The Best Campgrounds In Yosemite National Park

In this guide, we explore the best campgrounds in Yosemite, from Lower Pines to Tuolumne Meadows and more; let's take a look at what each of these campsites offers for an unforgettable camping experience in Yosemite.
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Yosemite photo by ari Nandakumar

Are you planning to go camping in Yosemite National Park but don’t know where the best campgrounds are? In this guide, we’ll explore different spots for camping in this iconic location, from Lower Pines to Tuolumne Meadows and more; we’ll look at some of the best campsites in Yosemite, so you can choose your dream destination for your next trip.

Key Takeaways

  • Yosemite National Park has all sorts of different campsites available, including family sites, group sites, places for cabins, tents, RVs, trailers and even campers with horses.
  • Making camping reservations for Yosemite ahead of time is essential since some campgrounds have reservation windows that fill up fast.
  • It’s best to make reservations 3 – 6 months in advance, which can be done online at
  • Each campground provides different amenities and facilities, like drinking water, toilets and warm showers, depending on your preferences.
  • If you want to do nighttime hiking, you need a special permit.

Best Campgrounds in Yosemite National Park

Several top-rated campgrounds can be found throughout Yosemite National Park, including Upper Pines CampgroundLower Pines Campground, North Pines CampgroundCrane Flat Campground and Tuolumne Meadows Campground.

Upper Pines Campground

👉 Upper Pines Campground is located in Yosemite Valley, at an elevation of 4,000 feet (1,200 meters). Visitors can enjoy incredible panoramic views, with easy access to a variety of hikes and attractions.

  • 238 campsites
  • RV and trailers allowed
  • Daily camping fee of $36
  • Hiking, rafting, and biking
  • Nearby attractions include Glacier Point and Tioga Road
  • 10 ADA accessible sites
  • Open all 12 months

With its picturesque setting and convenient amenities, such as water, flush toilets, fire pits and picnic tables, Upper Pines Campground provides some of the creature comforts that make life outdoors easier.

Upper Pines reservations become available to the public five months in advance on the 15th of each month. Make sure to snap up your booking early, this campground fills up fast!

Lower Pines Best Campgrounds Yosemite

Yosemite photo by Jordi Vich Navarro

Lower Pines Campground

👉 Lower Pines Campground lays along the Merced River, also about 4,000 feet (1,200 meters) above sea level, and surrounded by a mix of pine and deciduous trees. The camp has picnic tables, fire rings and food storage lockers. Moreover, it is conveniently located near Curry Village within easy access to popular activities in the park.

  • 60 campsites
  • RV and trailers allowed
  • Daily camping fee of $36
  • Hiking with views of Half Dome and El Capitan
  • Nearby amphitheater usually offers nighttime ranger presentations
  • 5 ADA accessible sites
  • Open April through October

Reservations to Lower Pines are also released five months in advance on the 15th of each month. This is one of the smaller camps, so early booking is mandatory if you want to experience the Lower Pines.

North Pines Best Campgrounds in Yosemite

Yosemite photo by Julia Solovey

North Pines Campground

👉 Located in the rolling hills of Yosemite Valley, North Pines Campground offers campers a beautiful setting surrounded by towering pines, granite cliff walls, beside an incredible rushing river.

  • 81 campsites
  • RV and trailers allowed
  • Daily camping fee of $36
  • 5 accessible sites
  • Open April through October

It is one of three reservation only campgrounds located within the Park, and a favorite amongst those looking for an authentic Yosemite camping experience. Every campsite comes complete with modern amenities such as picnic tables, fire rings for evening gatherings around the flames, and food storage lockers to store away your bear vittles.

The campground also provides community restrooms, as well as running water throughout the grounds; just don’t forget your reusable cups! With its breathtaking views and majestic atmosphere it isn’t hard to see why North Pines Campground is considered one of the best places to pitch a tent up at in Yosemite National Park.

North Pines booking become available five months in advance, on the 15th. There’s a limited number of sites at this location, so book as early as possible.

Crane Flat Campground Yosemite

photo by KC Welch

Crane Flat Campground

👉 Located in northwestern Yosemite National Park, Crane Flat Campground is a tranquil site set at an elevation of 6,200 feet (1,900 meters). Its picturesque setting and secluded location make it ideal for campers looking for a peaceful experience.

  • 151 campsites
  • RV and trailers allowed
  • Daily camping fee of $36
  • Hiking among
  • Cooler climate than Yosemite Valley
  • 8 ADA accessible sites
  • Open all August through October

Crane offers easy access to attractions and trails within the park as well as 30 minutes from Yosemite Valley and 5 minutes from Tioga Road. Visitors can enjoy plenty of amenities such as restrooms, cell phone reception, picnic tables, fire pits, running water taps, bear boxes with locks nearby each campsite.

Crane Flat is a walk-in campground that is recommended for groups or hikers who don’t need RV hook-ups but still require convenience to the main road within the facility. This popular destination not only offers visitors privacy but its nearness to Yosemites famous landmarks such as the Mariposa Grove with 500+ giant Sequoias will leave guests mesmerized in California’s breathtaking Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Crane Flat campsites can be booked two months ahead on the 15th.

Tuolumne Meadows Campground

👉 Situated in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range of Central California, Tuolumne Meadows Campground is a high-elevation wilderness spot located 8,600 feet (2,600 meters) above sea level. This is one of the highest campgrounds in Yosemite, where campers can experience incredible views of rugged mountain scapes. The area is located about 5 miles from Tioga Pass Entrance station and 2 hours drive from Yosemite Valley.

  • 304 campsites
  • RV and trailers allowed
  • Daily camping fee of $36
  • Cooler temps and very different landscape from Yosemite Valley
  • 7 ADA accessible sites
  • Closed until 2024

Onsite amenities at Tuolumne Meadows Campground include picnic tables, fire rings, food storage lockers, flush toilets and drinking water available for visitors. The campground offers various types of campsites such as family sites, horse sites or group sites to accommodate all kinds of camping needs.

Campground Features and Amenities

At each of the campgrounds in Yosemite National Park, visitors can enjoy amenities such as rest rooms, picnic tables and fire rings.

Facilities and amenities available at each campground

  • Upper Pines Campground: Offers toilets and potable water. Amenities include picnic tables, fire grates, bearproof food lockers and a camp store.
  • Lower Pines Campground: Has hot showers, flush toilets and potable water. Other amenities include picnic tables, fire grates, bearproof food lockers and a camp store.
  • North Pines Campground: Provides toilets with running water, shady sites, firewood for sale and a camp store.
  • Crane Flat Campground: Contains 20 walk-in tent sites with no electricity as well as five group sites that accommodate up to 25 people. There are also three restroom buildings in the area.
  • Tuolumne Meadows Campground: Offers 135 sites on 93 acres with no RV hookups or reservations available. Amenities include bear boxes or bear-resistant food storage containers; wheelchair accessible restrooms; nine paved parking areas; dedicates spaces for car camping; separate day use/picnic area; outdoor amphitheater; piped drinking water fountains; fire pits/grills and trash receptacles, wheelbarrow rentals for carrying supplies and two camp stoves for cooking large meals.

Campsite size and accessibility

Whether visitors are looking to camp in a tent, an RV, or with a group of friends, Yosemite National Park has plenty to offer. All 13 campgrounds within the park provide different campsite sizes ranging from single unit up to twelve-person sites.

  • The Upper Pines Campground and Lower Pines Campground have all sizes available.
  • Crane Flat and White Wolf offer only larger family size campsites.
  • ADAA compliant accessible options are also available in these four locations as well as at Tuolumne Meadows Campground.

For those looking for even more room, some of the best car camping outside the park is available near Wawona at Yosemite Westlake Campground & RV Park or Heenan Lake Resort. Visitors can visit the National Park Service website for detailed descriptions of each sites’ dimension, capacity limitations and specific accessibility features offered by individual campgrounds in Yosemite National Park so that they may choose the perfect fit for their particular needs when making a reservation.

Reservation tips and availability

Making camping reservations for Yosemite National Park ahead of time is the key to ensuring a successful camping trip. You must reserve in advance, or otherwise risk getting turned away because all of the designated campsites have been filled.

It is advised to make camping reservations at least 3 – 6 months in advance, as many of the campgrounds have reservation windows that fill up quickly.

Comparing Yosemite Campgrounds with Other California Campgrounds

This section looks closely at different campgrounds across California, comparing Yosemite’s offerings with those found elsewhere in the state.

Best Campgrounds in Northern California

The Northern California region offers a wealth of natural scenery and splendid camping getaway spots. Some of the most best campgrounds include Lake SonomaBig Basin Redwoods State ParkJedediah Smith Redwoods State ParkLassen National Forest Campgrounds and Humboldt National Forest.

Lake SonomaGeyservilleRestrooms, showers, picnic tables, fire pits, drinking water, boat ramp, hiking trailsFishing, boating, hiking
Big Basin Redwoods State ParkBoulder CreekRestrooms, showers, picnic tables, fire pits, drinking water, general storeRedwoods, hiking, biking, waterfalls
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State ParkCrescent CityRestrooms, showers, picnic tables, fire pits, drinking waterRedwoods, hiking, fishing, swimming
Lassen National Forest CampgroundsSusanvilleRestrooms, picnic tables, fire rings, drinking waterHiking, fishing, swimming
Humboldt Redwoods State ParkWeottRestrooms, showers, picnic tables, fire pits, drinking water, general storeRedwoods, hiking, biking, swimming

Each campground is unique, with wooded forests and trails for hiking, mountain biking or simply sightseeing from the scenic overlooks.

While reservation availability varies depending on the season, each campground provides facilities such as running water and bathrooms to make your camping trip more enjoyable. For tent camping, along with great boating or fishing possibilities in the area, check out Lake Sonoma located close to Healdsburg in Sonoma County, which is home to fish-filled lakes surrounded by mountains and rolling hills.

Best Campgrounds in Southern California

Southern California is home to some of the most amazing campgrounds in the United States. From San Diego to Santa Barbara, beachside campsites offer up breathtaking views and excellent amenities. If you’re looking for a family-friendly destination with plenty of activities and modern facilities, Delaware Seashore State Park is a great option.

It offers waterfront access, boat rentals, two camp stores, easy access to at least four beaches as well as 200 sites for both tent camping and RV camping. Further north in Big Bear Lake lies Serrano Campground—an amazing spot that borders the lake with over 70 spacious tent sites and full hookups available for RVs.

Meanwhile Catalina Island has several shoreline campsites located throughout its many bays which provide breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean along with easy paddle boarding or kayaking opportunities.

Here is a comparison table for the “Best Campgrounds in Southern California” section:

Delaware Seashore State ParkSanta BarbaraWaterfront access, boat rentals, camp stores, 200 sites for both tent camping and RV campingFamily-friendly, beachside campsites
Serrano CampgroundBig Bear LakeSpacious tent sites, full hookups available for RVsBorders the lake
Catalina IslandIsland-wideShoreline campsitesBreathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, paddle boarding, kayaking

Each campground offers its own unique features and amenities, providing different camping experiences for visitors to Southern California.

Choosing the Right Campground in Yosemite

When selecting the right campground in Yosemite, it is important to consider factors such as location and accessibility, facilities and amenities available at each campground, reservation availability, weather conditions, and wildlife safety.

What’s important when choosing your campground?

  • Campground amenities. Amenities vary depending on the campground and can include showers, toilets, tables, fire pits, grills, and more.
  • Campsite size and accessibility. Consider the size of your camping party and make sure to check if each site can accommodate them all comfortably. Additionally, determine whether you need sites with wheelchair access or extra features for disabled visitors.
  • Reservation availability. Reservations are often limited at certain campsites during peak seasons due to their popularity so it’s best to plan in advance to secure a spot at your ideal campground before they’re filled up!
  • Weather conditions. Summer temperatures in Yosemite National Park vary from hot to cold so be sure to do research on the weather of the area you plan to visit when selecting a campground for the perfect experience within your budget constraints beyond just relying on temperature forecasts that date back months earlier than when lodging decisions actually have been made.
  • Wildlife safety: Be mindful of wildlife areas in Yosemite and, if you’re wary of running into forest animals, make sure to select a campground near developed areas as opposed remote primitive locations. Also, make sure that you’re camping in an approved, designated campground — don’t just set up your tent any place you like. Yosemite’s forests are full of bear, deer and other lovely critters, thus visitors need to store food and scented items in proper containers to avoid attracting animals.

Best campgrounds for different scenarios (RVs, groups, winter camping, rock climbers, primitive camping)

Yosemite National Park offers many campgrounds that cater to various types of campers, be it family groups, solo trekkers, RV travelers, or winter camping enthusiasts. Find the perfect spot for your camping experience from the table below based on your preferred scenario:

ScenarioBest CampgroundWhy It’s Best
RV CampingUpper Pines CampgroundOffering RV-friendly campgrounds within Yosemite Valley, with spacious lots and electrical hookups. Its location provides close proximity to Yosemite’s iconic sights.
Group CampingNorth Pines CampgroundWith large group sites available and within easy reach of various attractions in Yosemite, it’s an ideal choice for group camping.
Winter CampingCrane Flat CampgroundStays open year-round, offering stunning winter landscapes. Campers can enjoy snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails nearby.
Rock ClimbingCamp 4Known as the mecca for climbers, Camp 4 is a walk-in campground located close to El Capitan and other popular climbs.
Primitive CampingTuolumne Meadows CampgroundOffers a back-to-nature experience away from the crowds. It’s the largest campground in Yosemite with 304 drive-in campsites and 21 backpacker sites.

Remember to plan ahead and make reservations to secure your spot in these sought-after campgrounds.


Yosemite National Park has an ideal climate for outdoor activities, with mild summers and cold winters. Summers bring temps of up to 87 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, but can cool down overnight into the mid-50s.

Winters may have highs in the 40s, so visitors should plan accordingly for lower temperatures. When selecting a campground in Yosemite, it’s important to pay attention to weather conditions as some campgrounds are only accessible seasonally due to snow and other winter hazards.

Visitors interested in winter camping should prepare carefully by packing warm clothes and appropriate equipment such as four-season tents and sleeping bags suitable for colder temperatures.

Wildlife Safety

Yosemite National Park is home to a variety of wildlife, including protected species that must be respected and cared for in order to maintain the park’s ecosystems.

  • Visitors wanting to camp in Yosemite should take proper precautions when exploring their surroundings and be aware of any specific rules and regulations regarding wildlife encounters.
  • Being familiar with animal behavior, respecting animals from a distance, disposing trash properly, and keeping food sealed/covered while camping are some essential ways of ensuring safety around wildlife.
  • It is also important to know the general park information such as visiting hours and peak season, which will help you plan your trip better and reduce human-wildlife conflict.

Choosing the Right Camping Equipment for Yosemite

When preparing to experience the best campgrounds in Yosemite National Park, make sure that you have the right gear like tents, sleeping bags, and cooking equipment.


Tents are an absolute necessity for camping in Yosemite National Park. There is a variety of tents to choose from, tailored to different types of campers and scenarios. For those camping with small groups or families, larger 4-person or 6-person, 4-season tents provide ample living space along with greater resistance against the inclement weather found in the park year round.

Tent size should be kept in mind when shopping, as some campsites may have restrictions on tent dimensions (Lower and Upper Pines Campground has a maximum length limit of 8 feet).

Sleeping Bags

When it comes to camping in Yosemite National Park, choosing the right non-toxic sleeping bag is essential. From temperature ratings and insulation types to classic mummy shapes and comfort-enhancing features such as armholes, face shields and foot vents, there are numerous factors that must be taken into account when selecting a suitable bag for the occasion.

Renting gear can be an option for those visiting the park; however, bringing your own equipment often serves as a better alternative due to convenience purposes. Tents, sleeping bags, first aid kits and other items are recommended for any backpacking trip or extended stay in Yosemite National Park.

Choosing a proper goods carrier like duffel bags or suitcases with enough capacity is important if intending to transport camping gear along with personal belongings when visiting the area as well.

Sleeping Pads

Having the right sleeping pad is essential for comfort and can make a huge impact in how enjoyable your Yosemite camping experience will be. Different sizes, materials and insulation levels mean that different pads are suited to different types of camping.

Pads made with synthetic or natural fillings such as down provide good insulation from cold ground temperatures but pack down relatively small making them great for backpacking and shorter trips away.

Conversely, air mattresses offer unparalleled support and comfort but they tend to take up more space in a tent which may not always be ideal when camping in Yosemite’s busy campgrounds like Camp 4 or Tuolumne Meadows.

Cooking Gear

Having the right cooking gear is essential for a successful camping experience in Yosemite National Park. From camp table and cook sets to portable stoves, packing the appropriate cooking supplies can make all the difference on your outdoor adventure.

The article mentions six essential pieces of cooking gear that should be considered when planning a trip to Yosemite—the Mountaineer, Camp Table, Mountain Series Cook Set, All Purpose Chef Set, and 4-Person Cook Set.

The Mountaineer is great for car camping as it comes with everything you need for quick and easy meals such as pots, pans spatulas and more. For those taking longer trips into the wilderness or who have larger families or groups to feed will want to look at investing in either the Mountain Series Cook Set or 4-Person Cook set which come with multiple pots and pans perfect for group meals over an open flame along with longer-handled utensils perfect for reaching into larger pots without fear of touching hot surfaces yourself.


Yosemite National Park is home to some of the most beautiful and diverse campgrounds in the United States. From family-friendly options near Yosemite Valley, such as Lower Pines Campground, Upper Pines Campground, North Pines Campground, and Sunnyside Walk-in to more remote and wilderness sites like Wawona or Tuolumne Meadows Campground – there is a perfect campsite for every visitor.

It’s important to research the various campgrounds available in Yosemite so that you can make an informed decision when selecting your camping spot. Fortunately, there’s no need to go it alone – a comprehensive guide covering all the best campgrounds in Yosemite National Park is available online with detailed information on facilities offered by each site as well as tips on reservations and essential gear required for camping trips in this breathtaking park.


1. What are the best campgrounds in Yosemite National Park?

The best campgrounds in Yosemite National Park include Upper Pines Campground, Wawona Campground, and Tuolumne Meadows. These three locations all offer outstanding views of the park’s awe-inspiring landscapes as well as easy access to a variety of activities such as hiking, rock climbing, and biking.

2. Is there showers or restrooms at these campgrounds?

Upper Pines Campground offers both restroom facilities and hot showers operated seasonally from May through September (October for group sites). Wawona Campground comes with flush toilets but no shower while Tuolumne Meadows provides pit toilets only. Other amenities found within each camping ground may include picnic areas, food storage lockers to deter wildlife visits to your campsite & much more!

3. How do I reserve a campsite in Yosemite?

Reservations can be made up to five months prior on beginning at 8am Pacific Standard Time with most sites available on first come – first serve basis throughout summer season (ending November 30th). Sites can typically accommodate 2-6 people depending upon size restrictions set by park authorities & other availability requirements such as obtaining permits if planning an extended stay etc.

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