Yosemite Place Names


FAQ: I can find Camp 4, but what are people referring to when they talk about Camp 11 or Upper Tecoya??

The Yosemite campgrounds were originally numbered. I’ve read that this system dates back to the 1800s and was formalized after 1906, during the time of the Cavalry. My 1958 topographical map of the valley has some of the numbers.

Camp 4 – (Yosemite Valley free shuttle bus stop #7) Sunnyside Walk-in Campground, is listed in the National Register of Historic places. Read about it at https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/historyculture/upload/Camp-4.PDF where it says “besides its function as a campground, Camp 4 served as the intellectual and social area for Yosemite’s expert climbers and climbing innovators.”

Swan Slab Meadow – is the open area immediately to the east of Camp Four along the trail to Lower Yosemite Falls. Cliffs to the east of Swan Slab meadow and boulders in the vicinity are used for climbing practice. Some of the boulders between Camp 4 and the meadow have names, examples: Columbia, Titanic, Tor and Elegant Gypsy. Along the trail leading from Camp 4 to Upper Yosemite Falls you can find Thriller boulder.

The largest boulder within the campground, at the back behind the rows of campsites, Columbia Boulder, (or Big Columbia) has the “world’s most famous boulder problem” – the route named “Midnight Lightning.”

There is fascinating reading on how climbers can avoid injuries/stay alive, by Ranger John Dill, at: https://www.friendsofyosar.org/climbing

Camp 6 – not a campground anymore, now the Day-Use parking area south of the village (once called Camp Tresidder)

Camp 7 – former (flooded in 1997) Lower River Campground

Camp 9 – was a group campground, then backpackers’ walk-in

Camp 11 – Upper Pines Campground (A.K.A. Clark’s Campground)

Camp 12 – North Pines Campground

Camp 14 – Lower Pines Campground, in the 1960s it had 800 campsites

Camp 15 – former (flooded in 1997) Upper River Campground, in the 1960s it was the only campground with fireplaces.

Camp 16 – Housekeeping Camp

A 1933 map listed all campgrounds as free. It also noted where you could find a telegraph, the bearfeeding platforms, and noted that the Big Oak Flat Road was max. 15 miles per hour, “go down on odd hours only, go up on even hours only.”


Original numbered camps in Yosemite valley included:

Camp 1 in El Capitan meadow

Camp 2 in Bridalveil Meadow

Camp 3 west of Yosemite Village on the south side of the Merced River

Camp 4 originally in Leidig Meadow, including part of where the Yosemite Lodge is currently

Camp 8 above Royal Arch creek, including where the Ahwahnee Hotel is now

Camp 13 never existed because people were superstitious about the number

Camp 17 where Lower Tecoya housing is now at the edge of the Ahwahnee Meadow

Camp 20 is now the Church Bowl


Lamon Campground and Happy Pines Campground were proposed additional campgrounds.


Where did they take that photo on the Yosemite postcard I just bought?

Places to take photos of Bridalveil Fall in Yosemite National Park (with maps)

Places to take photos of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, (with maps)

places to take photos of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park (with maps)

Places to take photos of Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park, (with maps)


The original name for the Ahwahnee (briefly named the Majestic Yosemite Hotel) (Yosemite Valley free shuttle bus stop #3) was to be the “Yosemite All-Year-Round Hotel.”

Much of the exterior is stained concrete, textured to look like redwood, making that part of the hotel, as well as the slate roof, fire resistant.

Photographer Ansel Adams wrote that “the (Ahwahnee) architect had tried to compete with the environment. He lost.”

The original 6th floor roof garden and dance hall were converted to an apartment in 1928 for the Tresidder family (Donald Bertrand Tresidder (then head of the Yosemite Park and Curry Company) and Mary Curry Tresidder). It included a kitchen and dining room/library. The sixth floor penthouse was converted to rooms and suites in 1971, but the kitchen, on the north side, is no longer used. All the parlors and bedrooms can be booked together. The Library Suite parlor (room 602) on the east side, with a Yosemite Falls view and Glacier point view, has leaded glass windows, a fireplace, large dining room table and a living room. The Underwood Room (604) is the bedroom directly attached to the library suite. The Sunroom (Sunporch) parlor (603) on the west side has no fireplace, but has floor to ceiling windows with views in two directions, of Glacier Point and Half Dome. Bedrooms 601 (Mather) and/or 607 (Spencer) can be included with it. The Mary Curry Tresidder Room, (605) with a Yosemite Falls view, and leaded glass windows, has a four-poster canopy bed and a larger than usual bathroom with built-in cabinetry. It used to have access to a maximum 2 person standing-room-only balcony. It does not directly attach to a parlor, but again, the entire sixth floor is sometimes booked together.

Queen Elizabeth stayed in the Mary Curry Tresidder Suite, or actually the whole hotel, in March 1983. All existing reservations at the hotel were cancelled, including some for weddings, because she did not book her stay the usual one year and one day in advance.

The Presidential Suite (President Kennedy stayed in it) on the second floor, south end of the hotel, has a parlor (room 232) with fireplace, a large balcony and can have 1 to 2 to 6 bedrooms included, all accessible to a can-be-made-private hallway to the parlor and balcony.

A large third floor parlor (room 332) with fireplace, but no balcony, can have 1 or 2 to 4 bedrooms included with it.

From the hotel website: “The El Dorado Diggins Suite was at one time a private dining room, a cocktail lounge, and a chapel in the 1940s,” The living room space is step down from the entry hall with a slate floor. (Room 118)

Standard rooms are smaller than other rooms, cost less, but most in the main building have loading dock views and one has no view at all. Most rooms are Classic rooms. A few are Featured, each with a (often shared) balcony. 417 has it’s own, small, private balcony. Ahwahnee room photos and descriptions.

A photo of the Ahwahnee from Glacier Point:

The Ahwahnee had a nine hole, 800 yard golf course, south of the main building, described as “sporty but hazardous” in a book about the Naval Special Hospital that the hotel was turned into (1943 – 1945). https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/historyculture/navy-hospital.htm

Ash Can Alley from the Yosemite webpage: “It wasn’t until 1916, along with the creation of the National Park Service, that winter sports began to truly evolve in Yosemite Valley. Employees created an 800-foot snow slide near Curry Village and enthusiasts were creative in finding devices to slip and slide their way down. Using trash can lids or hotel trays, the run became known as Ash Can Alley. . . drawing large crowds which required up to seven rangers to assist with managing traffic, people, and keeping the pulleys in working order.”

line of people at the top of a snow slope holding trash can lids

Richard J. Hartesveldt, Senior Ranger Naturalist, wrote in a January 1955 article:
BASKET DOME is located on the north rim of Tenaya Canyon directly across from Half Dome and just east of North Dome. The name comes from the Indian legend of Half Dome, in which the harried wife, Tis-sa-ack, fled from her husband, Nangus, and tossed aside her burden basket which landed upside down and turned to stone.”

Big Oak Flat Road is from the park boundary near the Big Oak Flat Entrance to the El Portal Road. Richard J. Hartesveldt, Senior Ranger Naturalist, wrote in a January 1955 article that Big Oak Flat Road “was the second road built into Yosemite Valley from Knights Ferry, through Chinese Camp and Big Oak Flat. It was built to the Hodgden Ranch in 1870 and was completed by the Yosemite Turnpike Company to the Valley floor on July 17, 1874. The settlement of Big Oak Flat was named for a large valley oak, (Quercus lobata) 11 feet in diameter. According to (James) “Hutchings the tree had fallen in 1886.”

Big Trees Lodge was briefly the name of the Wawona Hotel during a lawsuit.

Boy’s Town was a staff housing area at Curry. You see the tents as you go along the road between the Curry orchard and Lower Pines Campground.

Bug Camp at Tuolumne is an Insect Research Station.

Camp AE Wood, which became the Wawona Campground (from the Yosemite Park webpage: “Camp AE Wood was home not only to the Cavalrymen who protected the young park, but also to the very first marked nature trail in the national park system. In 1904 acting superintendent Major John Bigelow, Jr. created an arboretum next to the camp, complete with a footbridge, a path, benches, and signs identifying plants and trees by their Latin names. Three men were tasked with the construction and upkeep of the arboretum; all three were buffalo soldiers, members of an African American troop of the Cavalry.”

Camp Yosemite, later Camp Lost Arrow, was a military post at the base of Yosemite fall.

Chinquapin was named after Chinquapin Creek, which was named after the bush Sierra Chinquapin (Chrysolepis sempervirens).

Chowchilla Mountain Road is from Wawona Road to the park boundary.

Cooks Meadow has multitudes of views.

Cosmopolitan Bath House and Saloon

had “ladies’ parlor, a gentleman’s reading-room furnished with the latest newspapers of Eastern and Western cities, full-size billiard tables, carpeted baths, elegant glassware and a barber-shop . . .”

“Visitors to Yosemite Valley found respite at the Cosmopolitan Bathhouse & Saloon . . . known as a spot where visitors could get an excellent bath of hot or cold water at any hour of the day, the Cosmopolitan was furnished extravagantly with billiard tables, full-length mirrors, bathtubs, and a fully-stocked bar. The Cosmopolitan attracted many travelers who appreciated its unexpected comforts. Wealthy individuals from the northeastern United States, Californians, and a large number of foreigners made up the majority of visitors It operated from 1871 to 1884.”


Crane Flat Complex, Tamarac Complex and Mariposa Complex refer to the three basic cultural complexes of the original people who lived in the Yosemite area, as early as 1000 B.C.


Camp Curry, now Curry Village (briefly named Half Dome Village) was originally seven tents. In 1899 “a good bed and clean napkin with every meal” could be had for $2 a day. By “1922, Camp Curry had grown to 650 tents, 60 rooms in cottages, a cafeteria, a bakery, an ice plant, a candy kitchen, soda fountain, a studio, laundry, bathhouses, pool, auditorium, bowling alley, pool hall, a post office, and a store.”

A multitude of photos from the October 2008 rockfalls that eventually closed 233 cabins, etc. and 43 staff housing units can be seen at:


Read about Jennie Foster Curry at https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/historyculture/women.htm

The old Curry dump site is east of Curry Village.

The Curry orchard is now a day-use parking area.

Devil’s Bathtub or The Bathtub is a little soaking pool with comparatively warm water in the rocks at the base of Royal Arches Cascade, relatively safe some times of the year.

El Cap Crossover (El Capitan Drive) is the road section between Northside and Southside drives that goes over the El Capitan bridge.

El Portal Road is from the park boundary west of the Arch Rock Entrance to Pohono Bridge.

The Ferguson rock slide closed highway 140, and that section of the highway is one way at a time, with traffic lights. There is a vehicle size limit. One day a driver of an oversized vehicle ignored the size restrictions, got stuck and closed the road to everyone for hours.

The two story Utility Building #527 at the back of Yosemite Village, is also named Fort Yosemite.

Gentry Station was the last station on the original Big Oak Flat road, on a cliff overlooking the Merced River canyon.

16 mile long Glacier Point Road is from Chinquapin to Glacier Point. In the winter it is sometimes referred to as the Badger Pass road. After the ski resort closes at the end of winter, and when plowing the road starts, a gate at Chinquapin is closed and locked. Bicycling is not allowed on the road during plowing operations.

Half Dome Village was briefly the name of Curry village during a lawsuit.

Happy Isles is at Yosemite Valley free Shuttle Bus stop number 16. Richard J. Hartesveldt, Senior Ranger Naturalist, wrote in a January 1955 article that the Happy Isles “were earlier called Island Rapids by James Hutchings. The name, Happy Isles was given by W. E. Dennison, Guardian of Yosemite Valley in 1885. “—no one can visit them without for the while forgetting the grinding strife of his world and being happy.”

Old Hutchings View “is located adjacent to the southwest corner of Sentinel Bridge. This vista looks across the Merced River to Yosemite Falls. This is the view that originated from the Hutchings House (also called the Upper Hotel) that was across Southside Drive to the south. The original hotel began in 1859, and was added onto during the tenure of James Hutchings.” (Description from NPS.)

Inspiration Point is above Yosemite Valley right next to a tunnel on the Wawona road.

The jail is referred to by some as the John Muir Hotel.

Kenneyville was a stables complex where the Ahwahnee was eventually built.

The Tioga Road was originally the Great Sierra Wagon Road, built in 1882, and with the help of the Sierra Club, opened to motorists in 1915 as the Tioga Road.

La Casa Nevada, originally the Alpine House, was at the base of Nevada fall.

Le Conte Memorial, (Yosemite Valley free shuttle bus stop #12) (Yosemite Conservation Heritage Center), built by the Sierra Club in Tudor Revival design, was named after Joseph LeConte, a University of California geology professor. It was originally built further up hill at Curry Village but eventually moved (about 15 years after) by Mary Curry so she could expand Curry Village. Photographer Ansel Adams was a caretaker for the LeConte Memorial Lodge for a few years. (The Ansel Adams gallery is near the visitor center at shuttle stops 5 and 9.)

Lembert Dome in Tuolumne Meadows is a do-able day hike.

The Majestic Yosemite Hotel was briefly the name of the Ahwahnee during a lawsuit.

McCauley Cabin is west of Lee Vining at Tuolumne Meadows

Miller Cascade is on the Dana Fork of the Tuolumne River, near (and often heard from) Tuolumne Meadows Lodge.

Miwok round houses,cabins can be found at the https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/historyculture/indian-village-of-the-ahwahnee.htm The word “Miwok” is also spelled “Miwuk” or “Me-Wuk.” Translated as “people” or “Indian people,” it is used to identify people who are descended from any one of the several different Miwok groups in California.

Mirror Lake is no longer always full of enough water to reflect Half Dome

Monroe Meadows – now the downhill ski area at Yosemite Ski and Snow area (formerly named Badger Pass).

Mount Hoffman is just about the geographical center of Yosemite. From the top, or near the top, you can see Tenaya Peak above Tenaya lake, and along the skyline or slightly below, left to right, Simmons Peak, Vogelsang Peak, Mt Lyell, Mt Maclure, Mt. Florence, Mt Ansel Adams, Foerster Peak, Long Mtn, Isberg Peak, Post peak, Triple Divide Peak, Mt. Clark, Gray Peak, Clouds Rest, Buena Vista Crest, Quarter Domes, Buena Vista Peak, Mt Starr King, Horse Ridge and Half Dome (with binoculars or a good telephoto you can see the hikers on the cables).

The domes viewable down at Tuolumne Meadows from Mount Hoffman are (left to right) Pothole Dome, Fairview Dome and Lembert Dome.

Above Tuolumne Meadows and across to Tenaya Lake, from left to right, you might be able to identify:

Gaylor Peak, Tioga Pass, Dana Plateau, Mt Dana, Mt Gibbs, Cathedral Peak, Unicorn Peak, Lower Cathedral Lake, Johnson Peak, Cockscomb, Koip Peak, Echo Peaks, Blacktop Peak, Tresidder Peak, Rafferty Peak, Matthes Crest and Donohue Peak.

Looking from Tuolumne Meadows, moving right to left towards the northeast you can see: White Mountian, Ragged Peak, Mt Conness, Sheep peak, Shepard crest, Tuolumne Peak, Virginia Mtn. and Whorl Mtn.

“the Narrows” is a section of El Portal Road between Pohono Bridge and the Big Oak Flat intersection, also described as a quarter-mile section of road upstream of the Big Oak Flat Road.

Northside Drive is the main road on the north of the valley. It runs from the Curry Village intersection to Pohono Bridge.

Ostrander Ski Hut, completed in 1941, was the last building erected in Yosemite by the Civilian Conservation Corps. You can ski in and stay overnight https://www.yosemiteconservancy.org/ostrander-ski-hut “All revenue from overnight fees is used to operate the ski hut . . . This trip should not be made by novice skiers.”

Priest Station is at the top of Priest Grade on the way to Yosemite on highway 120. In 1855 it was named the Rattlesnake store and expanded into a hotel, a rooming house for miners, a carriage house, stable, barns and out-buildings.

Ranger’s Club is the name for a 2 story historic building across from the Yosemite Valley Administration Building.


Rancheria Flat, Railroad Flat and Abbieville (Hennessey’s Ranch) are in the El Portal Administrative site.

River Straight refers to the section of road between the intersection at Curry Village (briefly named Half Dome Village) and the intersection at the Day-Use parking area south of the village.

Royal Arches Meadow is north of North Pines campground / Tenaya creek and east of Backpackers (Backpackers walk-in) campground.

From Sentinel Dome you can see Half Dome, Mount Watkins, Tressider Peak, Clouds Rest, Kuna Crest, Fletcher Peak, Vogelsang Peak, Mount Watkins, Cathedral peak, Ahwiyah Point, Quarter Domes, and Little Yosemite Valley and Tenaya Canyon and each of these is identified at:

Southside Drive is the (usually mostly one-way) main road on the south of the valley. It runs from the Pohono Bridge to the three way intersection adjacent to Upper and Lower Pines Campgrounds.

Stoneman House at Camp Curry (Yosemite Valley free shuttle bus stop #13 / #13B), was originally a dance hall.

Taft Toe is at the base of Taft Point, at the south end of El Cap crossover.

Tecoya (Upper, Middle and Lower) are park housing areas, around and north of the Village store and Administration area. Lower Tecoya is employee housing behind the valley garage and at the edge of the Ahwahnee Meadow. Upper Tecoya and Middle Tecoya (behind the Medical Clinic) are employee housing north of that. There are also Tecoya Dormitories, south of all of these. Tecoya was an original name for North Dome.

Thousands Cabins employee housing is right across the road from the Lodge pool.

Tioga Road is from Crane Flat intersection to Tioga Pass at the east park boundary.

The toboggan run at Curry was east of the main development and photos show it had a great view of Half Dome.

Too-lool-a-we-ack was an early reference to Illilouette Fall.

Train Wreck is a name for employee housing trailers behind Yosemite Lodge.

Tunnel View is just above Yosemite valley when you come on highway 40:

people at edge of a parking lot with view beyond

The Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center was originally a Civilian Conservation Corps mess hall for a road crew camp.

The Tuolumne Meadows campground reservation office for the spring, summer and fall months becomes the Tuolumne Meadows ski hut in the winter.

The U.S. District Courthouse is up a road above Yosemite Village.

front of building

Someone made an addition to a sign out front of the Yosemite Courthouse at the left of the photo above, to tell people where their improperly parked, then towed, vehicle could be reclaimed:

sign that says towed vehicles may be reclaimed at Church of the sub-genius

Village Drive is the name of the shuttle bus route road that runs in front of the Valley Visitor Center (Yosemite Valley free shuttle bus stop #5) .

Wahhoga (or Wah-hoga) was the site of the last historically occupied Indian Village in Yosemite Valley (just west of Camp 4). It was removed in 1969.

Washburn Point is on the Glacier Point road:

NPS map with roads, topography

Wawona Road is from the park boundary near the South Entrance to Southside Drive in Yosemite Valley.

road map with Merced river

Wawona from the Yosemite webpage: “One of several explanations of how Wawona got its name is cited in the book of The Giant Sequoia of the Sierra Nevada which claims that Wawona was named in the Miwok tongue as “who-who’nau”. “Wawona” represented the hoot of an owl which was considered to be the guardian spirit of the sequoia trees. Later this name was adopted by the hotel and community located a few miles north of the grove which still retains the name. This story demonstrates a connection between the native cultures of the region and European pioneers who later settled in this area of Yosemite.”

Wosky brown” refers to the warm brown color of park service buildings recommended by John Wosky, a NPS landscape architect in the 1930s.

Wosky Pond is about 2 miles west of the Yosemite Lodge on Northside Drive with views of Cathedral Spires and Cathedral Rocks.

Yosemite has also been spelled (and/or pronounced) “Yohamite valley,” Yo-hem-i-ty valley, “yo’hem-iteh,” “Yo Semity,” “Yo Semite,” and “Yo-sem-i-ty.”

Yosemite Lodge Pine and Oak cabins were removed after being damaged by the 1997 flood

Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area was briefly the name of the Badger Pass ski area during a lawsuit.


Especially if you’ve never been to Yosemite, the Yosemite newspaper has lots of the most current safety info, a calendar of park activities including Ranger walks, and hours of operation for visitor centers, museums, stores.



Maps of Yosemite are at:


Webcams brought to you by the Yosemite Conservancy, a non-profit park support group:



The first Vogelsang High Sierra Camp, on the north shore of Boothe Lake, was moved due to “intolerable” mosquitoes.

In 1918 there was a zoo of sorts in the valley, with three orphaned mountain lion cubs and a black bear cub.

Leidig Meadow once had an oval race track for horse races.

In the late 1800s people spelled it Yo-Semite, Yo Semite or Yo-Hamite.

The Four Mile trail had a toll of one dollar when it was first built and a part of the Vernal Falls trail cost 75 cents.

In June 1900 the first automobile arrived in Yosemite Valley (a Locomobile).

In the 1960s there was still telegraph service in Yosemite Valley, but only in the summer.