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Re: Tioga road campgrounds

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avatar Tioga road campgrounds
June 17, 2011 12:16PM
What are these like? Are some better than others? Any to specifically avoid? How likely is it to get one without reservations?

I'm thinking around the beginning of Aug. We plan to use it as more of a staging/sleeping place to do day hikes, visit Toulumne Meadows and the Valley. Therefore I'd like to avoid long drives down bad roads. Creek water is fine, I have a good backpacking water filter.
avatar Re: Tioga road campgrounds
June 17, 2011 12:46PM
Along (or near) Tioga Road, only Crane Flat on the west end requires reservations for 100% of its campsites. On the east end, at Tuolumne Meadows, only 50% of the campsites are reserved. All other campsites along (or near) Tioga Road in Yosemite are first-come, first-served.

If you want easy access to Tioga Road (and avoid bad roads) then avoid Yosemite Creek and Tamarack Flat campgrounds. For all others, the access to Tioga Road is fine.

Again, most of these campsites cannot be reserved (with the exception of Crane Flat and 50% of Tuolumne Meadows), so your chances of landing a campsite increases greatly the earlier that you arrive at the campground. If you can get their by 10:00 AM on a weekday, you should have a good chance in getting a campsite. If you manage to get there by 8:00 AM, your chances are a whole lot better.

A strategy that some employ to be able to arrive at these first-come, first-served campgrounds early in the morning is to camp the night before just outside of the Yosemite in the surrounding National Forests, either at a National Forest campground or in an area where dispersed camping is permitted. With this strategy, it is easy to be less than a 90 minutes drive from a first-come, first-served campground within Yosemite. Often times, the rangers at the Yosemite National Park entrance booths will have information on which first-come, first-served campgrounds still have space available as you enter the park.
avatar Re: Tioga road campgrounds
June 17, 2011 09:21PM
Great info. Thanks much for posting.
avatar Re: Tioga road campgrounds
June 17, 2011 09:41PM
Quote
plawrence
If you manage to get there by 8:00 AM, your chances are a whole lot better.

That's a bit early in my experience.
avatar Re: Tioga road campgrounds
June 17, 2011 10:42PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
plawrence
If you manage to get there by 8:00 AM, your chances are a whole lot better.

That's a bit early in my experience.

For most weekdays it's probably isn't necessary to arrive that early, but some days (even during the week) there might be very few campers departing on that particular day, so it's better to get to a first-come, first-served campground a bit early to scout around to see which campers are packing up and getting ready to depart the campground (or if you're lucky, if some early-risers have already vacated their campsites).

As I said, usually geting there by 10:00 AM should be sufficient to land a campsite, but sometimes, even arriving at 10:00 AM might be too late.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/17/2011 10:47PM by plawrence.
Re: Tioga road campgrounds
June 19, 2011 07:07PM
Thanks for these tips. I plan to try for Tuolumne Meadows CG in the middle of July, haven't decided if arriving Sunday or Monday, but leaning toward Monday based on our schedule. From my location, Riverside, I'll have to leave about 3am, maybe earlier to get there by 10am.
avatar Re: Tioga road campgrounds
June 19, 2011 07:42PM
If you can somehow manage to arrive at a campground on Sunday by 11:00 AM, you should still have a very good chance on landing a campsite on Sunday, since Sunday is usually the most popular departure day at the campgrounds.

BTW, I presume you're going to be traveling up to Yosemite via Hwy 395 and Tigoa Pass, or are you going take Hwys 99 & 41 into Yosemite?

If you drive up Hwy 395, even later in the day on Sunday, you'll have a lot of overnight camping options near Yosemite in the Inyo National Forest (in designated campgrounds or via dispersed camping).
Re: Tioga road campgrounds
June 19, 2011 07:55PM
Yes, I'll be traveling up the east side. I'm giving some serious thought to driving up Sunday to Lee Vining canyon to make an early arrival in the meadows easier. I know of the campgrounds along the early part of the Tioga Rd, but where can I find dispersed camping areas?
avatar Re: Tioga road campgrounds
June 19, 2011 11:13PM
Generally speaking, you can dispersed camp off to the side of any dirt or gravel Forest Service road in the Inyo National Forest that is NOT in a "high use recreation area". Major paved roads like Tioga Pass Road (Hwy 120) between Yosemite and Lee Vining are almost always within these high use recreation area, though. Also you cannot dispersed camp on Los Angeles Department of Water & Power land.

The best way to figure out which is which is to purchase an Inyo National Forest Map. On their map, any area marked by a band of purple highlighter is considered a high use recreation area, and dispersed camping is prohibited.

Here's a link to the online version of the Inyo National Forest Map:
http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/forestvisitormaps/inyo/

If you look at their map (it's easier if you have a map in your hand versus relying on the online edition), there's a myriad of side roads where you could pull off and dispersed camp.

And here's the link to the Inyo National Forest dispersed camping webpage for additional information: INYO NF: Dispersed Camping.

(Note that if you plan to have a campfire or use a camp stove at your campsite, you'll need to obtain a campfire permit at the National Forest office.)

If you have any additional question, just stop by the Inyo National Forest Information Center located in Bishop right on Hwy 395 just north of downtown Bishop. There you can purchase the Inyo National Forest map if you don't already own one and can asked the on-duty ranger any remaining questions you have about dispersed camping in the Inyo National Forest.
avatar Re: Tioga road campgrounds
June 22, 2011 08:04PM
Quote
hotrod4x5
I know of the campgrounds along the early part of the Tioga Rd, but where can I find dispersed camping areas?

The woods off 395 north of Mammoth are pretty good for an overnight stop. For that matter Deadman Creek campground is usually not even close to full and there's no fee.
avatar Re: Tioga road campgrounds
June 19, 2011 11:38PM
FYI - The reservation window for the Tuolumne Meadows Campground started with reservations beginning July 15th. If the campground opens before then, even by a few days, the campground (or as much of it that is opened) will be 100% first come first served. If I was trying for a site there, I would watch for the opening day. I always try to arrive on a Sunday for first come first served as well. I have arrived around 11 am at TM and have always found camping on Sundays (same with Bridalveil). However, because of the scalping issues and the attention it has drawn along with the Oprah exposure, that might be pushing it time-wise.

Good luck!
avatar Re: Tioga road campgrounds
June 20, 2011 08:16AM
Thanks for the replies. I was thinking of arriving more like Wed. However, it sounds like Sun is better. I might have to rethink that.

Thanks again.
Re: Tioga road campgrounds
June 20, 2011 06:12AM
Bear in mind that some of the campgrounds don't have piped water. Porcupine flat, for examply, has a small creek but no piped water. Use a filter or tablets before you drink...

But since many people don't want that hassle, that campground fills up later...



Balzaccom

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Re: Tioga road campgrounds
June 20, 2011 07:29AM
Quote
balzaccom
Bear in mind that some of the campgrounds don't have piped water. Porcupine flat, for examply, has a small creek but no piped water. Use a filter or tablets before you drink...

But since many people don't want that hassle, that campground fills up later...
I have a filter, so this is good to know if Toulumne is full.
Re: Tioga road campgrounds
June 30, 2011 04:31PM
Ok, so I am now confused about how to obtain a site in FCFS campgrounds. I had read here on another thread that you circle the CG, looking for someone leaving, stay there, and have one person go register the site. When I described this for Tuolumne, someone in another forum told me that was wrong. He said you can't drive around if you aren't camping there. He said you have to stand in line at the kiosk and ask the ranger for a site.

So the described method is for which CGs if not Tuolumne? And is that correct, you stand in line at the Kiosk and hope the ranger some how knows who is leaving that day?
avatar Re: Tioga road campgrounds
June 30, 2011 04:56PM
Quote
hotrod4x5
When I described this for Tuolumne, someone in another forum told me that was wrong. He said you can't drive around if you aren't camping there. He said you have to stand in line at the kiosk and ask the ranger for a site.

So the described method is for which CGs if not Tuolumne? And is that correct, you stand in line at the Kiosk and hope the ranger some how knows who is leaving that day?

Tuolumne isn't really FCFS in the classic sense. You have to get your site from the office instead of just occupying it.
Re: Tioga road campgrounds
June 30, 2011 04:47PM
I assume you are not by yourself? It is not a long walk at all to the campground. Get somebody in line (or put a chair there) and go check it out.
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