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Yosemite National Park

Yosemite is one of the most beautiful places in California, which is why it's the most visited destination. Accessible from the west or the east side of the Sierra Nevada, the mountain terrain is extreme, any way you look at it. Higher elevations close for snow, but lower elevation Yosemite Valley is open all year long!

Yosemite Parks. Yosemite Forest. Yosemite River. Yosemite Redwoods. By far the most popular National Park in California! If you are planning an overnight stay in the main valley, make sure to make your reservations 6 -12 months in advance. No joke.

Yosemite Park Reservations

National Park Reservations Yosemite Reservations Yosemite

Yes! Yosemite

offers summer bus service from Mammoth with stops in June Lake and Lee Vining to Yosemite Valley
nearby towns:
west side of Yosemite - east side of Yosemite -
Backpacking Yosemite

yosemite maps hike half dome backpacking yosemite yosemite hikes

to the east

to the south

to the north

Camp NEAR YOSEMITE: Bordered by these 3 excellent National Forest. (the terrain beauty doesn't stop at the park boundary). Yosemite Camping doesn't have to be crowded if you have the proper resources!

Off-season Yosemite: less crowded and easier to get reservations

Eastern side of Yosemite National Park is bordered by high mountain peaks of granite & less crowded camping options in neighboring Inyo National Forest.

Winter wonderland! Visit Yosmite by Amtrak in the snowy months & get a real visual treat.

Tunnel Tree Yosemite

Atop Yosemite Falls

Helpful Yosemite Phone Numbers:
Yosemite Association
El Portal
Curry Village
Cabins @ Curry Co. Reservations
Yosemite HSC: High Sierra Camps
Tuolumne Meadows
Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System

Yosemite Backpacking

Pretty much the only way you can camp away from the crowds in the valley is to strap on a backpack & head for the backcountry.

  • permits are required for overnight backcountry camping
  • check with the correct ranger district for all back country camping restrictions

Parking for trail heads are at:

  • Camp Curry - located in the Valley for hiking up to Half Dome areas
  • Tulomne Mdws. - High-country, Hwy.120, 46 mi. from the Valley floor

Yosemite Park Campground

All the campgrounds are large & reservations are common. The valley fills up fast, where the backcountry (Hwy.120) campgrounds are further out of the way & less visted. This our only recommendation, the smallest of the campground in the Park:

campground  elev.

 veg toilet water link  
Camp 4 - Sunnyside 4000' ? 32 pines flush piped NPS Valley, walk-in, climbers
Porcupine 8100' 52 pines pit no NPS June-Sept
Tamarack Flat 6300' 52 pines vault no NPS June-Sept, primitive
Yosemite Creek 7659' 75 pines pit creek NPS June-Sept, on creek


CAMPING NEAR YOSEMITE, camping suggestions:

Camp in surrounding areas around the National Park, sometimes for free

to the east

to the south

to the north

Yosemite Hiking

Destination: Half Dome? Valley floor to Half Dome is 17 mi. RT and a 4000' elevation gain, straight up.
You can do this hike in one day if --

  • long summer day, bring flashlights otherwise
  • start hike at daybreak, before sunrise
  • will take approx. 10-12 hrs.
  • don't mind crowds hiking with you
  • you are in really good shape
  • stair climbing doesn't phase you
  • spend 1 hour or less atop the dome
  • bring daypack with food & liquids

Destination: Yosemite Falls
Valley floor to Yosemite Falls is a butt kicker, but fun hike with amazing views. The elevation gain is steep but your reward is great. This is an awesome warm up hike for a Half Dome hike preparation. You can also get to Yosemite Falls from Yosemite Creek campground off of Hwy. 120. Trail is along the creek, for a much more mellow route.

Destination: Tioga Pass & Tuloumne Meadows
Much better area for seclusion and enjoying nature. Plenty of day hikes & areas to picnic, relax & explore. Get outta the Valley & experience the rest of Yosemite. Higher elevations w/ massive snow fall, so winter road closure is to be expected. Hwy 120 is a well traveled mountain road (2 lane highway) with gorgeous granite scenery and plenty spots to pull off an enjoy park without crowds.

Yosemite Lakes

Teneja Lake, west of Tioga Pass, along Highway 120


Yosemite Rock Climbing

BIG WALL Rock climbing paradise. Over 3500 established climbs with a range of all difficulties. Granite cliffs surround the Valley & many take to the challenging walls. Tioga Pass area has less people and better beginning climbs.

  • El Capitan
  • Half Dome
  • Lembert Dome
  • Great Circle
  • Wheat Thin
  • Reed's Direct
  • Bishops Balcony
  • Killer Pillar

Rockclimbing classes are available from Yosemite Mountaineering School: 209-372-8344

Yosemite Valley
September - May
Tuloumne Meadows
June - August

Basic rules & regulations:

  • Motorized drilling prohibited
  • Do not climb within 50 feet of Native American rock art
  • Do not begin or end a climb in an occupied campsite without occupant permission
  • Slings & bolt hangers not visible to general public (most gear should match rock color)

Yosemite Topo Maps

Yosemite Waterfalls

National Park
Official Site

Morning Hiker on Mist Trail
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