Camping, Others, Road Trip

How do you book campsites in Yosemite National Park?

Are you planning to make a trip through Western America in 2019? And chances are that you will visit Yosemite National Park and you want to stay overnight? Then write down the dates below in your diary. From then on you can book camping pitches in Yosemite, because reserving campsites in Yosemite National Park is like getting tickets for a big concert: within minutes everything is forgiven.


 

Make sure you are ready on time, preferably with multiple people on different laptops / computers. Did not work out? Halfway through this blog you will find alternative campsites.

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Important dates 2019 (European time)

15 November from 7:00 am (Pacific Time): bookings before March 15 to April 14*
15 December from 7:00 am (Pacific Time): bookings for April 15 to May 14
15 January from 7:00 am (Pacific Time): bookings for May 15 to June 14
15 February from 7:00 am (Pacific Time): bookings for June 15 to July 14
15 March from 6:00 am (Pacific Time): bookings before July 15 to August 14
In the US, the clock on March 11 is already one hour ahead, so the time difference is temporarily an hour more.
15 April from 7:00 am (Pacific Time): bookings for August 15 to September 14
15 May from 7:00 am (Pacific Time): bookings for September 15 to October 14*

* Not all campsites are open all year round. See the heading ‘Opening hours’ below. Also remember that the east entrance to the Yosemite (via the Tioga Road) is only open from May / June to October / November.

! Europe Time Zones  Check here the time zone from you country for reserving a camping spot at Yosemite Campingground ( most between 15:00 & 16:00 starting)
AustraliaNew Zealand Time Zones Check here the time zone from you country for reserving a camping spot at Yosemite Campingground (between 0:00 am next day & 3:00 am next day)
Asia Time Zones Check here the time zone from you country for reserving a camping spot at Yosemite Campingground
Africa Time Zones  Check here the time zone from you country for reserving a camping spot at Yosemite Campingground
South America Time Zones Check here the time zone from you country for reserving a camping spot at Yosemite Campingground
Russia Time Zones Check here the time zone from you country for reserving a camping spot at Yosemite Campingground

 

Book Yosemite on recreation.gov

You can reserve your camping spot in Yosemite National Park up to five months in advance on www.recreation.gov. On every 15th of a new month the places will be available for arrival dates from 4 to 5 months later. Try to book your campsite on this day at 7:00 am Pacific Time. To register your campsite you have to be logged in and you need a credit card. You can read how to book campsites via recreation.gov in our blog about camping reservations in American National Parks.

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Reserve Upper, Lower or North Pines

It is really a challenge for Yosemite National Park to reserve a spot on one of the campsites in the valley. In this central part of Yosemite National Park are three campsites: Upper Pines, Lower Pines and North Pines. These campsites are incredibly popular and therefore often fully booked. So reservation is necessary. Camping sites are sometimes forgiven within a few minutes.

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Tips for getting a camping spot

  • Create an account in advance on http://www.recreation.gov and see how everything works
  • Write down a few numbers of places that seem nice to you. When booking you keep the list of places next to it. If your favorite spot is already forgiven, you can quickly click another one. Rest assured: you can not choose wrong. All camping pitches are beautiful.
  • Log in beforehand and open the reservation screen several times
  • Try it with different people on different computers, laptops or tablets
  • Enter the requested data as far as possible (arrival date, looking for)

 

Reservations did not work, what to do?

Are you still fishing behind the net despite your good preparation? Take a look at our blog with alternative campsites in Wawona (NPS Campground), El Portal (for example Indian Flats RV Park), Groveland (Yosemite Pines RV Resort) or Crane Flat (Crane Flat Campground). Campsites outside Yosemite have more facilities (think of wifi, swimming pool) and are therefore slightly more expensive. These campsites all use their own reservation procedure. Check the website of the relevant campsites for more information. In this camping database you will find contact details, addresses and camping reviews. Please note that some campsites are outside the park, sometimes up to an hour’s drive from the Valley! Finally, in Yosemite there are a number of campsites where you can get a camping spot on a first-come, first-served basis. Do you want to know exactly how that works? Read on in this blog about campsites ( coming soon )

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Opening dates campsites Yosemite

  • Lower Pines: late March to October
  • Upper Pines: open all year, book from the beginning of February to November
  • North Pines: early April to September
  • Wawona (not in the Valley): open all year, reservations necessary from April to September. Wawona is a good alternative if the Pines campsites are full. The Wawona Campground is close to the Mariposa Grove or Giant Sequoias. Another nature campground in the park is Crane Flat Campground. Other options are the “commercial” campsites outside the National Park, for example Yosemite Lakes RV Resort and Yosemite Ridge Resort.

 

What about other parks?

We recommend to always reserve campsites in national parks, because they are almost fully booked. Campsites in national parks can be booked half a year in advance (Yosemite is an exception). On 1 January, for example, you reserve places for 1 on 2 July. On 2 January the spots will be released for an overnight stay from 2 to 3 July, et cetera. In weekends and during the summer holidays, the campsites get fully booked, but such a speed as Yosemite does not work. Below is a link to an explanation about reserving campsites at the National Parks Service. Private campsites all have their own reservation procedure. Look for information on the website of the campsite. This is how you find the best camping spots you can read here…

 

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