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Re: Valley Campground Reservation Tips?

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avatar Valley Campground Reservation Tips?
December 13, 2017 05:23PM
I tried a forum search but couldn't narrow down anything useful. I've also read the nps pages on camping.

I'm going to try and book 4 or 5 days around the first of May, this Friday (the 15th). I want to be in the valley but other than that I'm pretty flexible on everything (unless I shouldn't be?) although I would prefer going up on a Sunday if possible. Are different campgrounds and/or camp sites more or less in demand? (do they go first?). Last May I got into upper pines by finding a cancellation and it was fine but as I mentioned, I'm flexible. Are there any special do's or don'ts to meeting with success in booking something?

Thanks for any light you can shed. :-)

PS...My avatar image was taken on my last May trip.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/13/2017 05:24PM by JohnC.
Re: Valley Campground Reservation Tips?
December 13, 2017 09:42PM
The valley is tough. Best advice is to get on-line a few minutes BEFORE those dates become available, and try to time it just right. They get reserved very quickly, especially for the weekends.

But we prefer NOT to camp in the Valley (it's way too crowded for us) so we start at Crane Flat and Hodgdon Meadow, then work through the campsites along Tioga Road. Even in the middle of the summer, we find campsites available in the middle of the week in late morning...and sometimes even in the afternoon.



Balzaccom

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avatar Re: Valley Campground Reservation Tips?
December 13, 2017 10:33PM
Quote
balzaccom
The valley is tough. Best advice is to get on-line a few minutes BEFORE those dates become available, and try to time it just right. They get reserved very quickly, especially for the weekends.

But we prefer NOT to camp in the Valley (it's way too crowded for us) so we start at Crane Flat and Hodgdon Meadow, then work through the campsites along Tioga Road. Even in the middle of the summer, we find campsites available in the middle of the week in late morning...and sometimes even in the afternoon.

Thanks. I'll be prepared online ahead of time. I just wondered if there was an advantage to trying one campground over the other. Having been in the valley the 2nd week of May this year, I found the valley very empty and nice although the campsites were all sold out. How much of that was due to the rain that was forecast and did fall, I don't know. My main purpose for going is to photograph in the valley in spring so staying in the valley is very helpful relative to saving time for sunrise shooting. Time is of the essence when trying to capture morning fog or even mist.

Here's one from this past May...

Re: Valley Campground Reservation Tips?
December 14, 2017 08:32AM
Quote
JohnC
Quote
balzaccom
The valley is tough. Best advice is to get on-line a few minutes BEFORE those dates become available, and try to time it just right. They get reserved very quickly, especially for the weekends.

But we prefer NOT to camp in the Valley (it's way too crowded for us) so we start at Crane Flat and Hodgdon Meadow, then work through the campsites along Tioga Road. Even in the middle of the summer, we find campsites available in the middle of the week in late morning...and sometimes even in the afternoon.

Thanks. I'll be prepared online ahead of time. I just wondered if there was an advantage to trying one campground over the other. Having been in the valley the 2nd week of May this year, I found the valley very empty and nice although the campsites were all sold out. How much of that was due to the rain that was forecast and did fall, I don't know. My main purpose for going is to photograph in the valley in spring so staying in the valley is very helpful relative to saving time for sunrise shooting. Time is of the essence when trying to capture morning fog or even mist.

Here's one from this past May...


Just be aware that in May, North Pines and Lower Pines have a tendency to flood: From Yosemite's Website section - camping FAQ's: "Spring floods are common in Yosemite Valley in May and June, with portions of Lower Pines, and, especially, North Pines Campgrounds becoming inundated. As a result, we don't make the affected campsites available for reservation until we are sure the river will be at a safe level. Depending on conditions, these campsites may be available for reservation a few weeks (less likely) or just a few days (more likely) in advance via recreation.gov. If water levels are high, these sites may only be available in the park on a first-come, first-served, daily basis." As for not a lot of people in the Valley when you were there last May, it most likely had less to do with the rain and more to do that California kids are still in school then.
avatar Re: Valley Campground Reservation Tips?
December 14, 2017 09:15AM
Thanks. That's good to know. I guess that means I might want to stick to shooting for upper. Although, given how the winter is starting off, flooding might not be the problem this year it was last year.

Quote
parklover
Quote
JohnC
Quote
balzaccom
The valley is tough. Best advice is to get on-line a few minutes BEFORE those dates become available, and try to time it just right. They get reserved very quickly, especially for the weekends.

But we prefer NOT to camp in the Valley (it's way too crowded for us) so we start at Crane Flat and Hodgdon Meadow, then work through the campsites along Tioga Road. Even in the middle of the summer, we find campsites available in the middle of the week in late morning...and sometimes even in the afternoon.

Thanks. I'll be prepared online ahead of time. I just wondered if there was an advantage to trying one campground over the other. Having been in the valley the 2nd week of May this year, I found the valley very empty and nice although the campsites were all sold out. How much of that was due to the rain that was forecast and did fall, I don't know. My main purpose for going is to photograph in the valley in spring so staying in the valley is very helpful relative to saving time for sunrise shooting. Time is of the essence when trying to capture morning fog or even mist.

Here's one from this past May...


Just be aware that in May, North Pines and Lower Pines have a tendency to flood: From Yosemite's Website section - camping FAQ's: "Spring floods are common in Yosemite Valley in May and June, with portions of Lower Pines, and, especially, North Pines Campgrounds becoming inundated. As a result, we don't make the affected campsites available for reservation until we are sure the river will be at a safe level. Depending on conditions, these campsites may be available for reservation a few weeks (less likely) or just a few days (more likely) in advance via recreation.gov. If water levels are high, these sites may only be available in the park on a first-come, first-served, daily basis." As for not a lot of people in the Valley when you were there last May, it most likely had less to do with the rain and more to do that California kids are still in school then.
Re: Valley Campground Reservation Tips?
December 14, 2017 11:00AM
Quote
JohnC
Thanks. That's good to know. I guess that means I might want to stick to shooting for upper. Although, given how the winter is starting off, flooding might not be the problem this year it was last year.

Quote
parklover
Quote
JohnC
Hard to predict how it is going to be for the rest of the year. I just hope we get some snow. Son already bought his season Badger Ski pass and it looks like he will not be able to use it during his winter break. Hoping for his spring break.
Quote
balzaccom
The valley is tough. Best advice is to get on-line a few minutes BEFORE those dates become available, and try to time it just right. They get reserved very quickly, especially for the weekends.

But we prefer NOT to camp in the Valley (it's way too crowded for us) so we start at Crane Flat and Hodgdon Meadow, then work through the campsites along Tioga Road. Even in the middle of the summer, we find campsites available in the middle of the week in late morning...and sometimes even in the afternoon.

Thanks. I'll be prepared online ahead of time. I just wondered if there was an advantage to trying one campground over the other. Having been in the valley the 2nd week of May this year, I found the valley very empty and nice although the campsites were all sold out. How much of that was due to the rain that was forecast and did fall, I don't know. My main purpose for going is to photograph in the valley in spring so staying in the valley is very helpful relative to saving time for sunrise shooting. Time is of the essence when trying to capture morning fog or even mist.

Here's one from this past May...


Just be aware that in May, North Pines and Lower Pines have a tendency to flood: From Yosemite's Website section - camping FAQ's: "Spring floods are common in Yosemite Valley in May and June, with portions of Lower Pines, and, especially, North Pines Campgrounds becoming inundated. As a result, we don't make the affected campsites available for reservation until we are sure the river will be at a safe level. Depending on conditions, these campsites may be available for reservation a few weeks (less likely) or just a few days (more likely) in advance via recreation.gov. If water levels are high, these sites may only be available in the park on a first-come, first-served, daily basis." As for not a lot of people in the Valley when you were there last May, it most likely had less to do with the rain and more to do that California kids are still in school then.
avatar Re: Valley Campground Reservation Tips?
December 14, 2017 11:16AM
Oh, and yes, I agree that May is usually still pretty empty in the valley regardless of weather. Which is the main reason I don't mind visiting the park then as well as actually staying in the valley.
avatar Re: Valley Campground Reservation Tips?
December 15, 2017 02:19PM
Thanks to those who offered suggestions and PMs. I managed to get 5 nites in Upper Pines (site 31). The site looks land locked, but I'm sure there's an easement somewhere. :-)
Re: Valley Campground Reservation Tips?
December 15, 2017 11:15PM
Quote
JohnC
Thanks to those who offered suggestions and PMs. I managed to get 5 nites in Upper Pines (site 31). The site looks land locked, but I'm sure there's an easement somewhere. :-)
Congrats on getting a site. I have only had sites on the upper loop so I can't say what 31 is like.
avatar Re: Valley Campground Reservation Tips?
December 16, 2017 07:51AM
Quote
parklover
Quote
JohnC
Thanks to those who offered suggestions and PMs. I managed to get 5 nites in Upper Pines (site 31). The site looks land locked, but I'm sure there's an easement somewhere. :-)
Congrats on getting a site. I have only had sites on the upper loop so I can't say what 31 is like.

Thanks. I'm sure it will be fine. This year I had 165. I think the only real difference between a good and bad site is the quality of neighbors, which you can't control anyhow.
Re: Valley Campground Reservation Tips?
December 17, 2017 06:13PM
Quote
JohnC
Quote
parklover
Quote
JohnC
Thanks to those who offered suggestions and PMs. I managed to get 5 nites in Upper Pines (site 31). The site looks land locked, but I'm sure there's an easement somewhere. :-)
Congrats on getting a site. I have only had sites on the upper loop so I can't say what 31 is like.

Thanks. I'm sure it will be fine. This year I had 165. I think the only real difference between a good and bad site is the quality of neighbors, which you can't control anyhow.
You got a good point there. We have had wonderful sites with horrible neighbors and so so sites with fantastic people all around us. Any time in Yosemite is a great time.
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