Discover 5 Incredible Yosemite Camping Spots Without Reservations

Yosemite National Park is a breathtaking natural wonder that attracts millions of visitors each year. While the park offers a variety of camping options, securing a reservation can be a challenge, especially during peak seasons. However, there are still ways to experience the beauty of Yosemite without a reservation. In this blog post, we’ll explore the different options available for Yosemite National Park camping without reservations.

First-come, First-served Campgrounds

Yosemite National Park has three first-come, first-served campgrounds that are available during the late fall, winter, and early spring seasons. These campgrounds are:

  1. Upper Pines Campground: Located in Yosemite Valley, this campground offers 238 sites and is open year-round, with the exception of a few weeks in the spring when it undergoes maintenance.

  2. Lower Pines Campground: Also located in Yosemite Valley, this campground has 60 sites and is open from late spring to early fall.

  3. North Pines Campground: With 81 sites, this campground is situated in Yosemite Valley and is open from late spring to early fall.

These first-come, first-served campgrounds can fill up quickly, especially on weekends and during holiday periods. It’s essential to arrive early in the day to secure a spot.


Yosemite National Park Camping Without Reservations

Another option for Yosemite National Park camping without reservations is to keep an eye out for cancellations. People frequently cancel their reservations, so it’s worth regularly checking the website for any available spots. This can be a great way to snag a campsite, but it requires persistence and flexibility.

Campgrounds Outside Yosemite

If you’re unable to find a spot within Yosemite National Park, there are several campgrounds located within an hour’s drive of the park’s entrances. These campgrounds are operated by state parks or private individuals and can be a good alternative for your camping needs. Some popular options include:

  • Stanislaus National Forest Campgrounds: Located just outside the park’s western entrance, these campgrounds offer a variety of sites and amenities.
  • Mammoth Lakes Campgrounds: Situated near the park’s eastern entrance, these campgrounds provide access to the stunning Mammoth Lakes region.
  • Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Campgrounds: While not directly in Yosemite, these neighboring parks offer additional camping options within a reasonable distance.

Dispersed Camping

For experienced and well-prepared campers, dispersed camping (camping outside of developed campgrounds) is allowed in certain areas of Yosemite National Park. This option requires a good understanding of the park’s backcountry regulations and a commitment to Leave No Trace principles. It’s important to note that dispersed camping is not permitted in some areas of the park, so it’s crucial to research the regulations and obtain the necessary permits before embarking on this type of camping adventure.

Reservation Requirements

It’s important to note that a reservation is required to drive into or through Yosemite National Park on some days from April 13 through October 27, 2024, for those driving into the park between 5 am and 4 pm. This reservation system is designed to manage the high volume of visitors and ensure a more enjoyable experience for all. If you plan to visit Yosemite during this time, be sure to secure your reservation in advance to avoid any issues.

Yosemite National Park is a true gem of the National Park System, and with a little creativity and flexibility, you can still enjoy the park’s stunning landscapes and outdoor adventures without a reservation. By exploring the options outlined in this blog post, you can make the most of your Yosemite experience and create lasting memories.


Leave a Comment