By Alex Murphy
Yosemite National Park is known for its sweeping views, thick forest with giant waterfalls, and massive rock walls.
One of the first official National Parks and made famous by the writings of John Muir, the Yosemite Valley in California has been attracting visitors for more than 100 years, and for a good reason.
However, with its popularity, finding campgrounds and other spots to stay can be tricky for visitors. In many spots, reservations are required, and in the summer months, shuttles are often needed to get visitors around the park. That's why planning ahead is key for anyone looking to visit.
Here's a look at some of the most popular campsites anyone traveling to Yosemite National Park can check out.
Yosemite National Park Camping
There are several campgrounds to choose from within the park, but reservations are recommended, so visitors should plan ahead.
On Campendium, the Upper Pines Campground is the most popular destination in the park. Both Upper Pines Campground and North Pines Campground are popular for tent camping and RV camping. Although neither provides hookups, there are basic amenities like a picnic table and fire ring at each site.
Another campground in the park that is popular is Lower Pines Campground. This campground is known for its views of Half Dome; the massive rock wall made even more famous when Alex Honnold climbed it without a rope in the movie Free Solo.
Camping Near Yosemite
There are plenty of campgrounds and camping options outside the park that have quick access to Yosemite Valley.
This includes sites in National Forest like Sweetwater Campground in Stanislaus National Forest and Dry Gulch Campground in Sierra National Forest. Both areas have great views and are good alternatives to Yosemite camping.
There are other unique options near Yosemite National Park like Willow Placer Campground, a BLM campground located on a river, or Mariposa Fairgrounds, a county park with campsites an hour from the park. This location has water and electricity available for RV campers, making it a popular stop, so it's a good idea to get a reservation.
Yosemite RV Parks
The beauty of Yosemite National Park spills over to plenty of campgrounds nearby with flowing rivers and thick forests.
Visitors can find some of the most popular campsites at RV parks like Yosemite Ridge RV Resort and Indian Flat RV Park. Both have full amenities at each campsite, plus public showers and other options.
Yosemite Lakes Thousand Trails just outside the park is another option for RV campsites. Finding an available campsite can be difficult, so you'll make to make a reservation well in advance.
Free Camping Near Yosemite
If free tent camping in Yosemite is your goal, you'll need a wilderness permit to make that happen. However, if you're in an RV, there are some great camping options in the surrounding National Forests. It's important to note that some of these areas have closed due to wildfires and other issues so it's good to check with the National Forest Service for updates on where and when you can camp.