The Outdoor Club hears from many people in advance of trips who are very interested, but most finally decide to join trips close to when the trip starts.
But for some trips, campsites go on sale as far as 6 months before the trip.
This page details how many campsites will be needed for three different Outdoor Club trips:
a group campsite, in, for example, Yosemite,
campsites for the winter Yosemite trip,
and campsites for the between-summer and fall quarter trip to Grand Teton National park
For trips when the club gets a GROUP CAMPSITE, the students who want to go on the trip will all be staying at that site. There will be a limit on the number of people. We usually say that the first people fully signed up and fully paid for the trip get priority of going on the trip. We do not have waitlists. Most of the group campsites also have a limit on the number of vehicles. We usually say that the vehicles that can park at the campsite will include the faculty advisor and the trailer they are towing ( kayak trailer, gear hauler as needed) and they next priority will go to the largest carpools in the order they sign up for the trip. Other smaller carpools will drop of their gear and park at a overflow parking lot, or along the main road wherever it is legal. If a carpool that said they would have six people, and were among the first to sign up, arrives with only 2 people, a different large carpool will then have priority for a parking space.
The Outdoor Club does not get campsites, hotel rooms, etc. for the winter Yosemite trip.
Individual students who want to go choose their overnight accommodation and get it, often planning to share with others, whether a campsite, cabin or hotel room.
For the Yosemite winter trip, campsites come up for reservations months in advance, on a schedule. For example, campsites for January 15 through February 14 go on sale Sept. 15. ( Please do double check this at https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/camping.htm )
To get a campsite in Yosemite Valley in the summer, people need to be online the moment campsites become available, as they sell out quickly. For winter (except for holiday weekends, etc.), people often find that they can get campsites shortly before they want to do a trip. But people enjoy camping in sites next to their new friends, so many plan to get sites early.
Trip logistics of the Grand Teton National Park trip
are the choice of each person on the trip, including:
How long you stay (a long weekend, a couple of weeks or often in the past people have made the drive home into some variation of a nine-national-parks-plus-Las Vegas-or-Seattle-in-six-days-road trip.
Where you stay, – It can be difficult to coordinate timing of activities if we don’t all stay in the same area, so we’ve all stayed at Colter Bay for at least part of the time on previous trips.
The Outdoor Club does not get campsites, cabins, etc. for the August Grand Teton National Park trip. Individual students who want to go choose their overnight accommodation and get it, often planning to share with others, whether a campsite, tent cabin or cabin.
For the Grand Teton trip, campsites go up for reservations 6 months in advance, and most people who will end up coming on the trip have not made up their minds that far in advance, (or might not have even heard about the trip 6 months in advance).
It is a lot more fun to have campsites in a row in the best part of the campground. We go for sites in a tents-only loop (no motorhome generator noise). The loop also is at a slightly higher elevation that we have found has better cell phone reception (we drove around and checked) . It is a short walk to the pay showers, laundromat with free wifi, store, restaurants. We try to get campsites around the outside edge of the loop, with forest behind and fewer nearby neighbors, certainly not in the center of the loop next to the restroom and dumpster noise, or with a road and traffic noise right behind a site. People have camped in these previous years and liked them the best.
And getting these best sites is much more possible if people get the sites 6 months in advance when they first become available.
To end up having enough campsites, people need to get more campsites than they might think they will need.
The campsites hold a maximum 6 people and two vehicles. We often end up getting quite a few, for the full two weeks that is the maximum at Colter Bay campground. Close to the start of the adventure, some of the days and some of the campsites will be cancelled if they are not needed.
People need to remember that they are booking 2 parking spaces at each campsite, not just 6 people at each campsite. We do often have three person carpools, as many sedans that can seat four are better with only three people so there is space for gear, multiple ice chests, etc. Carpool FAQs
Two of these three person carpools are the correct number of people / vehicles for one campsite. Sometimes people want to drive with only two people in their vehicle. We have also regularly had people driving by themselves, for example had other plans of places / relatives to visit and did not want to carpool, including a guy who was going back east to his new college after the trip. If people only made reservations for four campsites there could turn out to be not space for 24 people (4 campsites times 6 people), but for only 12 people in the maximum 8 cars that would be allowed in the sites, so we initially aim for five campsites.
Some people do not want to share one bear-proof-if-used-properly food locker between six people and would rather have only four people in their campsite.
There have been campsites available at the last moment somewhere in the park, (maybe miles from where the main group is) every year we have gone (with the exception of the total solar eclipse) but again, it is more fun to have campsites in the same area. The Outdoor Club hears from many people in advance of trips who are very interested, but most finally decide to join trips close to when the trip starts, so people who decide well in advance to go on the trip, get more campsites than they can personally use, so the group can camp together in the same area.