People come from all over the nation (Canada too!) to camp at Yosemite National Park in California. In the good ole days, you could jump into your SUV and head to Yosemite for a spontaneous camping trip in the mountains. However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, reservations are now required in order to camp in Yosemite National Park. Sadly, these reservations are first-come first-serve and completely booked until further notice. Here are a few ways to get around that rule and ensure a fabulous weekend in the great outdoors!
HINT: To skip the hassle, click here to view campground availability at Bass Lake RV Park and Resort, located 12 miles outside of Yosemite National Park.
Yosemite Camping Without a Reservation (October through March)
If you’re absolutely determined to camp within Yosemite National Park without a reservation, you may need to camp during the off-season. Here are the campgrounds that offer admission on a first-come first-serve basis from October to March:
Camp 4: This campsite operates on a first-come first-serve basis from mid-September through mid-May. The campsite fills up early during the spring and fall, so wintertime may allow for a better chance at securing a spot. The fee to stay at Camp 4 is only $6 per night, and payments must be made by cash or check. A ranger will arrive at the campground at 8:30 am, but lines start before then! There are groceries and showers nearby, and pets are not permitted. For more rules and information visit https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/camp4.htm
Wawona: Loops A, B, and C of this campground operate on a first-come first-serve basis from October through March. The price to stay is usually $26 per night but drops to $18 per night from October to April. There is a small grocery store in Wawona and showers in Yosemite Valley. Pets are permitted on a leash, and wood and charcoal fires are also permitted. All campsites are in close range of a bathroom and drinking water. For more information, visit https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wawonacamp.htm.
Hodgdon Meadow: Similar to Wawona campground, this campground is also first-come first-serve from mid-October through mid-April and the price to stay is $18 per night. The closest groceries and showers are in Yosemite Valley. Pets and wood or charcoal fires are permitted. There are some bears close to this campground and therefore, Hodgdon Meadow enforces proper food storage. To learn more about protecting the bears and following proper food storage rules, or for other campsite information, visit https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/hodgdoncamp.htm.
Yosemite Camping Without a Reservation (April through June)
April through June are known as some of the best months to visit Yosemite. With that being said, it’s highly unlikely that you will be able to find a last-minute campsite at Yosemite National Park during peak season. Click here to check for availability at Bass Lake at Yosemite RV Park and Resort, located 12 minutes outside of Yosemite National Park.
Yosemite Camping Admission Without a Reservation (July through October)
Here is a list of campgrounds that allow booking outside of reservations during the months of July through October:
Tamarack Flat: The Tamarack Flat campground is first-come first serve from June to September. The admission fee is $12 a night. Pets and wood or charcoal fires are permitted (unless there is a burn-ban in place). https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/tamarack.htm
Porcupine Flat: This campground also operates on a first-come first-serve basis from July to October. The admission fee is also $12 per night. As usual, pets and wood or charcoal fires are permitted. https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/porcupinecamp.htm
Tuolumne Meadows: Loops A-G of the Tuolumne Meadows are open from July through late September on a first-come first-serve basis for a fee of $26 per night. Pets and wood fires are permitted, and groceries are located nearby. https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/nature/tuolumne.htm
While these are the campgrounds that allow for booking outside of reservations, all other campgrounds in Yosemite National park can still be accessed through a reservation. There may be changes and updates to Yosemite National Park’s rules and regulations due to COVID-19. To stay updated on all alerts such as park closures, road closures, and new rules, visit https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/nrcamping.htm. For information on California stay at home orders, visit https://covid19.ca.gov/stay-home-except-for-essential-needs/