1. Book early
Most reservable campsites in Yosemite are open for reservations on the 15th of the month, 5 months before your trip, and 7:00 AM (local time).
This means that if you want to camp in June, you’ll book on January 15th.
Camping in the park is popular, so book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
Read More : The Best Campgrounds at Yosemite National Park
2. Check the weather
For campgrounds that are open in the winter, severe weather can cause unexpected closures.
The park is likely to close campgrounds if the forecast calls for more than 1’ of snow in 24 hours or winds greater than 30mph.
3. Be bear aware
Yosemite is known for its habituated black bear population. At nearly every campsite in the park, there are bear-proof food lockers that you must use to store your food.
Storing food in vehicles is prohibited and can get you in serious trouble.
4. Arrive on time for your reservation
The park is strict about campsite reservations, so if you arrive more than 24 hours after your check-in time, you may lose your campsite. Therefore, arrive on time, every time.
5. Bring photo ID
For most reservations in Yosemite, you’ll be required to show photo ID at check-in.
The name on your ID must match the name on the reservation or you’ll forfeit your campsite and won’t be refunded your fees.
6. Know the campfire rules
Many campgrounds in Yosemite Valley have special rules about when you can have a campfire during the summer months.
Most require that campfires be completely extinguished before 10pm.
7. Arrive early for first-come, first-serve
There are plenty of non-reservable campsites in the park, but you need to arrive early to grab a spot. To play it safe, arrive by at least 9:00 AM during the peak summer season to avoid disappointment.
Read More : Best Free Camping Sites in California
8. Get permits for backpacking trips
If you’re looking to go a bit further afield, there are plenty of great backpacking campsites in the park.
All backcountry stays require a wilderness permit which is available by lottery 24 weeks (168 days) before the date of your trip.
9. Don’t count on cell service
Cell phone service is notoriously fickle in Yosemite, especially in Yosemite Valley. If you need to communicate with others in your group, walkie-talkies are often your best bet.
10. Get $5 showers in Curry Village
The only place you can get a shower in the park is at Curry Village or the nearby Housekeeping Camp.
These showers are relatively affordable and are a great way to rinse off after a day of hiking
11. Horse campsites are by phone reservation only
If you need to book a horse campsite at Bridalveil Creek or Tuolumne Meadows, you’ll need to call the park directly at (290) 375-9535 to make a reservation.
Gaby is a professional mountain guide with a master’s degree in outdoor education. She works primarily in the polar regions as an expedition guide, though she can be found hiking, climbing, skiing, sailing, or paddling in some of the world’s most amazing places when not at work.