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Re: Backpackers Camp

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avatar Backpackers Camp
January 23, 2008 12:16PM
Hello!

I was wondering if the backpackers campground in the valley, i believe by North Pines campground, fills up on weekend nights in early August. I already know that having a wilderness permit is needed to stay there.

I plan on staying there the night before I hike Half Dome, and the night after I finish.

Also, is there fire pits in the area?

Thanks for the help!

Dan





Dan
avatar Re: Backpackers Camp
January 23, 2008 01:51PM
I stayed at the Valley backpackers' campground last June twice - on the Tuesday night before I started my trip and on a Saturday after I finished. Was about half full, and often large groups concentrate in one or two sites. They emphasize that they don't take reservations and you won't need any, although I could imagine that it could be full if everyone with a permit to hike into and out of the valley stays there and everyone with a permit is a solo backpacker.

There was a problem with someone bringing in a multi-room family-sized car-camping tent that was clearly against the spirit (and possibly regulations) of the place. They might also have stayed there for several days. I didn't use my solo tent but rather a small and cheap (allegedly backpacking) tent I bought at Target, along with a car camping mattress the second time around. I figured my back could use it after sleeping on an accordion-style Therm-A-Rest for four nights. Bears were raiding the place - I got woken up when one came in and I talked to a teenage kid whose backpack was dragged away. The next morning we all saw a juvenile bear which left as soon as people started going for their cameras (must have been camera shy).

Each campsite has a picnic table and metal-ringed fire pit. There's actually more usable space than most car camping sites in the valley, although the boundary of each site isn't well defined. Each site also has a full-size bear box and I believe you can put a lock on them unlike the public bear boxes in the parking lots and trailheads. I didn't use a lock, but I stuffed almost everything in the box, including my bear canister and backpack. There was room in there for at least four backcountry backpacks and four bear canisters.

avatar Re: Backpackers Camp
January 24, 2008 04:49PM
I stayed there mid-July 2005 after finishing a multi-night high country trip that ended at Happy Isles - it was easy to catch a shuttle and because it was around 9:30-10:00 when I got there, I just pitched my tent, cooked a quick dinner and crashed. It's right next to the river; I left my food outside in a bear container, I think - don't recall seeing or using lockers.

I was at the bus stop at 7:30 or so the next morning to get over Yosemite Village to catch a tour bus back to T. Meadows. I don't remember seeing a fire pit, but didn't explore around at all.
avatar Re: Backpackers Camp
January 24, 2008 08:01PM
The backpackers campgrounds are for the sole use of wilderness permitted backpackers on the night before their hike and the night after their hike. This applies to the campgrounds at Tuolumne Meadows, the valley floor, and Hetch Hetchy. With the reduction in enforcement I've seen in the past few years though it would not surprise me if there are interlopers.





Old Dude
avatar Re: Backpackers Camp
January 25, 2008 11:02AM
mrcondron wrote:

> The backpackers campgrounds are for the sole use of wilderness
> permitted backpackers on the night before their hike and the
> night after their hike. This applies to the campgrounds at
> Tuolumne Meadows, the valley floor, and Hetch Hetchy. With the
> reduction in enforcement I've seen in the past few years though
> it would not surprise me if there are interlopers.

I figured there was something wrong, but in general I'd prefer to avoid any confrontation. I was out in the backcountry for three nights and noticed the same tent (must have weighed at least 25 lbs) in the same location when I got back.

I know I didn't exactly use true backcountry equipment (tent, mattress) all the time, but my equipment was unobtrusive and I carried all of it from the Valley backpackers' parking lot.

I never saw a permit check ever.

avatar Re: Backpackers Camp
January 24, 2008 09:05PM
It can fill up, but there is usually someone willing to share his site.

Re: Backpackers Camp
January 25, 2008 04:49PM
Was that family tent red and way off to the right side as you came across the bridge from north pines? If so it was there before Memorial day weekend. We used the camp prior to going to Buena Vista lake started to fill up when we left Friday noon but that was a holiday. I am glad I had my big comfy mattress the night b4 I spent 5 on a thermarest!
avatar Re: Backpackers Camp
January 25, 2008 04:55PM
scott wrote:

> Was that family tent red and way off to the right side as you
> came across the bridge from north pines? If so it was there
> before Memorial day weekend. We used the camp prior to going to
> Buena Vista lake started to fill up when we left Friday noon
> but that was a holiday. I am glad I had my big comfy mattress
> the night b4 I spent 5 on a thermarest!

The tent I saw was next to the bathroom.

I do remember seeing something from the Yosemite Association saying that it might be possible for those turned away from Sunnyside Walk-In (i.e. Camp 4) to stay at the backpackers' campground as long as they took the bus or bikes in. Sounds reasonably if it's not car campers. Not sure if this is still valid.

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