Backpackers Only Campground: "a well kept secret" Top 5 Page for this destination Yosemite National Park Hotel Tip by richiecdisc

Yosemite National Park Hotels: 148 reviews and 195 photos

  staying in the Valley can be nice
by richiecdisc

One very closely guarded secret in the camping world of Yosemite National Park is their backpacker's campground. It is not open to the general public and hence does not accept either reservations or walk-ins. The only people allowed to camp there are people with backcountry permits that either begin the following day or end that day. You can therefore only stay there one night, either just before going on a backcountry trip or on your return.

It is only $5 per person but is very basic though there are flush toilets, potable water and bear storage lockers. Since it is only a place to pitch your tent for the night, it's not very well spaced out and it can get a bit crowded with all the ?real? spots taken. Still, it allows people a good vantage point to start Valley trips early in the morning as well as a place to crash after coming back from a trip, potentially late in the evening.

Unique Qualities: Our first night in the backcountry campground was not the best. We had come back from our three day hike up to the top of Half Dome and since our car was parked at Curry Village, we decided to have some pizza and beer, and to grab a shower before going to the campground. Since the backcountry campground is a walk-in, we figured we would leave most of our food/toiletries in the lockers at Curry Village and only take what we needed to the campground. By the time we were doing this, it was very dark and the campground is not marked. We had only very basic directions on how to find it. The shuttle bus drivers were as helpful as can be and eventually we found it though it was quite a dark walk to get there. Obviously, by then all the spots were taken so we set up in what free ground space we could find, knowing we would be out of there the next morning anyway.

The second time we used this facility, we were better prepared. After that particular multi-day hiking trip, we went to the campground first, set up and then went for pizza and beer. Since we knew where it was, it was a lot easier to find and we didn't have to search around and set up in the dark. While this is not a great place to camp, it is a great thing for the park to have set up for backpackers and if you use it correctly is a real life saver, and quite fairly priced, especially if you are hiking solo. Avoid confusion by set ting up early and you'll find it a great way to camp in the Valley with no reservations.

Price Comparison: least expensive
Directions: Close to the Pines Campground in Yosemite Valley but not well signed or easy to find. Access only on foot. No parking.
Price: less than US$20
Theme: Campground

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Sep 23, 2009
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