The majestic Yosemite National Park is located along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in central California. This mind-boggling 1,200 square mile park is larger than 29 countries by land area!
This awe-inspiring wilderness is renowned for its world-class rock climbing along imposing granite cliff faces, high-elevation waterfalls, giant sequoia groves, and views of meadows dotted with flourishing flowers and snow-capped mountaintops in the background.
This illustrious national park is an outdoor enthusiast’s wet dream!
To properly explore this park you have to spend at least two weeks and visit all the iconic attractions, such as Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, John Muir Trail, Tuolumne Meadows, El Capitan, Lembert Dome, Valley View, Cathedral Peak, Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia’s, and Glacier Point.
There are nearly 1,500 camp spaces available throughout the park to facilitate a complete adventure of the most famous locations.
Here’s our comprehensive list of the best Yosemite campgrounds.
Pines Campground (Lower, Upper, North)
This is without a doubt the best campground in the park. Each branch of the Pines campground is considered a top ten campground in the park, so it’s an easy choice to have them bundled together at number one.
This campground is in the heart of the Yosemite Valley near Half Dome. There are 379 campsites between the three branches of this campground with 238 of those sites in the Upper Pines branch. The facilities at these campgrounds accommodate RVs, trailers, and of course tent camping.
Each site has a fire ring, food locker, picnic table and is located near bathrooms with flushing toilets and clean drinking water.
The absolute best thing to do near this camp group is to try your hand at climbing half dome, or hiking the beautiful trails of Yosemite Valley.
Tuolumne Meadows Campground
Tuolumne Meadows, located at 8,600 feet, is known as the entrance to the Yosemite’s High Sierras. This is often a starting point for adventures ranging throughout the park.
This massive campground has 304 sites that accommodate tents, RVs, and has potable water to drink. There are public toilets here, but not showers or trashcans, so prepare to pack out your garbage.
There are endless hiking opportunities from this campground. Nearby you have access to the John Muir Trail, Lembert Dome, Cathedral Lakes, and the beautiful Tuolumne river.
I strongly recommend that you at least hike a few miles of the John Muir Trail, as it is known as the most beautiful hiking along the entire Pacific Crest Trail.
White Wolf Campground
The White Wolf Campground is located off Tioga road, about an hour drive north of the Yosemite Valley, and a half hour west of Tuolumne Meadows.
This campground has 72 sites on a first-come first-serve basis, between July and September. This campground accommodates tents, and RVs less than 27 feet in length. There is running water and toilets, but no shower or trashcans, so again, plan to pack out your garbage.
There are plenty of hiking opportunities nearby that will take you to some of the most pristine lakes in the park, such as: Lukens (4.6 miles), Harden (5.8 miles), May (2.4 miles), and Ten Lakes (12.6 miles).
If you are a rock climber, then there is no campground more famous than the illustrious camp 4.
This location has operated as a base camp for rock climbers dating back to Royal Robbins, Warren Harding, and Jim Bridwell. These Yosemite legends challenged the conventions of rock climbing and thrust the sport into the spotlight.
This famous campground has 35 sites and includes toilets, showers, and potable water. This is a hike-in campground, so you must leave your car in a parking area close to the grounds. It’s in the heart of Yosemite Valley near Half Dome.
Smackdab in the middle of this campground is a giant boulder that it a blast to climb.
For those of you who can handle the adventure, you can test Half Dome, or take the leisurely approach and meander through the beautiful fields of the Yosemite Valley.
Watch this video to see some of the climbs you can make from Camp 4.
Tamarack Flat Campground
Tamarack Flat Campground is located near the Arch Rock entrance to the park. It is roughly a half hour drive west of the Yosemite Valley. This campground is along the Tioga Road where hiking is abundant.
This campground has 52 first-come, first-served sites and does not accommodate RVs. There are vaulted toilets and no running water. There is a stream nearby where you can find water, but it must be treated before it’s consumed.
The best thing to do near this campground is to enjoy the beauty of nature as you lay in your hammock along the stream listening to the gentle trickle that washes away your worries!