Yosemite Trip

Old Jan 15, 19, 11:04 am
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Yosemite Trip

Hi, we are going to Yosemite in late May for about a week. We are renting a Toyota 4Runner from Pacific Overlander. It has a tent on the roof and a stove and such in the trunk. We arrive in San Francisco on Wednesday morning and would like to have the first night's lodging taken care of. The other nights we will be doing dispersed camping. Would it be advisable to reserve a campsite or would we be ok pulling into a parking lot and setting up camp? This is a relatively new company so I can't find much information on it. We are very excited to be doing this but know there will be a few challenges that come with it. But hey...thats what travel is all about. I look forward to your feedback. Thanks!

If you have any suggestions for hikes or other activities I'd love to hear!

Last edited by jackvogt; Jan 15, 19 at 11:08 am Reason: Add more info
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Old Jan 15, 19, 12:20 pm
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If you are suggesting camping in parking lots in Yosemite National Park, that is illegal.
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Old Jan 15, 19, 2:39 pm
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Originally Posted by abmj-jr View Post
If you are suggesting camping in parking lots in Yosemite National Park, that is illegal.
that was what I was asking. I assumed that was the case but didnt know
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Old Jan 15, 19, 7:32 pm
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By late May you are going to be in the high season at Yosemite Valley. Memorial Day is Monday, May 27 so if your dates overlap that weekend you will face holiday crowds as well. At such times you should expect no campsite availability in the Yosemite Valley unless you've already reserved it well in advance. The spots held for "walk in" arrivals will have long lines of visitors waiting for them starting as early as a few hours before dawn. You might luck into finding a spot but I wouldn't plan a major trip around getting that lucky!

Dispersed camping is definitely a way to go in such a situation. Understand that you must do it outside the park, though. Inside the park, camping is only allowed in designated sites. No camping in parking lots, along the side of the road, or 50' off the road on that neat little dirt pull-out. Go outside the park to one of the national forests, however, and the rules loosen considerably. But there are still rules! For example, you have to maintain certain distances away from paved roads, established day-use sites, rivers and ponds, and other sensitive areas. You will also need a campfire permit if you plan to do anything that involves a fire-- including using small gas cook stove. Here's an example of dispersed camping guidelines in the area: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/s...telprdb5121831. Read these in advance and then plan to visit a National Forest ranger station for permits and up-to-date restrictions when you arrive.
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Old Feb 6, 19, 7:19 pm
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The Stanislaus National Forest has multiple campgrounds along highway 120 on the way up to Yosemite. I believe these are a mix of reservable campgrounds and first come first serve sites. Fees range around $15-20/night. Midweek in May you should be able to get a site. Their location is great because you can get up early and get into the park before the long lines form at the entrance booth.


There are a lot of hikes you can do to various waterfalls and vistas from the valley floor in May, however pretty much anything above 6000-7000' will still have deep snowpack and the road over Tioga Pass will almost certainly not be open by then.
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