Yosemite Camp 4

rows of tents and bearboxes

Camp 4 (sometimes written as Camp Four) has shared campsites and food lockers.

Google maps has a 360 degree view

and a second view you can scroll around of the original campground section.

The first map below of the original Camp 4 campground has campsites #1- #36, restrooms, the trailhead for the Upper Yosemite Falls hike and the location of the largest boulder within the campground, Columbia Boulder, (or Big Columbia), which has the “world’s most famous boulder problem” – the route named “Midnight Lightning.” Swan Slab is a bit north, off of this map, but you can find the location by using Google maps and searching for, you guessed it, Swan Slab.

The closest Yosemite Valley free shuttle bus stop, number seven, is across the road on the far left of this map. It is NOT actually where the gray square on this first NPS map is, it is farther off the road a bit past the Yosemite Falls day use parking area.

map of Camp Four campground Yosemite National park

(As of fall 2017: “the (Camp Four) parking lot is being expanded, bringing the capacity to 130 vehicles . . . A new comfort station is also being constructed in which showers will be included. This will be the first park campground that will provide shower facilities for people staying in the campground.”)

 

This second NPS map shows (new in 2021) campsites #37 – #61, the expanded parking lot, shower house and restrooms
(the yellow square labeled Bathroom on the map below).
The check-in kiosk is the red square to the left of the parking lot in this map.

simple map

The showers are in separate spaces, from the men’s and women’s restrooms with sinks/toilets. You will find this sign on the door:

sign says unisex shower

 
The new section of the campground has more foot traffic through it of people coming and going from the Yosemite Falls day use parking lot and Yosemite Lodge to eastern Yosemite valley destinations than the original Camp 4 campground section has.

 
Some of the campsites are right next to the restrooms with shower house (the yellow square labeled Bathroom on the map above):

tent and showerhouse building

and some of the campsites are right on Northside drive with traffic noise (the white SUV in the background is on the road):

tent in campsite

 
stones in a row on a wall

Be careful turning into the parking lot, as many pedestrians do not use the crosswalks and walk in the middle of the roadway intersection.

People parking at the Camp 4 campground parking lot MUST have a Camp 4 camp space permit, 24 hours a day.
sign that says camp 4 parking permit required 24 hours

If you have more vehicles than spaces allowed, see parking and traffic jams in Yosemite valley tips.

stones forming a wall

 
Camp 4 (Camp Four) “is extremely popular; it’s very difficult to get a spot.”

In 2021, Yosemite National Park said:

As part of a pilot program in 2021, campsites are available only by daily lottery, one day in advance, via recreation.gov. The lottery is open from midnight to 4 pm Pacific time each day, with results emailed shortly after 4 pm. Applicants can apply for up to seven nights.

There is a non-refundable lottery fee of $10 per application (up to six people).
The camping fee (only charged with a successful lottery application) is $6 per person per night.

(In June 2021, these were proposed fee increases for Camp 4 Campground
2020 fee: $6.00 per person | 2021 proposed fee: $10.00 per person.)

Each person (not just the primary applicant) must check in at the campground using a valid photo ID that matches the entry on the lottery application. (Minors must check in but do not need a photo ID.) Up to six people will be assigned to each campsite; only one group will be allowed in each site.

An announcement from Recreation. gov in May 2021: “Visitors can submit one application per day, with a maximum group size of six people (excluding children 2 or under) including the lottery applicant. All visitors staying at Camp 4 must successfully secure a reservation through the lottery. Applicants will be notified by email after the lottery closes for the day with an update as to whether they were successful or unsuccessful in securing a reservation for the next day.

Successful applicants and their group members should check-in between 8:30am and 4:30pm (PDT) with a government issued photo ID at the Camp 4 kiosk on the date of their reservation. Applicants will then be assigned a campsite which cannot be occupied until 12pm (PDT) or after. For successful applicants who arrive after 4:30pm (PDT), check the Camp 4 kiosk window for campsite assignment.”

The Camp 4 kiosk to check in at and get a campsite assignment is shown on both maps above. In the photo below, here is the view of the kiosk as seen from the parking lot:

small building

At recreation.gov this has been the link: https://www.recreation.gov/camping/campgrounds/10004152

All of the above can change with little notice. Official details from Yosemite National Park are at:
https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/camp4.htm

(Number of people per campsite has always been 6, even unrelated people, but during COVID “only one group will be allowed in each site.” The dates for self-registration versus daily lottery can change from year to year. For example, Camp 4 switched to self-registration on Monday, November 4, 2019, rather than in “Early September.”)

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(From the park website: “Within Yosemite National Park, you may not sleep in your car or RV except in a campsite that you’re registered to stay in (except at Camp 4, where sleeping in cars is not allowed because it’s a walk-in campground). Sleeping in your car along the side of the road is also not allowed.”)

a strip of Yosemite granite

The park notes: “Camp 4 is listed on the National Register of Historic Places because of its nationally significant role in the development of rock climbing as a sport.”

There is fascinating reading on how Yosemite climbers can avoid injuries/stay alive, by Yosemite Search and Rescue (SAR) Ranger John Dill, (including sections on environmental dangers, descents, big wall bivouacs, unplanned bivouacs, loose rock, climbing unroped, leading, falling, learning to lead, the belay chain, helmets, states of mind, rescues, and risks, responsibility and the limits of climbing), at: https://www.friendsofyosar.org/climbing

and read about climbing regulations, the reasons behind them and practical advice on how to follow the rules, including fixed ropes, permits and sleeping on big walls, food storage, trash and human waste while climbing, bouldering, slacklining, and bolting ethics at: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/climbing_regulations.htm

https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/climbingclosures.htm

Scroll around the almost 3,000 foot El Capitan Dawn Wall to look up close at climbers, a base camp of tents secured to the rock and follow their ropes during a 2015 free climb:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/01/14/sports/the-dawn-wall-up-close.html

On May 11, 2021 Yosemite National park announced:

Yosemite National Park To Implement Pilot Overnight Climbing Permit System Beginning Friday, May 21, 2021 – Yosemite News Release Release May 7, 2021
Yosemite National Park – All visitors planning to overnight on any rock climbing routes in Yosemite National Park will be required to obtain an overnight wilderness climbing permit beginning on May 21, 2021. This pilot program is being implemented to better understand how park visitors use Yosemite’s big walls and to help improve climbing wilderness ethics and reduce negative human impacts associated with overnight big wall use.

Overnight climbing permits will be available beginning at 8 a.m. on May 14, 2021. For the duration of the pilot program, these permits will be free. Please visit https://yosemite.org/climbingpermits/ to learn more.

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display of bear getting into car

sign that describes proper food storage

Setting your car alarm will not keep bears from getting into your car, but it can wake up everyone in the vicinity.

At bears you will find:
links to general info about bears,
then practicalities of camping and backpacking around bears, (Food Storage , what to do if you see a bear, how bears get into cars, info for backpackers) and lots of stories about bears getting into cars, tents, camps, etc., mostly geared towards De Anza College Outdoor Club trips around bears in California (especially Yosemite National Park) and Grand Teton National Park.
And the answer to the question:
Why don’t the rangers just move the problem bears?
and the question:
How can I keep a bear out of my campsite? (You can’t, but you can almost always keep it out of your food.)

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Yosemite all-year resident Ravens are bigger than a Crow you might see at home. Ravens are 24 inches long and have a wingspan of 53 inches, Crows are 17.5 inches long and have a wingspan of 39 inches).

raven

Ravens will take any food you leave unattended on a picnic table. Keeping food within arm’s reach is a wise idea at each of the picnic areas, hotels and campgrounds. The park warns: “If your food is stored improperly, you will be cited for improper food storage (fine of up to $5,000).” See also an index to over a dozen park webpages with park laws, rules, regulations and policies.

rocks packed together

And for more choices of where to stay overnight in Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park (heated or unheated wood floored, canvas sided and roofed tent cabin / wood walled cabin without a bath / cabin with a bath / various designs of hotel rooms or campsites, see Yosemite overnight accommodations.

People climb over barriers meant to protect them, or try to swim above waterfalls and as a result slide over waterfalls in Yosemite. fatal, near fatal or close call incidents/accidents in camping, backpacking, climbing and mountaineering has press releases about them.

Cell phones in the wilderness has advice on how/when to use a cell phone to contact 911 in the wilderness and a warning about interference between cell phones, iPods and avalanche beacons.

You can’t always expect a helicopter rescue

They were only taking a selfie

GPS is not infallible

Thunderstorm and lightning safety includes a warning about not using your cell phone or IPod during a storm.

 
There are crucial things wrong with each of these tents.


Don’t buy a cheap tent has reasons why and more examples of tents to NOT bring.
 

Below is a photo taken in December when the campground is not always as full as it is in warmer months.

campground with rows of bear proof food lockers

and here in February when Camp 4 was closed due to falling trees after a major snowstorm, you can see snow covered bearboxes and picnic tables at the bottom of the picture

camp 4 in Yosemite showing snow covered campsites and  cliffs above

and here the view of Half Dome from the Camp 4 parking lot:
Half Dome covered in snow

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Where were they when they got that great picture in Yosemite?


Where is the best place to take a photo that looks like the one on a Yosemite postcard or t-shirt I just bought?
Places to take photos of Half Dome, Bridalveil Fall, El Capitan, Yosemite Falls and Staircase Falls.

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The original Camp 4 was actually in Leidig Meadow, and included part of what is now Yosemite Lodge. Yosemite Place Names.

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The Yosemite National Park rangers would like you to call them if you see a bear in Yosemite,
no matter where it is or what it is doing,
at 1 (209) 372-0322.

If you can, in all the excitement, try to notice if the bear has a tag (usually on the ear), the color of the tag and if possible, the number on it (the tag is large enough that with a telephoto you should be able to read the number).

bear with ear tag

From the Yosemite Daily Report newspaper:
“It is extremely important to remember to yell at bears that are in and around development, even if they are foraging on natural food. Though it is very tempting to get close for a picture, or just to watch these incredible animals, it is important not to give into this urge. Yelling at them if they are in residential areas or near people is critical to keep bears natural fear of humans. Giving bears plenty of space. When bears become too comfortable around people, they will often start causing damage to structures and vehicles, or will even become too bold around people, creating safety concerns.”

NPS bear tracks: bearlogo: from the Keep Bears Wild program NPS bear tracks:

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