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Re: Little Yosemite Valley Camping

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Little Yosemite Valley Camping
May 09, 2017 06:05PM
Hi everyone. Silly questions below! (But, they'll probably be easy for you to answer!)

We'll be at Yosemite in June and have a backcountry permit for Happy Isles to Little Yosemite Valley for a few days.

The backcountry stuff is mostly new to us -- we've camped for a number of years at RV campgrounds, etc. With very little exception, I'm used to reserving or getting a specific location for our camp. So, weeks (or months) in advance, we reserve a spot and are then told our site number where we setup our camp.

I'm just a newbie and feeling a little uncomfortable with the concept of "make your way to Little Yosemite Valley and find a spot to setup your tent.".

How do you know where you can setup your tent? Will there be spots available? Are there individual tent/camp "locations" or is it just setup your tent wherever within the bounds of the campground?

Sorry to start with such lame questions but I'm feeling uncomfortable with this and, as much as I've searched, I haven't really found the answer to these questions.

When we walk into the campground, how do we know where we can setup our tent?

Also, would you recommend getting to the campground early, setting up our tent and then day hiking the rest of the day? Or, is there a "best time" to reach LYV?

Thanks for any help.

Lacy
avatar Re: Little Yosemite Valley Camping
May 09, 2017 06:30PM
Quote

How do you know where you can setup your tent? Will there be spots available? Are there individual tent/camp "locations" or is it just setup your tent wherever within the bounds of the campground?

It's the latter, within minimum impact guidelines. By this I mean...

Generally in the backcountry one looks for previously impacted sites, away from others, etc. Little Yosemite is a designated backcountry camping area, you won't have the "away from others", but do try to disperse as reasonable within the bounds, and definitely look for areas where others have camped. It's helpful to arrive early, as Little Yosemite is very popular; so, yes, absolutely, arrive early, set up, and then explore.

One thing you'll want to think about is food storage. Generally in the Yosemite backcountry bear resistant food containers are required. I'm assuming, from your stated experience, that you don't have one. You can rent one when you get your permit, but that' s not necessary in Little Yosemite as there are food lockers there (the same ones you see in the park's campgrounds). So, if you arrive early it'll be easier to find a spot in reasonable proximity to one of the lockers where you can put your food, this will be easier if you're able to pick up your permit the afternoon before rather than that morning. You must either store your food in a food locker or in a bear resistant food container.
Re: Little Yosemite Valley Camping
May 09, 2017 07:02PM
Thanks for the information.

We do have a bear canister but since we're only staying at LYV for this trip, I kind of assumed we wouldn't need it, right?

I see on the Yosemite website that they recommend ANY trips into the backcountry include a bear canister but this isn't really necessary if you KNOW you'll be staying only at LYV, right? (a campground with food lockers)

Is there a chance that there wouldn't be room in the food lockers?

Lacy



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/09/2017 07:04PM by Lacy.
avatar Re: Little Yosemite Valley Camping
May 09, 2017 08:01PM
I've only camped at LYV during relatively lower-usage periods (mid-October - still lots of people, late March - a few folks on the snow but buried food lockers). There's no issue reaching LYV, the Merced is well-bridged and there's no unbridged crossings that should cause any problems.

If you have a canister then bring it with you to Yosemite - the worst thing that can happen is you talk with the ranger, decide you don't need it, and leave it behind (if it's likely to smell, in a bear locker at the trailhead - I always use plastic bags inside my bear canister so food never touches the inside). The best that can happen is you don't have to worry about whether there's space in the food lockers, or whether you've set up camp by one of them or found some other spot. If one doesn't have a canister (not your situation) then just plan to show up early and camp near one of the lockers.
avatar Re: Little Yosemite Valley Camping
May 10, 2017 01:59PM
Bear canisters are useful ANY time you want to take pack off your back. The squirrels are more aggressive than bears and will chew right through your pack to get to anything with a scent. So wise man say take Bear can, and take bear can out of pack anytime you take pack off back!
Re: Little Yosemite Valley Camping
May 10, 2017 05:03PM
Thanks for the information everyone. Really good.

I guess we'll take our canister and talk to the ranger as we head out.

We do use the (supposedly) odor blocking bags (even inside the bear canister) so I was hoping that they would help to limit the scent for squirrels, etc.

I don't really *hate* to hike with the canister but I do enjoy it when someone else carries it. smiling smiley

Lacy
avatar Re: Little Yosemite Valley Camping
May 13, 2017 01:59PM
Quote
Lacy
I don't really *hate* to hike with the canister but I do enjoy it when someone else carries it. smiling smiley

But it sure beats trying to throw a rope over a branch.
Re: Little Yosemite Valley Camping
May 12, 2017 01:42PM
I have had conversations with multiple rangers at Little Yosemite a valley over allowable bear canister regulations,
so it's best to carry one. When you get there the camping area and the campsites will be obvious.
Strange to say, but you might considering bringing earplugs, some people party in the area, and can be loud.
Bug spray can be helpful in June as well.

Still, don't be discouraged by this, the hiking in the area is beautiful, and the hike in is classic



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/12/2017 01:43PM by lschaaf.
Re: Little Yosemite Valley Camping
May 14, 2017 06:17PM
The last time I was at LYV was right after Christmas a few years ago in the middle of the drought, and I was shocked at how few bear lockers were left. They have reduced the number of bear lockers substantially and the number of campsites since the century started. You want to get there as early in the day as possible so you can set up your campsite near one of the lockers and get everything with an odor in it before it fills up. The canister gives you freedom to camp other places and dump your big pack during the day for side trips to places like Half Dome or Clouds Rest without having to worry about losing your food (most likely to a rodent of some kind, but birds, deer, raccoons, and bears are also possibilities). As much as I dislike canisters, that area of Yosemite is so problematic that I can relax and rest much easier if I have one with me. I remember the days before canisters existed, and getting a full night's sleep in LYV was nearly impossible back then.

Odor blocking bags are great, but the furry creatures there are smart enough to recognize food by sight as well. A plastic bag is associated with food in their minds.
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