Value Score No Data
Good For Families
Upper Pines Campground
We spent two nights in the Upper Pines Campground. The first night we were at spot 55 and the next night at 223. For some reason, we and what seemed to be about 1/4 of the other groups in the campground had to switch spots Saturday morning, meaning several hours of wasted time tearing down and setting up camp. It was pretty humorous watching everybody strap their tents onto the roofs of their cars to move from one campsite to another.
The lower-numbered campsites at Upper Pines seem to be much less crowded and private than the higher-numbered spaces. At spot 55, the closest tent to us was at least 30 feet away and there was a large area between the two rows of sites that backed against each other. In the higher campsites like 223, we had another camper place two tents within about 5 feet of our fire ring and the parking area was barely large enough for one car, let alone the permitted two cars. To make things even more crowded, the ground was very rocky and there were more trees meaning we had to squeeze our three tents into very little remaining space. The upper campsites are closer to the trailhead and have newer, larger food storage areas to keep the bears away.
All areas of the campground have bathrooms with drinking water nearby, and the shop and showers at Curry Village are maybe 1/4 mile from the entrance. Though the campground allowed pets, it seems that most of the nearby hiking trails do not.
Campsites are $20 a night for up to 6 people and two cars. Additional cars can be parked at Curry Village.
There are a few oaks, too
While it was pretty crowded, even in the middle of an October week, and people would cross our campsite to get to the bathroom, and we'd have to cross others' campsites to do the same, feeling alone is not the point of camping here. It is, in fact, more or less the most central Yosemite Valley location you'll find. At the end of the campground, you can cross a small brook and be on Happy Isles bridge, ready to start on the trails to Vernal Falls, Nevada Falls, Half dome, etc.
Unique Quality: The occasional bear comes by to try to steal food. In our experience, not only we but all the other campers knew exactly what to do, and the hollering, stomping and banging scared the bear away quickly. Make sure to put your food (and also toothpaste, perfume, and anything that smells) into the complimentary bear canisters; otherwise, you may be caught by a bear, which might damage your property and eat your food, or by a ranger, who may cite you. Oh, and in the mornings, watch out for the squirrels! They're very bold, and entered our car to search for crumbs.
Directions: Just keep driving east and as you're forced to turn around, you'll be guided to it. You really can't miss it.
Wake up with the squirrels!
The Campgounds here were wonderful.They give you a large amount of land, 2 bear-safe holding bins, and a place to have a camp fire, and a picnic table. There are other people camping in lots beside you, so you don't feel as if you will be eaten alive, but they are spaced far enough away (and with trees), that it still feels as though you are away from the world. I loved it!
Unique Quality: Absolutely stunning! a stream ran behind my camping lot. Bathrooms were as clean as camping bathrooms could be. Don't forget about the parking fee, think it was about 10 bucks.
Near Some of the Best Waterfalls in the Park
Upper Pines sits at the foot of Glacier Point and from certain edges holds Yosemite Falls and Half Dome in full view. The grounds are open and spacious, the largest campground in the valley, and the nighttime effect of traffic lights coming through the great Ponderosa and Jeffrey Pines has a chilling and mysterious effect.
Unique Quality: At the edge of the campground is a Valley shuttle stop at Happy Isles, which runs a hotdog stand that is usually open. The trail from the corner of Upper Pines guides you to Vernal Falls, Nevada Falls, Illilouette Falls and Glacier Point if you wish to go all the way. At night the grounds are often the thoroughfare for the park's black bears.
Directions: eastern end of Yosemite Valley
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