stay there tremendously. Our days were filled with walks into Half Dome Village, Yosemite Village, to the falls, and just general exploring of the park.
Valley Floor Tour
On the second to last day at Yosemite, we took the Valley Floor Tour which is a guided 2 hour shuttle tour. During the summer months, it’s an open-air tram tour, but on the morning of our tour, there was a chance of rain so we were in a bus instead. 2 hours was just the right amount of time for us to stop at various sites and learn the history of Yosemite.
We also took an hour drive up to Glacier Point to have a picnic lunch and take in the views of the valley floor below. It was well worth the drive!
Dry Camping at North Pines Campground
Yosemite National Park opens up reservations to their campgrounds every four months on the 15th and so back in April, Bach and I sat ready at our computers and started clicking furiously for time slots and barely managed to get a week in North Pines Campground! There are only a few spots that can accommodate a 30’ trailer so we were very fortunate to have snagged a spot.
If you’ve never camped in Yosemite, I’d highly recommend it! There’s so much to do in this beautiful park, and to be able to stay there and walk out to its natural beauty every morning is an experience of a lifetime. The campgrounds get booked out within just several minutes of opening up for reservations so you’ll need to sit ready at your computer and start clicking as soon as it’s time. There’s a schedule of when reservations open up on their website.
All the campgrounds are dry camping only (no hookups), but there are buildings with flush toilets and potable water as well as vault toilets available.
For showers, you have to make a trek into either Half Dome Village or Housekeeping Camp. At the end of our stay, we drove over to Upper Pines Campground to dump our tanks.
Site 323 is one of the few RV spots in North Pines Campground that’s long enough to accommodate our 30’ trailer. It took some maneuvering and was a bit of a tight squeeze to back Le Twinkie in, but we managed without incident!
The sites have picnic tables, fire pits with grills and bear boxes. Upon checking in, you’re warned of 🐻 black bears in the area that will roam the campgrounds in search of food, so please be very diligent about storing food and anything with a scent in the bear box especially if you’re tent camping. Even things from your car need to be stored in the bear box if it has a scent to it. Lotions, car air fresheners, gum, etc. included! On one of the last days of our trip, there was a bear that had come into the campground, attracted to the smell of food that had been left out by some campers and had to be scared out of a tree it had climbed up.
Keeping food stored away properly isn’t just for the safety of humans, but also for the bears. There’s a 3 strike policy for bears who have invaded campsites and eaten human food. Each time they come in, they build a taste for human food and will get more and more aggressive to get at it. After 3 times, rangers have to put the bear down… 😢
There are also a lot of pine trees in the campground which drip sap. After the first day, our truck and trailer were covered with sap drippings! 😫 Thankfully it washed away fairly cleanly with the rain… But it was a good thing we had left the dogs in San Diego! Having sap get stuck in their hair would’ve been a nightmare… Phew!
Camping in Yosemite was perfection. This very well might become and annual thing!