Best Camping Near Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Camping

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.

Map of all Yosemite National Park Camping

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.

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Recent Yosemite National Park Campground Reviews

Yosemite Village, CA

Lower Pines Campground

Sep 04, 2023

"Like Lower Pines Beat"

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Of the three main campsites I like lower pines the best- seems to have the most space, can take the boardwalk to curry village.

6 reviews
Yosemite Village, CA

North Pines Campground

Sep 04, 2023

"A Bit Wet This Weekend But Good"

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Got a site beside the river. What you need to know: no hookups but free dump station at upper pines. Limited generator hours. 2bars 5g on T-Mobile.

6 reviews
Yosemite National Park, CA

Tamarack Flat Campground

Aug 23, 2023

"Quiet Secluded Camping "

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First I want to say we did the switch back road in with a 5 x 8 ft squaredrop style trailer and our SUV just fine. There was another smaller teardrop trailer there as well. I booked the site as a pop up camper and that seemed to be acceptable. Please note not all sites are big enough so be sure to look at the notes when you book. Did not find...
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47 reviews
El Portal, CA

Indian Flat RV Park

Jul 07, 2023

"Tiny sites, very dusty, but closest hookups to park"

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Adjust your expectations - The major advantage to this park is being the closest place to camp outside of the Arch Rock entrance to Yosemite if you need hookups. It’s about a 30 minute drive to get inside the park and to the valley, assuming no traffic. If your objective is a place to sleep and then spend all day in the park, this will work for...
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16 reviews
Yosemite Village, CA

Upper Pines Campground

Jun 14, 2023

"Crowded, unkept, perfect location for seeing Yosemite"

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Yosemite has fallen behind the other National Parks in the upkeep of their campgrounds. The sites are crammed together with no privacy between sites. The parking pads range from asphalt to pot-holed, uneven dirt sites. I did not use the bathrooms, but they did have water bottle filling sites and recycle bins. The location is perfect because you...
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1 review