Yosemite National Park is one of the most popular camping destinations in the US. Famous for its tall pine trees, imposing granite towers, and fast-flowing rivers, this site attracts people from all across the country. If you’re a serious RV-er, you must be aware of all the hype surrounding this place. However, camping in Yosemite National Park is not as easy as grabbing one of those RVs put up for sale by the owner and heading to the site. You need to make proper reservations beforehand since space is limited, and whatever is available gets filled up fast by a jaw-dropping two million visitors, especially during the summers.
Three campgrounds in Yosemite National Park – the North Pines, the Upper Pines, and the Lower Pines – are always in demand, and these are the sites worth booking if you decide to take an RV trip to the place. Their popularity stems from the fact that these three Pines campgrounds are close to several other iconic locations around the park.
You might find it intimidating to reserve a good spot in Yosemite National Park. One wrong move or any delay on your part can result in a loss of opportunity to camp out in your RV there. This is why there are several steps you need to follow if you decide to get a reservation. Read on below to find out what these are.
Choosing Your Campground
The whole reservation process occurs online. So, you should understand that you are not the only person who is trying to book a campsite; every month, there will be others vying to book the campsite at the same time. Everything depends on how fast you act, and how flexible you are regarding the reservation options.
Of course, you should try the Pines campgrounds first. However, you should not despair if you are unable to book a spot here, the chances of which are high on weekends and the busiest months of summer— July and August. There are many other campgrounds you can try in places such as Crane Flat, Tuolumne Meadows, and Wawona.
Reserving Your Campground
Before the Day of Booking
- Fix the Travel Dates: Weekdays are the best time to visit Yosemite campgrounds. There is very little rush, and you will not have to compete with other weekend visitors over booking a campsite. Two to three nights are enough to cover some of the scenic spots in this National Park, but you will need at least a week if you plan on covering all the sites at a leisurely pace. Work out a strategy so that no time is wasted once the reservation window opens.
- Figure out When the Booking Window Opens: You need to determine when the reservation window for the dates you picked opens up. Normally, reservations start on the 15th of every month, and you must book five months before your arrival.
- Seek Help: Get some of your tech-savvy friends or family members to help you out. They might succeed in reserving the perfect camping spot when you failed.
- Create an Account for Reservation: Sign up for an account with the Yosemite website. Enter all the information carefully in the designated fields and make a note of the email address and password you submitted. This will save precious time during the actual booking process later on. Helpers must create separate accounts.
The Morning of Booking
Bookings are accepted 7 AM PST onwards. So, make sure you get up and get ready by 6:45 AM. There are a few steps you should work through before the reservation window opens.
- Navigate to the Reservation Page: Open the reservation page for Yosemite National Park, and sign in. Select the campground you want to reserve, and enter the dates of your arrival and departure. You can choose to be flexible in your dates, or pick specific dates. You can enter your preferred site number; even if you have not picked a particular site, you can complete this step later on. Pick the ‘Electric Hookup’ option and also enter the length of your RV. You need to mention how many people will be there with you. A maximum of six people is allowed in each campsite.
- Choose Your Camping Site: You need to specify the site number from a map of the campground showing all the available spots. Move around the map and view details about different sites. Not all camping sites allow every type of electric equipment. RV-ers should be attentive to the maximum permissible vehicle length. The sites marked “RV non-electric” are meant specifically for motor homes, as the lack of flat ground deters tent campers.
- Verify All the Details: Once you pick a good spot, you will be directed to the Verification page. Double check all the dates, duration of stay, and equipment type before you confirm and move on to the actual reservation page.
- Wait for the Right Moment: Now all you need to do is wait for the clock to strike 7 AM. In the meantime, you should check whether your enlisted help has completed the previous steps. Make sure that they are not attempting to book the same site as you.
- Booking: As soon as the reservation starts, complete the booking process. Once you succeed, you will see your booking details pop up on screen. You have 15 minutes until confirmation, after which your site will again become available to others. Get in touch with your enlisted help. If they were successful, ask them to wait until you complete the entire booking system. After all, you do not wish to book more sites than what you need.
Go through all the details to ensure everything is in order. If everything looks good, it is time to finish your booking.
- Cancel the Other Reservations: If everything went according to plan, ask your enlisted help to release his chosen campsites.
- Success: After you have successfully reserved a camping spot at Yosemite Valley, you will receive an email containing the details of your reservation, which you should print and carry with you when you head out for your trip.
Yosemite National Park is a great location for an outdoor camping experience. There are designated areas for RVs, so you won’t experience any trouble finding a good spot. If you do not have an RV, you are definitely missing out. There are many great RVs for sale by the owners in the marketplace. If you get a good deal, then go for it. You will finally realize how camping outdoors takes on a whole new dimension when you have an RV of your own.