Camping at Yosemite in Your Camper

Camping at Yosemite in Your Camper
Camping in Yosemite lets you to take the time to explore this national park treasure and experience much more than a day trip would allow. Hiking, rock climbing, fishing, rafting, swimming, art classes, guided tours and horseback riding are just a few of the activities Yosemite has to offer. Several campgrounds are located inside the park with sites for trailers and RVs. The Sierra Nevada location and bare minimum campsites of Yosemite means preparing for possible extreme weather, wildlife encounters and your own comfort.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Heater
  • Winter sleeping bags
  • Generator
  • Tire chains
Step 1
Reserve a Yosemite campsite at or since most sites require reservations. Before selecting your campsite, view the individual site details by clicking on the site number on the campground map. Choose a site that will fit your camper. Campgrounds within the park allow campers of various types, although RV sites are more limited. Book your site early as Yosemite campgrounds fill up months in advance. (See Resources.)
Step 2
Prepare for chilly weather. Even in the summer, nighttime temperatures can drop into the 30s and 40s in the Sierra Nevada, and it snows in the winter. If your camper does not have a heater, pack warm sleeping bags and extra blankets.
Step 3
Set up your generator if you have one as the sites do not have electricity. However, run your generator only during the day, as per the park rules.
Step 4
Bear-proof your camper. Do not store any food, toothpaste, medicines, lotions or other items that would smell tasty to a bear inside your camper. Bear-proof storage lockers are provided at each campsite and must be used for these items. If you store any of these items inside your camper, you risk having serious damage done to the camper by a hungry black bear.
Step 5
Prepare your camper as needed for water, toilet and shower use. There are no water hookups or showers at Yosemite campsites. Depending on the campsite, you may also not have flushing toilets (vault toilets only) within the campground. Dump stations are also not available at all campgrounds, so collect your trash for later disposal.
Step 6
Carry tire chains in the winter. During winter snowstorms, chains are often required to drive into and around Yosemite. During park rangers' chain control checks, some or all vehicles without chains will not be allowed to pass.

Tips & Warnings

Highway 120 (Tioga Road) and several other smaller roads are closed during the winter snow season, from about November to June. Keep this in mind when planning your trip.

Article Written By Lynn Anders

Lynn Anders has more than 15 years of professional experience working as a zookeeper, wildlife/environmental/conservation educator and in nonprofit pet rescue. Writing since 2007, her work has appeared on various websites, covering pet-related, environmental, financial and parenting topics. Anders has a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies and biology from California State University, Sacramento.

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