Located in Yosemite Valley, near Yosemite Lodge, this camp has an elevation of 4,000 feet, a reason you will find so many rock climbers congregating here. It certainly helps to be young or in great shape--preferably both--at Camp 4 because this more like an outdoor hostel with parking places. Facilities include flush toilets, picnic tables and running water. Show up early to get yourself one of the spots because this is not one of the campsites that accept reservations.
Located at Glacier Point Road, 45 minutes south of Yosemite Valley. Another highly elevated campsite, this one sits at 7,200 feet. If you enjoy cooler weather, even during the summer, this is where to go. Another thing that makes Bridalveil Creek hot is access to hiking trails that open out into breathtaking views of Yosemite Valley. It's also a great place to take the kids because of spacious open land, perfect for tossing a Frisbee, or nice piney areas that make exploring relatively safe with parental accompaniment. Facilities include running water, flush toilets, picnic tables and bear boxes.
Tamarack is the spot for those who really like to rough it and enjoy a little privacy while camping. You are located 3 miles away from Tioga Road, and big trees keep your business away from nearby campers. Because of the lack of facilities, this is also one Yosemite campsite where you actually might be able to easily find a site. There is no running water, and the water you get from nearby Tamarack Creek absolutely must be treated before drinking. Facilities include pit toilets, fire pits and picnic tables. Hiking is the natural highlight.
As beautiful as Yosemite is, there are certain things you need to know to be prepared. In the more popular campgrounds, there may be bathrooms and showers, but they can get very crowded and are not the cleanest places in the world. In the rougher campgrounds like Tamarack without running water, you are dependent on nearby streams. During the dry seasons, you might occasionally find they have run dry. The best advice no matter where you stay in Yosemite is to pack more water than you think you'll need.
You must have a permit to camp in the backcountry of Yosemite. Permits are rationed, but you can usually expect to get one since there are so many trails in the park. The exception is certain high-demand areas were permits go fast, such as Half Dome and Cathedral Lakes. You are allowed to camp anywhere in the backcountry of Yosemite provide you are at least one mile away from the road or four miles from a developed area such as Yosemite Valley or Glacier Point.