- Reviews: 216
Cedar Lodge: Down the road from Yosemite . . .
Spent the night at the Cedar Lodge, just a few miles down the road (hwy 140) from the park entrance. Had a nice stay, took a swim in their pool and took a walk across the highway to the 'swimmin' hole' along the Merced River.
- Reviews: 4
Bass Lake Lupine Cedar Campground: Close to Yosemite and just as beautiful
This is a very large community of campgrounds surrounding a lake so large it felt like the ocean. It is a combination of lodges, campgrounds, and even some homes. It is such a large area that you never feel crowded. We chose our campsite early, and purposely chose one off to the side and up a hill. It was very secluded, and beautiful. Some of the lower sites did sit in a crowded circle and offered no privacy. For us, that was not ideal. However, it did seem that large groups with children enjoyed that as they could easily socialize. We enjoyed the quiet darkness that our site offered. This was 7 months ago, but I do believe it was site 18. There were showers there. I believe the token cost $5 for a 5 minute shower. The showers were clean, and also had laundry facilities. The bathrooms within the campgrounds did become a little dirty as the day progressed, but it is a campground. There were several restaurants located right in the campground as well as many others in the town outside of the campground. They had boat and jet ski rentals. It was very primitive with the option of many amenities, if you should become tired of camping. Bass Lake is astounding. The water was turquoise to blue in color and ice cold in the middle of July, but still refreshing. There were plenty of hiking paths ranging from easy to difficult. The grounds were covered with wild mulberries which I snacked on daily. I didn't see any bears, but I was notified that the bears had been at our site while we were swimming. This place was heavenly, and only about 15 miles from Yosemite National Park. It is located in the Sierra National Forest. Prior to our arrival, I was disappointed we hadn't gotten a spot right in Yosemite. After camping, I preferred this site as it was closer to town and had some amenities for when I was sick of eating campfire food.
Amazing views on cliffs overlooking the lake, lots of shaded trees to read under, wildlife galore
- Reviews: 238
Charlotte Hotel: Great hotel on the edge of Yosemite
When we first arrived in town, not thanks to our satnav, we were really surprised, and couldnt really believe our luck. It was nearly pitch black and we were a little worried we may by having to sleep in the car if we couldnt find anywhere to stay the night. But then Groveland appeared as if like a little Christmas magic for us.
The first hotel we called at was the Groveland Hotel, but was far over our budget, so we called at the Charlotte Hotel, and so glad we did. The price was right, the beds were lovely, and the room was just right. I don't really know what the prices are like now, as it was about 4 years since we were there.
We slept really well after paying a visit to the bar on the other side of the street, which was great by the way, and we were ready the next day to check out Yosemite National Park. This is a great hotel for anyone looking for a cozy night with crazy prices before setting out to see Yosemite. Just great.
- Reviews: 81
White Chief Mountain Lodge: Basic Motel : Close to Mariposa
Decent but bare bones Lodge.
New owner and young helpful team....
Close to Mariposa, Yosemite South Entrance
Nice breakfast .
No Dinner facilities ... but available at another close by hotel .
During July 2013, we paid USD 135/ night for a Dbl-bed room
Room had a microwave / fridge and a coffee pot.
Size was small but clean.
The South Entrance to Yosemite is about 6Kms ( 10 mins drive).
The Mariposa grove of Giant sequias is abt 2 kms from this entrance.
- Reviews: 1396
Wawona Campground: Great location for southern park adventures
Wawona campground is located in the park, very close to the sout entrance off route 41. We did not have reservations, which is required when camping in the park. We only stopped to ask the ranger at the kiosk if he knew ohter campground just outside the park. He informed us there were cancellations and we could stay there. It is $20 per night but well worth it because you have access to running water and the site we were given was great.
Very family oriented. Only a problem with one group being loud after the 10pm quiet time. But surrounding people let them know to keep it down.
- Reviews: 1396
Lee Vining Canyon campgrounds: Aspen Grove
If you can't not find camping within Yosemite, there are a number of campgrounds just outside the park at the Tuolumne entrance. Aspen Grove is one of the best and the campsites around 19, 20, 21 and 22 are next to a beautiful stream with a slight waterfall. The sound of the water rushing down the stream makes for a very relaxing evening. Pit fires and picnic tables are are each site and portable toilets are nearby the above sites.
Campsites are first come first serve and the fee is $14 per night.
- Reviews: 1
Yosemite Pines: A place to avoid in Yosemite
This was hands down the worst experiences I have ever had with anywhere I have traveled and I have stayed at various venues throughout the western and southern U.S and most of western Europe. My three friends and I get together once a year and travel somewhere together, this year it was going to be Yosemite. It started off fine, I booked a cabin rental at Yosemite Pines and we were set to go when the morning of our trip one of my friends got called back into work. Now, he works for a company that stages events throughout the world and we knew this was a possibility, the rest of us spoke and decided to put the trip on hold, we've all been friends since high school this is the one time a year we all are able to get together. I called Yosemite Pines that morning at seven thirty and left a message canceling our reservation expecting to be docked the first day’s rental as a late cancellation penalty. I then called back at ten that morning to ensure my message had been received. The representative was very friendly and helpful and told me that yes, there would be a penalty equal to one day’s rental but I could expect the balance to be refunded in about two weeks. I gave it a month then called back to see why I had not received my refund. A gain the agent I spoke with was very friendly, looked over my canceled reservation, told me everything looked in order and they would see about making sure my money was refunded as soon as possible. Thusly assured I again waited for the return of the balance of my money. It was at this point that I was contacted via e-mail by one Mary Bertram who now told me that because I had canceled my reservation the day of, there would be no refund; I was subject to a 100% penalty. I called Yosemite Pines and asked to speak with Mary Bertram and was told she was not available. Soon I received another e-mail from Mary showing me the cancellation policy and reiterating that no money was coming my way. I called aging and was able to Reach Mrs. Bertram at last. I explained that while I had reviewed their cancellation policy and could see that late cancellations were not refunded, should not an exception be made considering that I was told that I would be receiving a refund by her employees the morning of my reservation and had they given me the correct information the three of us that could still go would have had the opportunity to drive up and use our reservation since check -in was not until three o'clock. She replied that there were no exceptions for late cancellations, and she could see on their records that I had not spoken to someone until the morning of my reservation. I said I know when I spoke to them, that’s when they told me that I could expect my refund in a few weeks, then I asked if she did or did not take responsibility for the information provided by her employees? Mary at this point tried the tactic of accusing me of not speaking to anyone in her organization, citing that I had left my cancellation via message. That's true I replied, but then I called back, and you just told me that you could see that I spoke to someone that morning so either you were lying then or you are now. It was also at this point that I had to ask Mary for permission to finish my sentences uninterrupted as she was becoming very flustered and brusque and kept trying to speak over me. The conversation from this point forward could be described as entering a downward spiral, Mary, now apparently again willing to admit that I had spoken to a living person told me she knew everyone that had worked on the morning in question, they were all professional and would not have given out incorrect information. While I was silently glad to hear that this corporation had some employees who were professionals, I said to Mary that while I was sure her staff was of the highest order, even professionals can make mistakes and if they keep records of their phone conversations she could see exactly what I was told. Sticking to her strengths Mary changed her line of reasoning entirely and told me this had all transpired too long ago to be corrected. So apparently in theory we both agreed now that I had been screwed but it was a past screwing and nothing could be done. I pointed out that the time that had elapsed had done so while I either waited on false promises of her staff or tried to get in touch with her. Mary replied that she was very busy and it was not her fault if she was out often and I must say that if my current treatment was anything near her standard level of customer service I bet she avoids the office like a criminal avoids the scene of the crime. Realizing that in all likelihood this woman was either unable or, more likely, unwilling to help me I asked to speak with her superior. She then informed me that she had no superior. Oh Mary. I asked if she owned Yosemite Pine, or it's parent company? No, then how about the name and contact info of the person that does, who we might from this point refer to as your superior, just for simplicity. Mary made it very clear at this point that the name or phone number of a superior was not something I was going to get from her, customer service be dammed. I asked her if it would be better that I found this information on my own and then had her lack of cooperation to add to my current complaint. Next came the inevitable response from a person like Mary when they feel out of options from their customer disservice handbook, she HUNG UP ONE ME! Anyone that has ever had a job where you need to speak on the phone to clients knows this is the cardinal sin. Even as poorly as the conversation had been going I was still shocked. That's the story so far, no money returned to me, just a story to tell when the subject of unbelievably rude people comes up. In closing, please don't go to Yosemite Pines, pick one of the dozen other campgrounds up there. You might be planning a great trip with friends or family and it just might get Bertramed.
- Reviews: 386
Tenaya Lodge: Unexpected Stay at the Tenaya
The Tenaya Lodge is a modern hotel designed to look like a hunting lodge. It is located in Fish Camp, about a 15 minute drive from the Park's south gate.
I would not normally have chosen to stay in a large, upscale property like this -- I can't afford $300+ room rates and prefer smaller places. But we were bumped from the Wawona Hotel, and the Tenaya Lodge honored the Wawona's lower room rate. The staff was polite and well-trained, and we had a pleasant stay.
There were a lot of German and English families there that weekend who didn't bat an eyelash at paying $14 per head for the breakfast buffet.
- Reviews: 1
Pine Arbor Retreat Home: Great place for a large group
In October 2009, we rented a house in Yosemite West called Pine Arbor Retreat. We wanted a place that would hold our family and two other couples for our stay in Yosemite. In the past we rented separate rooms at the lodge in Yosemite Valley. We never knew that there were homes you could rent inside the park. There was never a quite place to just talk after the day's adventures.
The house was huge with a big great room and a big couch that seat all 10 of us. It is right in the middle of everything too, so we didn't have to go outside the park to eat. We just went to the "frig" and made our own meals. Saved us a bundle on restaurant costs. Plus when we slit the rental bill, it was cheaper then the lodge.
We will be back next year!
Really Big House with lots of room for a family and friends. Jacuzzi in the master Bedroom. DirectTV in the great room. Has a big kitchen with built-ins. Nice! Three story house surrounded by 100 foot trees.
- Reviews: 5956
backcountry camping: camping for free
Yosemite's vast backcountry is one of the true marvels of the National Park system. I doubt there is a more elaborate network of trails in any park, possibly anywhere in the world. What the average visitor to the park sees is less than 5% of this immense wilderness. The only way to see the rest is to backpack.
The most amazing things about it is how many people are out there on these remote trails. For this reason, there is a very intricate system for issuing permits. The easiest thing to do is to reserve ahead of time to ensure getting the spots you want and avoid disappointment. They charge $5 per reservation plus $5 per person for this peace of mind. Obviously, not everyone can do that due to not knowing when exactly they will be there. We were in that situation ourselves. Fortunately, the park keeps 40% of the spots open for walk-ins.
The permits themselves are free so since you are not reserving them it is a way to camp in the park for free. That sounds like a lot but each trail head has only so many spots and popular ones fill up quickly. So, you will need to generally get to a backcountry office early in the morning if you are looking to do a popular multi-day hike. Another thing to keep in mind is there are numerous backcountry offices and the one closest to a particular trail head gets precedence for those spots. To give yourself a better chance it is best to go to that one though in practicality, it might mean doing a lot of driving so weigh your options.
This worked out very well for us. While camping at White Wolf, we could get into the Valley backcountry office easily enough and secured spots for the most popular trek in the park to Half Dome. We got there in the afternoon but still got them so it's always worth checking no matter when you get there. The worst that happens is you see what is open and if you really have your heart set on a particular trek, you just go back early the next day. The rangers will let you know how it looks for a particular hike in the coming days as well.
We later went to camp at Tuolomne Meadow which is on the other side of Tioga Road and got permits for hikes on that side of the park, to popular Cathedral Lakes and North Dome. For us it made sense as we wanted to see that part of the park but if your time is limited, you can always try and get permits for hikes on Tioga Road down in the Valley if that is where you are staying.
- Reviews: 5956
Backpackers Only Campground: a well kept secret
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.
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.
- Reviews: 5956
Camping at Yosemite National Park: knowing where to look
Camping at Yosemite National Park is a bit more complicated than at most National Parks. This is in part due to its vast size but also to its proximity to a big population of people who use it regularly. This is not a once in a lifetime destination for many of its visitors, it's a regular getaway. While the park is huge, most visitors spend their time primarily in Yosemite Valley and its sizable campgrounds are routinely full, especially in summer as well as Spring and Fall weekends. You can reserve the sites online months in advance and often that is just what you must do. What if you don't know exactly when you will be there? Well, you will have to be a little more inventive but flexible but there are places to camp. You just have to know where to look.
The safest thing to do, especially if you have your heart set on camping in Yosemite Valley, is to go online (www.recreation.gov) , even last minute as they do have cancellations. This will save you a lot of running around as well as possibly having to camp outside of the park. If you do arrive without a reservation, go immediately to the campground reservation office. There are a couple so ask at the entrance station on arrival and they will send you to the closest one. You may get lucky and get a spot.
Otherwise, you are looking at camping at one of the first come, first serve campgrounds, only one of which is in the Valley. One problem is they do not open until prime season so either late June or July and also close earlier in the year as well. Check at the campground reservation office or ask at the entrance station for a list of currently open campgrounds. They can be quite spread out so it's not like you are going to go check one out and if you don't like it, you'll go to the next. If you see a spot, just grab it. You can get up early the next day and try and get a different spot.
Camp 4 is the only one of this type in the Valley. Glacier Point Road overs Bridalveil Creek. Tioga Road has White Wolf, Yosemite Creek and Tuolumne Meadows. The last of these is all the way on the other side of the park and quite a long drive from Yosemite Valley. It's a very beautiful area but remote from where many first time visitors are likely to spend the majority of their visit. That said, secure a spot and enjoy where you are. It's a big park and all of it is stunning. You can still get into the Valley and it's not like you are going to be driving on a boring highway. It's a very scenic drive.
- Reviews: 20
Cedar Lodge in El Portal: Nice find close to Yosemite
I had read some mixed reviews about this hotel before I booked it, but we were very pleasantly surprised! The room was a good size, bathroom was more than big enough as well. The grounds were well maintained, with statues of cute bears all over the parking lot. Breakfast was not included in the price, and was a bit expensive we thought, but it was the best breakfast we’ve had on our trip. They had lots of hot items, cereal, breads, and a lot of fresh fruit. In most hotels you’re lucky if they have some apples or bananas, or maybe some canned fruits, but here you really had a lot of choice and everything was fresh.
We had dinner at the restaurant by the hotel once, even though the reviews were very bad. We had a nice dinner, couldn’t complain about anything really. The only 'negative' thing was that they should really update the interior, it’s very dated and dark, but to me that’s not even an issue. Some of the staff looked to be bored, but we just didn't pay any attention to them.
The hotel is very close to the West Entrance of Yosemite, only about 10 minutes by car, and about 30 minutes to the Valley floor. The room came at a cheap rate, which we didn’t expect to find so close to the park. I’d definitely stay there again if I ever visit Yosemite again!
- Reviews: 3078
Finding a campsite in Yosemite: Car Camping versus Alpine Camping
Sleep in the car? Not in Yosemite Valley. No way. There's no place to park, and the rangers may arrest you. If anything, they'll let you walk in and leave the car behind in El Portal, so browse my tips to learn about finding a campsite in Yosemite. If you arrive strategically, say on a weekday in midmorning, there should be a few some first-come/first-serve sites being evacuated by others at the few campgrounds set aside for this purpose in the valley. But, these are fought over, and you could waste a lot of time looking for a spot. Alternatively, if you are able to backpack into the alpine regions--the best camping experience there is, IMHO--there are parking lots at the trailheads. In the alpine regions, you can't just camp anywhere off along the trail in the alpine regions for a variety of topographical, ecological, and park rules reasons. It simply won't work--believe me. Backpackers need to register at a ranger station in Tuolume Meadows, White Wolf, or other such places (see Yosemite website for details), put a deposit down on a bear-proof food container, and learn about trail traffic and park rules (e.g. no campfires and pack your trash out). Even the alpine trails are limited in the number of hikers allowed, so you may have to choose a less frequented trail as the alpine lakes and streams can handle only so many campers. Car campgrounds along Tioga Pass Road (Porcupine Flat, White Wolf, Lake Tenaya, etc.) in the north, and in Wawona in the south, are the best bet for the unprepared or impulsive traveler. Don't count on finding a place in Yosemite Valley under these circumstances on the spur of the moment. You can check this all out upon your entrance into the park with the rangers and information provided there, if you like, or study the website...
- Reviews: 612
Narrow Gague Inn: Friendly Inn near the Park entrance
This place was everything we wanted in a place to stay near Yosemite. Clean, friendly, close to the park, with character and an outdoors atmosphere. This one-of-a-kind motel has wood paneled rooms with deck views of the surrounding forests. Our room (#39) was spacious and well lit, with an extra bed - perfect for a family. There is a small gift shop, and in the summer months a restaurant. The theme the motel has to do with a narrow gague railroad nearby, and the grounds have some interesting artifacts and even a firetruck. There is a small pool, which wasn't open for the season yet during our April stay.
We like to stay somewhere that has some character like the surroundings, so a typical motel like you find in any town isn't what we wanted. This was a good find.
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