Yosemite valley overnight accommodations (cabins, tent cabins, hotel rooms, campgrounds)

You have a number of lodging choices of where to stay overnight in Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park (wood walled cabin without a bath / heated or unheated wood floored, canvas sided and roofed tent cabin / cabin with a bath / various designs of hotel rooms / suites or campsites).

wood-walled cabin without a bath, canvas tent cabin, wood walled cabin with a bath

luxury or generic hotel rooms, suites with a bath

 

The Ahwahnee: 121 units
Yosemite Valley Lodge: 245 units
Curry Village: 482 units
Housekeeping Camp: 266 units
Yosemite Valley Family Camp Sites: 459 sites accommodating 2,754 people

Details about each of these are below.

The cost of overnight accommodations is not included in your park entrance fee and

reservations (see links below) should be made well in advance.

(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.”)

– You can download an App with “information about park services and programs, as well as an interactive map designed to help visitors locate iconic features, scenic spots, trailheads and amenities. . .”

“. . . Most app content can be downloaded before arriving in the park and used offline in areas of limited cell service”

Cell phone service is NOT available in all parts of Yosemite.
It is usually okay in the vicinity of the main visitor center.
Many years (checking in 2017 to 2019) we got 4 bars for Verizon and 3 bars for AT&T near the main visitor center, versus 2 bars for each at the Ahwahnee and 2 bars Verizon, 1 bar AT&T in Upper Pines campground, at the Yosemite Valley Lodge, Curry Village and some other locations in East Yosemite Valley.

In Feb and May 2022, we got 2 bars for Verizon and 1 bar for AT&T at almost all east Yosemite Valley locations including the Ahwahnee, in Upper Pines campground, Happy Isles, at the Yosemite Valley Lodge, Curry Village and at Yosemite Village locations such as the grocery and Visitor Center.

The park service said: “Cell phone coverage in Yosemite is spotty . . . Cell service is often impacted during daily peak visitation by the large number of people trying to access limited service; if you have four bars of service, but you can’t get a signal, this is why . . . cell coverage depends on your phone, the cloud cover and other seemingly mysterious factors and is not always reliable. ”

There is free wi-fi at some accommodations / locations. Internet service is weak at best, better than in Sequoia National park, but not as good as in Grand Teton National Park. “WiFi bandwidth is limited in Yosemite National Park. The WiFi is only recommended for checking email or some (very) light web browsing. Don’t expect to be able to stream movies or download/upload large files.”

 

Bears do break in to vehicles in Yosemite National Park (all year) and food storage rules apply all over the park, as in this sign at a day-use parking lot:

A sign that says: Proper food storage required. Bears frequent this area. Vehicles in violation may be impounded and the owner may be cited. All food must be stored properly including ice chests, containers, toiletries, and trash. DURING THE DAY. Store food in a food locker if possible. Close vehicle windows if food is in your vehicle. DO NOT leave food visible in your vehicle. DO NOT store food in open bed of a pickup truck. AFTER DARK. All food must be stored in a food locker. DO NOT store food in your vehicle. NO CAMPING OR SLEEPING IN VEHICLES

Some Yosemite accommodations require the use of a bearbox to store food, toiletries etc.

In others you need to be careful that an ice chest does not show to a bear (or . . .) looking in a window. You need to not only have enough ice chests for all the fruit, milk, yogurt etc., but also either large securely lidded containers or lidded bins for cookies/crackers/granola bars/popcorn/chips/bread that you don’t want the deer mice to nibble on. table with large containers on it

Likewise, valuables left on a shelf, table, desk in a hotel room / cabin / cottage / vehicle that show through a window are an invitation to a thief.

sign that says bears are very active

sign says when staying in a cabin or room take all food inside with you

Your overnight accommodation may have you initial and sign a statement when you check in that says, in part: ” I/we will keep all food or other scented items that may attract wildlife sealed and stored according to park regulations. I/we will not leave any food inside of any vehicles.” 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.

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

Caw vs. Croak: Inside the Calls of Crows and Ravens

Ravens will take any food you leave unattended on a picnic table, even flipping metal room service dish covers off your plate. Keeping food within arm’s reach is a wise idea at each of the outside dining venues, hotels, picnic areas, campgrounds and where you stop to eat on a trail. 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.

Raccoons and other animals can climb up to hotel room balconies, so no, you can’t store your ice chest or other food on your balcony. Raccoons learn how to unzip tent doors and have torn screens off room windows if you leave your window open when you are not in the room.

rocks packed together

Smoking is strictly prohibited at all accommodations and buildings in Yosemite.”
Your overnight accommodation may have you initial and sign a statement when you check in that says, in part: “I/we understand Yosemite National Park Lodges are smoke-free environments. A $250 fee will be assessed for smoking in a guest room. Designated outdoor smoking areas are available.”

PETS

Your overnight accommodation may have you initial and sign a statement when you check in that says, in part: “I/we understand that pets are not allowed in Yosemite National Park lodging, except service animals.”

And your pet is also not allowed on the free shuttle buses or on trails.

sign that says no pets allowed on Yosemite buses

a narrow band of sunset reflected on the water

Some winters they offer a “Winter Fun pass” which might include the following: “Lift ticket/gear rental at Badger Pass Ski Area. Ice skating pass/skate rental for Curry Village Ice Rink. Rental for cross-country ski gear at Badger Pass Ski Area. Rental for snowshoes at Badger Pass Ski Area. Two-hour Valley Floor Tour – guest will need to reserve tickets for tour time of their choice. Additional Winter Fun passes can be purchased.” The prices for with the fun package or without it will show up at the reservations availability webpage. If you make your reservations well in advance before they make the offer you might get an email closer to when you are coming asking if you want to upgrade.

a narrow band of sunset clouds

The park service notes that Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations are located only in Yosemite Valley at:
“The Ahwahnee (one Tesla and one level 1)
You do not need to be a guest at the hotel to charge your vehicle, however, you must move your vehicle from the space once it is finished charging
Village Store (Yosemite Village) (one level 2)
Yosemite Valley Lodge (eight level 2)
Located by Alder building and between Juniper and Laurel buildings.”

full moon in clouds

This page has the following descriptions, in this order:

Restaurants

Parking

tent cabins at Curry Village (Curry Village was briefly named Half Dome Village)

wood walled cabins without a bath at Curry Village

log and wood walled cabins with a bath at Curry Village

‘Stoneman Cottage’ hotel-type rooms with a bath at Curry Village

Curry Village Cabin 819

Curry Village general info

Yosemite Valley Lodge

Ahwahnee Hotel (briefly named the Majestic Yosemite Hotel)

Housekeeping Camp

Camping in Yosemite Valley campgrounds that take reservations

Camping in the Yosemite Valley Camp 4 (sometimes written Camp Four)

Camping in backpacker’s walk-in

Notes about Yosemite Valley free shuttle bus stops for overnight accommodations to save you time.

Yosemite National Park entrance fee

carved wood ceiling beam
To look at room reservations availability:

https://www.travelyosemite.com/lodging/yosemite-lodging-experience/

At the top right corner click on the dark blue square CHECK RATES, and the box where it says

“Plan Your Trip Now”

choose “All Yosemite Lodging”

Leave it set for 2 adults to get a larger list of options, but realize
some rooms only hold 2 people – rollaway beds will not fit or are not available,

and there may be an additional small charge per person for more than 2 adults at some of the lodgings.
And note that some extra packages, such as a Winter Fun package, or as a part of a special dining event, cost extra.

(OR instead of All Yosemite Lodging, you can search for rooms in Yosemite Valley only at Curry Village, Housekeeping Camp, the Ahwahnee Hotel, or Yosemite Valley Lodge

or outside Yosemite valley at the Wawona Hotel, Tuolumne Meadows Lodge or White Wolf Lodge.)

I suggest you book your room(s) directly through the hotel(s) at the above link and book campsites directly through the recreation.gov page, see info at https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/nrrs.htm

People have searched for Ahwahnee reservations and found a cabin, cottage, homestead cottage, bunkhouse, glamping, hideaway, cozy family cabin, – located in the town of Ahwahnee, California. Some of them thought they were getting a reservation for the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Valley and have shown up at the front desk, only to be turned away when the hotel is full (and turned away from the park when all overnight accommodations and campgrounds are full, which can be often in warm months and holiday weekends).

(According to CSAA, the town of Ahwahnee is 1 hour and 36 minutes / 53.9 miles from the Ahwahnee Hotel. Yosemite Forks is a town 1 hour and 19 minutes / 41.4 miles from Yosemite valley.)

Some rentals / campsites found through a Yosemite search (but not all of them) make it clear they are “near” Yosemite, or “just outside” Yosemite, or “by” Yosemite, even “at Yosemite” but not in the park.

Some rentals / campgrounds outside of the park do not mention when Yosemite National Park has the policy that a “reservation is required to drive into or through Yosemite during peak hours. . .”

Other searches have turned up links to “top-rated . . . best . . . most popular . . . cabins, cottages, bunkhouse, glamping, campsites for rent in Yosemite Valley” that are not actually in Yosemite Valley, but are on private land within Yosemite, near the Foresta or Wawona area, (12 to 27 miles from Yosemite valley)
or not in Yosemite National Park at all, but in a small “town” named Yosemite Valley,

or just outside the park in Groveland, (CSAA says 1 hour 14 minutes, 48 miles to Yosemite valley)
or Mariposa, (CSAA says 1 hour 10 minutes, 43.6 miles to Yosemite valley).

Some places you discover on a search offer photos of Half Dome, El Capitan or Yosemite Falls that could cause people not familiar with Yosemite to think they would get a view of, or at least be near these places.

People have also done a search and thought they had a reservation for the Yosemite Lodge (aka Yosemite Valley Lodge) in Yosemite National Park, and have shown up at the front desk, but the hotel they had a reservation for was the Yosemite View Lodge, 14 ½ miles away, outside the park.

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Restaurants in Yosemite valley

;
Menus, locations and details are at Yosemite valley restaurants, coffee bars, cafeterias, pizza, food service and groceries including

reservations (or not)

inside or outside seating (or both)

links to hours of operation (which depends on the time of year),

for any / all of the dining and grocery stores at, or near to, the overnight accommodations at this webpage.

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row of cars along road

Parking:

– – – – – – Whenever you park in an area you are not familiar with, take a photo on your smart-enough phone, standing a bit away from where you parked, so you can find your vehicle.- – – – – –

All campsites except in Camp Four and Backpackers walk-in have parking AT each campsite.

At the Lodge and Curry Village cabins with a bath there are some UN-assigned parking spaces near or next to most buildings.

A few of the Curry Village tent-cabins are very near potential parking spaces, but these UN-assigned parking spaces might be occupied by someone else when you arrive.

At the Ahwahnee hotel (briefly named the Majestic Yosemite Hotel) there are some UN-assigned parking spaces (again that might be occupied by someone else when you arrive) and the hotel has bellmen/ valet parking at a drop off entrance (“Porte Cochère” covered, out-of-the-weather) to the main building, but the cottages (AKA cabins, bungalows) are a walk out in the weather.

See details about (day-use parking) parking in Yosemite without an overnight accommodation and the sometimes designated overnight parking available at overnight accommodations
Parking and Traffic Jams in Yosemite Valley Tips and Tricks.

 

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Only some Yosemite accommodations have TVs. All the Ahwahnee Hotel rooms have large screen televisions with an in-house TV channel that plays videos from the Yosemite Conservancy Nature Notes series. You can “upgrade” your lower cost overnight accommodation by downloading the nature video series in advance of your trip and then watch them on your laptop.

Yosemite Nature Notes

You can watch or download the videos at:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL890957589F8403A4

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And see weddings: https://www.travelyosemite.com/media/381361/yosemite-weddings-and-social-events_brochure.pdf

and group / corporate meetings: https://www.travelyosemite.com/media/381362/yosemite-group-and-corporate-meetings_brochure.pdf

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cloudy sky

tent cabins at Curry Village

– – – those without camping gear (or who just want to be more comfortable) might choose a wood-floored, canvas roofed/sided tent cabin, (unheated or heated – “Heat is turned off the Friday before Memorial Day and turned on the Tuesday after Labor Day” – , with clean sheets and blankets, but bring a really good sleeping bag, they have a few sleeping bags for rent but not that many) with various double bed and single bed combinations, electric lighting, restroom/showers nearby, lounge with free guest WiFi, but no phones / TV/ mini fridge. (Renting a tent cabin could be less expensive than renting a good tent and other required winter camping gear) The Curry Village website did not mention that the heated tent cabins have electric outlets. I was told that yes, they do, but you have to unplug the heater fan to use the electric plug to, for example, charge your cell phone. From this description you can tell this will not be “glamping” – glamorous camping that some tent cabin accommodations outside of Yosemite offer.

Detailed instructions and advice for first time visitors to have a better vacation in these tent cabins includes choosing a cabin and using the tent cabins in cold weather.

The logistics section includes this: When you get there, or at least before you go to sleep, stand on the front porch of your cabin and figure out where the nearest restroom is. In the dark, even with a flashlight or headlamp, finding your way there could leave you lost or at least a bit frustrated. The restroom is between which other tents / buildings? Which end is the men’s restroom and which end the women’s? Which part of the side / end is which entrance? What route should you take to miss the large puddles that could need wading through if it rains much more? (Trying to get into a linen storage building you mistake for a restroom in the middle of the night, or heading for an actual restroom that is not open in the off-season is no fun.)

Below (photo courtesy of the NPS) are some of the canvas tent cabins and a bear that broke into one people left food in. Always use the bearboxes provided at each tent cabin and campsite.

bear outside a canvas tent cabin

Below are Curry Village canvas tent cabin interiors.

two beds, shelves and a chair in a canvas tent cabin

people playing poker in a canvas walled tent cabin

Here is a link to a map at their website, of all the tent cabins / cabins without a bath (in white) and wood walled cabins with a bath (in orange) /shower house/restrooms/pool/restaurants and more.

https://www.travelyosemite.com/media/822820/curry-village-property-map-20190802.pdf

Notice which tent cabins are right next to restrooms for convenience in the weather but potential noise all night, or which are actually a longer walk to restrooms.

Notice that tent cabins 1-9 are nearest to the bus stop for the free bus to the ski resort and nearest to the guest lounge, and notice that they are quite close to each other and to restrooms:

restroom and tent cabins

(The restroom building on the left in the photo above has a individual restroom up the ramp for a wheelchair on the end of the building shown in the photo, and at the other end of the building, many more stalls / sinks.)

Try to choose a tent cabin to ask for that does not have a potentially-noisy-any-time-of-the-day-or-night metal trash bin next to it, as in the large brown bin near the right hand side of this photo:
row of canvas tents

and note which tent cabins are very close to each other, (and bring good quality earplugs, not the simple foam ones, but the ones with a thicker wax-like quality, often made with silicon putty):

row of backside of tent cabins very near each other

Some of the canvas tent cabins are heated and cost more. I was told that the unheated tents (with shared bathrooms/showers in the vicinity) are (on the map), 1-5, 466-482, 501-578, 601-691 & 701-752, and that the heated tents (with shared bathrooms/showers in the vicinity) are 6-9, 401-465, 214-299, 301-345.

Also note when you look at the map that a few Curry Village tent cabins are right on an access road and will have car / truck noise and headlights (especially #345, #344, #343).

Some tent cabins have trees for some shade, some do not:
tent cabins, some out in the open, some under trees

All the canvas tent cabins have bearboxes (food storage lockers).

Lots of details to make your stay in a tent cabin more fun are at: Yosemite valley tent cabins tips and tricks

Google maps 360 degree view of part of the tent cabins area, and another view.

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wood walled cabins without a bath
at Curry Village (also sometimes known as bungalettes).

On the map, the boxes numbered in the 1100s (1101 – 1114) are wood walled cabins with two double beds, electrical outlets, and with some of them, a small covered front porch you can stand on and shake water off your rain jacket, etc. before you enter the cabin (shared restroom /showers very nearby).

Detailed instructions and advice for first time visitors to have a better vacation in the Curry Village canvas- walled tent cabins has advice that applies to the wood walled cabins. For example, the logistics section includes this: “When you get there, or at least before you go to sleep, stand on the front porch of your cabin and figure out where the nearest restroom is. In the dark, even with a flashlight or headlamp, finding your way there could leave you lost or at least a bit frustrated. The restroom is between which other tents / buildings? Which end is the men’s restroom and which end the women’s? Which part of the side / end is the entrance? What route should you take to miss the large puddles that could need wading through if it rains much more? (Trying to get into a linen storage building you mistake for a restroom in the middle of the night, or heading for an actual restroom that is not open in the off-season is no fun.)”

cabins and picnic table

end of bed chest of drawers

beds in cabin

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log and wood walled cabins
with a bath at Curry Village

2 cabins and sign warning of bear damage

are numbered 1A-22B on the map. They are in duplex and fourplex configurations and all share a wall with at least one other cabin, and each has it’s own bathroom with a shower.

original architectural drawing of the 1A, 1B, 1C & 1D fourplex:

floorplan and 2 elevation drawings

No need for a bearbox (food storage locker) to store food, as you are allowed to keep food in these cabins, but please keep it away from view by a bear in the windows and do not leave out chips, boxes of crackers, etc. that mice could get into. (Suggest ice chests (no ice) with a heavy lid or plastic bins with lids that clip on.)

cabin with benches outside

The layout on the map would make you think that the row of cabins at the back (orange boxes 17A to 22B) look out to the forest, but there is a row of cabins now only used for storage behind them that do not show on the map.

Note that at many of the lower cost units there is no room between at least one of the double beds and the wall.

hotel room with two double beds, one right next to the wall with no space to walk by

bed and dresser

Google street view of cabins with a bath

They have more convenient (not-assigned and could be full when you arrive) parking than the tent cabins

row of buildings and a parking lot aerial photo

Google maps 360 degree view of some of the Curry Village cabins with a bath and the parking lot closest to them.

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‘Stoneman Cottage’
at Curry Village

(also known as Stoneman House, originally the Curry Village Dance Pavilion) has hotel-type rooms each with it’s own bathroom with a shower, with a wide roofed porch all the way around the building, see the green rectangle labeled Stoneman House at the map.

(Stoneman is on the right in the photo below.)

No need for a bearbox (food storage locker) to store food, as you are allowed to keep food in Stoneman House hotel rooms, but please keep it away from view by a bear in the windows and do not leave out chips, boxes of crackers, etc. that mice could get into. (Suggest ice chests (no ice) with a heavy lid or plastic bins with lids that clip on.)

roadway and bus stop, two buildings

Most of the Stoneman rooms have two double beds. Four of the Stoneman rooms (# 6, 8, 9 and 11) have two double beds downstairs and another double bed in an upstairs loft,

downstairs as seen from above:

two beds, door, windows

looking up the stairs from the lower level:

bathroom door, stairs

and the upstairs loft double bed:

bed and loft wall, edge of stairs

If you stuff the maximum number of people in one of these units, sharing the shower could be difficult, but the main shower house is a short walk away, next to the (warm months only) swimming pool.

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Curry Village Cabin 819

(originally the Curry Village Men’s Lounge), with a bath (shower, no tub) and small living room/fireplace, separate bedroom, TV in the living room and in the bedroom, as well as a small dining table and chairs in the living room, was “historically renovated” through early 2018, including replacing the wood-burning fireplace with a gas log ‘fireplace,’ and taking out a giant closet to make space for enlarging the bathroom. It is free-standing, sharing no walls with neighbors. Find it behind Stoneman Cottage.

No need for a bearbox (food storage locker) to store food, as you are allowed to keep food in 819, but please keep it away from view by a bear in the windows and do not leave out chips, boxes of crackers, etc. that mice could get into. (Suggest ice chests (no ice) with a heavy lid or plastic bins with lids that clip on.)

cabin with chairs on the front porch

walk-in shower and sink

Original architectural drawings for Cabin 819 when it was the Camp Curry Men’s Lounge:

floor plan and exteriors

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Curry Village general info

– – – COST and AVAILABILITY of all potential Curry Village overnight accommodations can be found at: https://www.travelyosemite.com/lodging/curry-village/
They recommend “ear plugs for additional sleeping support,” and a padlock for your food locker. Valuables should be stored in the mini-safe in the tent cabin, not in the food locker.

From their website with info about the food storage lockers: “Your cabin comes with one locker measuring:

35.5″W x 20.5″D x 23″ H (Small Tent Cabins)

47.5″W x 20.5″D x 23″ H (Large Tent Cabins)

Guests who don’t comply with our food storage policies may receive a fine up to $5,000.00 and be removed from the Park. Vehicles used for food storage may be impounded.”

On this map below note the office you will check in at, the pink almost-square labeled “Front Office” at the upper right of the map below, as well as the registration parking lot,

and the free Yosemite Valley shuttle bus stops 13 (13b), 14 and 20. During the Circulation Pilot, shuttle stops 13, 13b and 21 are not in operation.

Stop 13 (13b) in front of Stoneman Cottage is also the usual bus stop for the free winter bus to Badger Pass Yosemite Ski resort. Check the schedule for the free bus to Badger Pass Yosemite ski area. Note that it is a different bus, with a more rigid schedule, than the free Yosemite Valley shuttle bus.

map showing places at Curry Village

and note this warning sign sometimes posted at shuttle bus stop 13 (13B):

sign listing bus stops served from Yosemite shuttle bus at stop 13

BUT it would be faster to get on the bus at that stop (13 / 13B), get off at the next stop (14), walk across the street and get on at 20.

After a major snowfall or due to ice, the buses do not run to stops (15, 16, 17 and 18, sometimes 19 as well) on the Happy Isles loop road.

There are no TVs, phones, microwaves or refrigerators at the Curry Village tent cabins, cabins with a bath or at Stoneman Cottage. (One-of-a-kind cabin 819 does have TVs in both the living room and bedroom.)

Free Wi-Fi for people staying at Curry Village is not in any individual overnight accommodation, only in the Guest Lounge which has lots of tables, chairs, desks and a fireplace in season (see the teal colored rectangle in the map above).

long roofed porch with rocking chairs and tables

couches, tables and chairs

and even though there are dining tables in the lounge, you might find this sign on the door:

sign says no food or beverages allowed beyond this point

and the usual warning sign:
sign says no pets allowed in indoor facilities

Large pictures of the Curry Village lounge and vicinity are at:

https://www.argsf.com/portfolio/curry-village-lounge-and-registration-buildings-rehabilitation/

Guests at Curry Village and people who are not guests at Curry Village can book a tour, pay to rent a bike or a raft (in warm months), or pay for winter ice rink use/ skate rental at the little Tour Kiosk between the front office and Stoneman Cottage near shuttle bus stop 13 (13b). Bike rentals are often offered at the Yosemite Lodge for a longer season than at Curry Village.

If you want to rent a raft, rental reservations in advance are advised, up to 80% of rafts are reserved the day before. http://www.travelyosemite.com/things-to-do/rafting/

The Bike Rental Pick Up area is to the west of the stores and food, north of the parking lot. This photo of bike rentals pick-up area is taken from the direction of the Curry Village guest parking lot.

rows of bikes and tent cabins behind

The permanent ice rink was removed winter 2016-2017 and replaced with a seasonally installed portable ice rink in the parking lot near stop 14, which promptly flooded in heavy rains and was closed, at first temporarily, then it did not reopen. It was moved back to it’s original location for winter 2017-2018. Sometimes when it first opens there are no lights for evening skating for awhile until they can be installed. Always subject to mechanical issues with the Zamboni. You buy tickets to ice skate, and if you need them, to rent skates (helmet is usually free), at the tour kiosk near the Curry Village room registration office (see map above). https://www.travelyosemite.com/winter/curry-village-ice-skating-rink/

A 365 day a year shower house and summer lifeguarded swimming pool are the right up the service vehicles only road from the parking lot. The map below shows bus stops 14 and 20, and the road to the shower house / pool (blue rectangle on map below):

map showing places at Curry Village

The main shower house has blow dryers mounted on the walls, but you might want your own hair dryer.

Bring a couple of big plastic bags to keep shower spray off your clothes and towels.

two counters with sinksshower with a small seat just outside it for a bag

Some years the shower house has been closed for cleaning 10 – 11 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. to midnight.

The pool is open during warm months. Guests at Curry Village swim and use the main shower house for free and people who are not guests at Curry Village can swim in the pool and use the main shower house for a fee:
http://www.travelyosemite.com/things-to-do/swimming/

large swimming pool with umbrellas and lounge chairs poolside

See also: Swimming in Yosemite National Park.

People who are not guests at Curry Village can dine there.

Basic descriptions of food services and photos, links to menus for the Pizza Deck, Coffee Corner, Curry Village Dining Pavilion, Meadow Grill, and Curry Village Bar (not all of which are open all year, opening and closing dates can vary depending, in part, on weather) can be found at Yosemite valley restaurants, coffee bars, cafeterias, food service and groceries.

There is a small grocery store/gift shop.

and again, at their website, a map of Curry Village rentals & tour kiosk/pool/restrooms/grill and other dining/lounge/parking/cabins/tent cabins/Stoneman House:

https://www.travelyosemite.com/media/822820/curry-village-property-map-20190802.pdf

Curry Village details and reservations are at:
https://www.travelyosemite.com/lodging/curry-village/

The waterfall coming down the cliffs behind the cabins with a bath at Curry Village is Staircase Falls (when there is sufficient water to flow).

waterfall cascading

Places to take photos of Staircase Falls in Yosemite National Park

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Yosemite Valley Lodge

offers rooms with a private bathroom, a TV (some with DVD player), phone, mini-refrigerator, writing table/coffee table or dining table and chairs, some coffee makers, in two story buildings without elevators, many, but not all, with either a private balcony or private patio, as well as free Wi-Fi, restaurants, a tour desk (and a swimming pool/bike rentals in the summer).

The three main rooms configurations are

Bunkrooms, “with a queen-size bed and a Bunk Bed (double-size on bottom bunk, single size on top),”
queen bed and bunkbed

Traditional Rooms, “which include rooms with 2 double beds, 1 king-size bed, or 1 queen-size bed,” some set up to be accessibility compliant,

and Family King Rooms which “have a king-size bed, a Bunk Bed (double-size on bottom bunk, single size on top), a sofa, a dining table.”

Look for pictures of Lodge rooms at http://www.travelyosemite.com/lodging/yosemite-valley-lodge/ .

A full map of the property, with the named buildings, is at: https://www.travelyosemite.com/media/820990/yosemite-valley-lodge-property-map.pdf

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There are rooms with views of Yosemite Falls, but most of these are at least partially obscured by trees,

Here a view from a patio at the north side of the Cottonwood building, with Yosemite fall visible behind tree branches in the upper right hand corner of the photo, and traffic on Northside drive:

waterfall behind tree branches, vehicle on road

Some of the balconies and patios with public walkways beside them
but have the privacy of a tree that also blocks the view,
or a clear line of sight out towards the cliffs,

Some have a view of propane tanks beyond a row of shrubs,

or of a parking lot,
(with trees and shrubs or with few trees or shrubs between the patio and the parking lot),
two photos on the center and right are from patios at the Tamarack and Dogwood buildings)

The Cedar building has a covered walkway the length of the ground floor, with no private patio
(just two wood chairs in front of each room) and often a lot of foot traffic:

 

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(Sometimes, if you book well in advance of our winter trip, or sometimes at the last minute, some hotel rooms at the Lodge have been lower cost than Curry Village ‘Stoneman Cottage’ hotel-type rooms).

 

Map below of Yosemite Lodge showing the swimming pool, bike rentals pick-up area, Base Camp Eatery, Mountain Room Restaurant, Mountain Room Lounge, Cliff Room, small grocery (“gift shop” on the map):

map of buildings, pool

Notice that the brown box labeled Lobby goes over a roadway. There is a covered area at the end of the registration desk / lobby that is used for tour buses and not for people to drive under at check-in (even if it is really raining). Note the 15 minute parking just below the brown box on the map that is reserved for people checking in.

Here is the lobby building and covered driveway (Porte Cochère):

covered driveway at hotel entrance

See the full current map with the room buildings with names, bike trails restaurants, public restrooms, small grocery (“gift shop” on the map) at:
https://www.travelyosemite.com/media/820990/yosemite-valley-lodge-property-map.pdf

During the Circulation Pilot, shuttle stop #8 is out of operation, and stop #7 is the only Lodge stop. Guests at the Yosemite Lodge in buildings Aspen, Dogwood, Tamarack, Elderberry, Cottonwood, Willow and Manzanita might find that getting of at shuttle stop 6 (Yosemite Falls) is a shorter, and more scenic walk back to their room than getting off at the Lodge stop #7. Laurel, Juniper and Hemlock are closer to stop 7.

The winter free bus to the ski resort / ranger snow shoe walk leaves (most years) from Curry Village, then from a covered bus stop adjacent to the garage in Yosemite Village, shortly after from the the Ahwahnee Hotel and the last pick up is from the Yosemite Lodge Porte Cochère at the front desk (covered driveway in front of the hotel) 8:30 and 11 a.m.

Guests of the Yosemite Valley Lodge and people who are not guests at the lodge can rent a bike there in warm months. Rentals are often offered at the Lodge for a longer season than at Curry Village. To pay and arrange for a rental go into the lobby and find the tour desk. Pick up the bike near the pool (see map above).

In warm months Yosemite Lodge guests swim in the lifeguarded pool (for free) and people who are not guests at the Lodge can swim for a fee:
http://www.travelyosemite.com/things-to-do/swimming/ large swimming pool with lots of chairs around the deck

See also: Swimming in Yosemite National Park.

People who are not guests at the Yosemite Lodge can dine there.

Basic descriptions of food services and photos, links to menus for the Mountain Room, Mountain Room Lounge, Starbucks (formerly the coffee corner) and Base Camp Eatery (formerly the Food Court) can be found at Yosemite valley restaurants, coffee bars, cafeterias, food service and groceries.

Cooking in/around Yosemite Lodge rooms is not allowed, but there is a picnic area, with picnic tables, fire grates, a swimming beach a short walk from the hotel, see map to Swinging Bridge at swimming in Yosemite National park and another nearby picnic area, with restrooms and picnic tables but without fire grates, across Northside Drive from the Lodge, about equidistant between bus stops 8 and 6.

Sometimes confused people with reservations for Yosemite View Lodge (which is outside of Yosemite National Park) have arrived at the front desk of Yosemite Valley Lodge, thinking that they had a reservation in Yosemite Valley. They are turned away when there are no reservations available in the valley for any lodging, which is frequent in warm months and holiday weekends.

Yosemite Valley Lodge details, photos of some of the rooms and reservations are at:

https://www.travelyosemite.com/lodging/yosemite-valley-lodge/

Google maps 360 degree street view of the Lodge courtyard / amphitheater and surrounding buildings .

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Ahwahnee Hotel

offers rooms in the main building (multi story with elevators) or one story cottages (also know as cabins or bungalows) on the grounds, each room with a private bath, TV, phone, refrigerator, a few with an adjoining parlor/fireplace room. There is a year-round heated outdoor swimming pool (no lifeguards, open only to guests of the hotel), morning coffee, afternoon cookies/tea, optional valet parking and optional bellmen to take care of your bags, gift/souvenir shop, restaurants / room service, small and large public lounges with and without fireplaces. The hotel has “electric vehicle charging stations in the hotel parking lot . . . one is a Tesla Motors charging station.” The Yosemite Valley free shuttle bus stops at the hotel at stop 3.

A photo of the Ahwahnee from Glacier Point, the dining room and kitchen take up the left wing you see below. The main entrance is on the far side of the right wing of the building:

hotel with cliffs and waterfall in distance

All the rooms have a safe, ironing board/iron, robes and a small refrigerator: fridge with open door

Almost all the main building rooms do not have a patio or balcony

(almost all of the Yosemite Lodge rooms do have patios or balconies).

Ahwahnee Standard rooms are smaller than other rooms, cost less, but most in the main building have cliff and loading dock views and one has no view at all. Most rooms are named Classic rooms, with various views depending on which side of the building they are on, and how may tall trees are blocking part of any given view. A few rooms are called Featured, each in the main building with a balcony (various sizes, often shared, some with a simple wooden partition).

Parlors, with or without a fireplace, can be had with some of the rooms.

Accessible rooms have widened doors, grab bars in the bathroom, raised toilet seats, low density carpet. Five have a roll-in shower: main building 116, 206 and 421, cottages 702 and 703. Other accessible rooms, with grab bar tubs but no roll-in shower, are 106, 219, 346, 507, 607. See details about Ahwahnee hotel Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) rooms.

Ahwahnee hotel map webpage has summer and winter photos of rooms, balconies, parlors, (and the views from some of them), including the Presidential Suite with the huge balcony at the (south) far end of the Ahwahnee from the parking lot, the large third floor parlor with fireplace, two main building ADA Suites, featured room 417 with it’s own, small, private balcony, 5th floor rooms that share a balcony, the El Dorado Diggins Suite Jacuzzi tub, the 24 cottages / (bungalows / cabins), including the classic cottages that have an alcove between the bedroom and the bathroom with a bed you can fit a child on, and a door between the bedroom and alcove for privacy, sixth floor Mary Curry Tressider Suite, Library Suite, Underwood room, Sunroom Suite (Sun Porch), Mather, Spencer.

A map of and floor plans for the cottages is at:
Yosemite Ahwahnee Hotel cottages, (bungalows / cabins) floor plans and map

The prices for rooms can vary, especially when they have a special offer or if you include a Winter Fun package, Vintners’ Holidays, Bracebridge Dinner or Chefs’ Holidays experience. Details of some are at the Ahwahnee hotel map webpage.

Reservations are at: https://www.travelyosemite.com/lodging/the-ahwahnee/

People who are not guests at the hotel can dine there. Reservations are often advised and there is a dress code for some dining room meals.

24 foot high ceiling, tables, chairs and tall windows
The bar has a limited menu, but without the dress code for dinner that the main dining room often has. It has indoor and (in warm months) outdoor seating:

tables, some with umbrellas

Menus for the dining room (including the Sunday Brunch) and bar are at: https://www.travelyosemite.com/dining/the-ahwahnee-dining-room/

There is a larger version of the map below at map of the Ahwahnee hotel.

map of hotel rooms and public areas

Directions to the hotel and the covered entrance.

Anywhere in Yosemite, including at any of the Yosemite lodgings, you have the possibility of seeing animals, such as this bobcat on the grounds (cottage rooms area) of the Ahwahnee, a large reason why Yosemite park says: “pets must be restrained on a leash not more than six feet long or otherwise physically restrained.”

of an Ahwahnee cottage, photo by Alan Ahlstrand

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The Yosemite valley hotels also rent out rooms for special events

from a contract with the park service:

. . . “limited to the following specific spaces within the Concession Facilities for group or special event functions:

(i) The Ahwahnee Hotel: Available year round: Colonial Room, Mural Room, Tresidder Room, Tudor Lounge, and Winter Club Room, Solarium, and Under Lounge

(ii) Curry Village: Available between November 1 -April 1: Lounge and Pavilion

(iii) Wawona Hotel: Available year round: Sun Room

(iv) Yosemite Lodge: Available year round: ClIff Room and Garden Terrace”

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Housekeeping Camp

Is usually open, more or less, April to October, weather permitting, with “three-sided concrete structures with canvas roofs and privacy curtains . . . a bunk bed, a double bed, table, chairs, mirror, electrical lights and outlets. Two additional cots can be added to any unit” . . . each with “campfire ring with a grill grate and a bear-proof food storage locker. . . NOTE: Please do not bring space heaters, as they can cause a power outage in your Housekeeping Unit.” “Guests can rent sheets, blankets, pillows, chairs, cribs, cots and stoves for their stay at Housekeeping Camp.”

The Housekeeping Camp website said for each unit they provide 2 bear-proof lockers

“33 inches deep x 45 inches wide x 18 inches tall

17 inches deep x 45 inches wide x 17 inches tall.”

canvas roof, picnic table and campfire ringone double bed, shelves and twin bunk beds

Google maps 360 degree view of some of the units.

There are showers and a laundromat – the laundromat is usually open through the winter even when housekeeping units are not open. To find the laundromat, bear left when you enter the Housekeeping parking lot off of Southside drive.

simple map with a few buildings

Straight ahead when you enter the Housekeeping Camp parking lot is the grocery store and guest registration.

one story building with front porch

Housekeeping Camp units have no televisions, phones, microwaves, refrigerators or WIFI in the units and there are no restaurants onsite.

They recommend “ear plugs for additional sleeping support. . .Flashlight or LED headlamp and extra batteries. . .and a “padlock for your food storage locker.” (Bring good quality earplugs, not the simple foam ones, but the ones with a thicker wax-like quality.)

Wise people know that their cell phone will not function long enough or bright enough after dark as a flashlight (electric torch).

Photos and details about quiet hours, wood campfire hours, camp rules, reservations are at: https://www.travelyosemite.com/lodging/housekeeping-camp/

canvas roofed cabin

Detailed instructions and advice for first time visitors to have a better vacation in the Curry Village canvas- walled tent cabins has advice that applies to staying at Housekeeping Camp. For example, the logistics section includes this:

“When you get there, or at least before you go to sleep, stand on the front porch of your cabin and figure out where the nearest restroom is. In the dark, even with a flashlight or headlamp, finding your way there could leave you lost or at least a bit frustrated. The restroom is between which other tents / buildings? Which end is the men’s restroom and which end the women’s? Which part of the side / end is the entrance? What route should you take to miss the large puddles that could need wading through if it rains much more? (Trying to get into a linen storage building you mistake for a restroom in the middle of the night . . . is no fun.)”

Expect more crowded conditions on the beaches at Housekeeping Camp than those in this early-in-the-day photo of the biggest beach:

river with rafters going by a beach

Map showing Housekeeping Camp, the biggest beach, the pedestrian bridge over the river to other swim beaches, (as well as the laundromat and showers):

http://www.travelyosemite.com/media/330396/housekeeping-camp-property-map_web.pdf

On the map above, notice the pedestrian bridge across the river next to units 48/47 you can use to go to this beach:

sandy beach and river

Google street map view of the pedestrian bridge and the beach on the far side of the river.

Housekeeping camp is bordered by the Merced River as it flows through Yosemite Valley. Below is a photo of the camp, mostly on the left hand side of the photo below, as seen from Glacier Point, along with beaches at the camp and across the river from the camp. The pedestrian bridge mentioned above is in the center of the photo below. The bridge / roadway shown in the lower right hand corner of the photo is Stoneman Bridge, where rafts are often launched from.

aerial photo of forest, river and 2 bridges

The Merced River Plan, ( see page H-18) has projects to improve views by removing trees. It says about the view from Housekeeping Camp Bridge:

“The Housekeeping Camp Bridge over the Merced River is adjacent to the Housekeeping Camp, located a half mile east of Sentinel Bridge. This bridge was constructed in 1929 and is a contributing structure to the Yosemite Valley Historic District. The primary vista is of Yosemite Falls, over the Merced River. There are a limited number of ponderosa pines in the middle ground, approximately 500 meters downstream that could grow taller and block the view in the future. It is recommended to monitor and manage this vista and remove the trees if necessary in the future. . . It is recommended to manage the bridge vista, and not the beach vista, because management actions would be identical.”

17 Ponderosa pines are on the plan to possibly be removed. Below is the picture of the view from the plan.

river and cliffs

See details about swimming in the river at: swimming in Yosemite including thunderstorms, bacteria in the water, safety issues, favorite beaches, swimming pools with lifeguards that are open to the public.

If they are available, you can reserve a (near the) river-side unit when you make your reservation. Take a look at the map and notice that if you rent two near-the-river, back-to-back units, away from the main beach, such as 391/392, you might have a little more privacy:

canvas sided unit near river in foreground

Housekeeping Camp is across the road from free Yosemite Valley Shuttle bus stop number 12.

Flooding (most likely in the winter when heavy rain raises the river level) can occur:

tent and flood from river

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Camping in Yosemite Valley campgrounds that take reservations

2 campsites

map of Pines Campgrounds (Upper Pines, Lower Pines and North Pines) and free shuttle bus stops 15, 18 and 19. (Upper and Lower River Campgrounds no longer exist, due to flooding and have been ecologically restored.)

Info about getting a reservation for a Yosemite campsite (in the valley or elsewhere in the park), camping regulations and more starts at:
https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm

When you get to the reservations page you should look for notes, such as:
“Upper Pines will be closed from January 31 through February 11, 2022 for annual hazard tree removal. Sites will reopen as work is completed.”

Answers to frequently asked questions are at:
https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/campingfaq.htm
such as

“In May and June, why are so many campsites in North Pines and Lower Pines not available for reservation?

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.”

Some of the Yosemite campsites that can be held back include: North Pines 136, 200, 201, 301, 303, 305, 306, 307, 308 and 401; Lower Pines 4, 27, 28, 29 and 55. (Perhaps most often held back are: North Pines 306, 308 and 401; Lower Pines 4, 27, 29 and 55.) They are not necessarily too close to the river, but they often have low spots that fill with large, deep puddles (small ponds?) where you would want to pitch your tent, use the campfire ring or get to your bearbox:

campsite with flooding

(When you are choosing a campsite you might want to not choose one of these if heavy rain is expected, as the puddles could reappear.)

The park has this warning for people with RVs/trailers choosing campsites: “RV length and trailer length are not the same! Please note that many campsites have different maximum lengths for RVs and trailers. This is because many of the campsites are back-in sites with limited turning radius. We do not enforce the length limits as long as the RV or trailer can fit on the parking pad in the site. However, if you reserve a site for equipment other than what you bring, and the site can’t accommodate your RV or trailer, we will not be able to find a different campsite for you.” There is also advice for driving / parking RVs & trailers at Parking and Traffic Jams in Yosemite valley tips and tricks.

This next info is mostly about camping in Upper Pines campground, but a lot of it applies to other valley campgrounds – – – for our winter trips the lowest cost overnight accommodation with a parking space right at at your accommodation is camping overnight in Upper Pines Campground, (the only campground open in the winter with individual campsites with parking spaces).

Yosemite valley campgrounds not open during the winter have various opening and closing dates. For example, Lower Pines and North Pines (including Backpacker’s Campground) campgrounds closed for the season on Monday, October 25, 2021. Only part of Upper Pines is open all year. 2021: “The back three loops of Upper Pines (loops 4-6) are closed for the season as of noon, Monday November 22. The front three loops of Upper Pines (loops 1-3) remain open for the winter on reservation-only. Any available sites are reservable online at recreation.gov, including any same-day cancellations.”

You make reservations for Yosemite campgrounds up to 5 months in advance. For example, for camping June 15 through July 14 2021, the date to try to get a reservation was February 15, 2021. They sometimes only open up 50% of some campgrounds.

Each campsite ($26 per night in 2019, 2020, 2021, $36 beginning October 1, 2021,) holds six people and two vehicles. But sometimes in the winter the campsite parking spaces are not plowed of snow well enough for two vehicles to park, especially two SUVs. This is fine with one SUV with six people in it, but many people will want to drive in two-people-per-vehicle carpools. They could possibly fit more people sleeping overnight (strictly enforced rules of maximum 6 people per campsite) and save money by paying for fewer campsites, by having some of those who want to drive in small carpools drop of their gear at the site and use free day-use parking for the extra vehicles. Maybe the car that gets to park at the site could pay a larger share of the campsite cost. The nearest free parking lot to the Pines Campgrounds is next to parking for Curry Village (briefly named Half Dome Village), a relatively short walk from Upper Pines campground or a free daytime bus ride.

chocolate cake for breakfast:

Each Pines campgrounds campsite has a metal food storage box you must use for all food/toiletries , a picnic table, fire ring, (yup, you guessed it, no WiFi, sometimes not even on your smart-enough-phone that is not getting reception in much of Yosemite valley). Each campsite loop has nearby restrooms with flush toilets and cold running water.

In the pictures below, the Yosemite restroom building has men’s and women’s restrooms on either end and a center room with a basin for waste water disposal. See Have More Fun Camping.

Yosemite campground restroom: waste water sign:

Most Yosemite campgrounds have restrooms or outhouses, some with nearby dumpsters and recycling bins.
Please separate out the recyling and find the appropriate bin or bring it home. If the 810,000 tons of aluminum cans Americans throw away every year were recycled we’d save 730 million gallons of oil by not having to make new aluminum.

Yosemite restroom and recycling bins:

Please use the clip on the trash bin to lock it. If a bear gets into a dumpster on a hot day it can be a death trap.

If you notice one is un-clipped, please clip it.
Immediately report it to a ranger or campground host if the clip is missing from the dumpster.

save a bear use the clip:

dumpster with sign that it is full

In the photo above, the note on it says:
“Dumpster Full
This dumpster is full and has been wired shut to prevent black bears from accessing the overflow trash. Please do your part in protecting Yosemite wildlife by finding another dumpster to dispose of your trash. Thank you.”

PLEASE, when a dumpster is full don’t just leave your trash sitting next to it, find another dumpster.

Restrooms in most public campgrounds don’t have hot water. And most public campgrounds don’t have showers. In the winter showers are at Curry Village, the Housekeeping Camp showers are closed. Camping solutions for women tells how to wash your hair.

430 a.m. snowfall 2011: big snowflakes are seen falling, lit up by camera flash in front of tent

(Photo taken at 4:30 a.m. when it had been raining, but then it got colder and rain turned to snowflakes the size of fifty cent pieces, captured by the camera flash. One woman sleeping in the tent above on the 2011 trip had never been camping before. Another on the trip had never seen snow fall.)

Please note that no pets are allowed on our trips, but dogs are allowed in all campgrounds except group sites and Camp Four (but check for the most current rules when you make a reservation). There are no hook-up campsites for motor homes.

Occasionally on our winter trips we have had snow followed by rain and parts of the campground flood:

bear box and picnic table with snow on top, water below

Here, a flooded and iced over parking space at Upper Pines campground site #4:

icy pond in a campsite

OR the campgrounds can be closed and people moved out, if heavy wind and or snow (“SNOWZILLA”. . . in February 2019, for 2 1/2 days all roads out of Yosemite Valley were closed and all campgrounds were closed due to heavy snow, high winds and risk from falling trees).

Here, a NPS photo of the result when a large tree broke in half and fell on a campground restroom, closing it for weeks:

busted roof and broken tree

You will want to have taken a look in advance at other accommodations to retreat to.

Google maps street view of Upper Pines Campground.

The campsites that are the best for a short walk back after a Half Dome or Mist Trail/ Vernal Fall / Nevada Fall hike that took a bit longer than you expected and ended after the free shuttle buses are running, are those in higher numbered campsite loops (188 – 240 and 158 to 187) of Upper Pines campground. See on the map of Pines campgrounds:

https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/images/pinescombined.jpg

 

Campground regulations, including Food Storage, Seasonal limits on Campfires, Firewood collection, Camping Outside of Campgrounds and Sleeping in Vehicles, Maximum number of people per Campsite, Maximum number of vehicles per Campsite, Seasonal limits on number of nights camping, Campgrounds that pets are or are not allowed in, Quiet Hours and Generator Hours, Wastewater disposal, hooking (or not) to Utilities, campground Checkin/Checkout Time and Slacklines, Hammocks, Clotheslines, etc.: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/campregs.htm

In the campgrounds you must pitch your tent IN your campsite, not down by the river at a nice small beach:

tent by river

If you decide to pitch your tent “out of bounds” you might be lucky and find the violation notice (in this case from the campground host who patrols the campground) on your tent (or in this case, on a portable charcoal grill)

paper in charcoal grill

OR you might not be that lucky and could find yourself trying to track down your confiscated tent and gear.

Pitch your tent away from a campground and you can expect a visit from a Ranger:

park service vehicle and tent by river bank

and see Yosemite National Park regulations, policies and rules links

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During “prime visitor cycling season” (days vary year-to-year, but usually not in the winter, it closed for the season Oct. 29, 2021) the Yosemite Conservancy offers a bike share, with bikes available at campgrounds. “Visitors can use a mobile app to unlock a bike . . .”

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/yosemite-bike-sharing/id1466610241

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sharedbike.yosemite&hl=en_US

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If you expect lots of mosquitos you could pitch your tent IN a screenroom:

 
 

Camping in the Yosemite Valley campground with shared (or not) campsites, that can be first-come, first-served or by a lottery reservation
– – Camp 4 (Camp four)

(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.”)

Camp 4 (Camp Four) “is extremely popular; it’s very difficult to get a spot.” Camp 4 was first-come, first served most of the year. Some times of the year you register with a person at the kiosk shown on the campground map, some times of the year you self-register.

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.

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.

Official details on how to use the lottery are at:
https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/camp4.htm

rows of tents and bearboxes

Camp Four often has shared campsites. See map of Camp 4, with the location of each of the original campsites #1- #36, the (new in 2021) campsites #37 – #61, showerhouse and of the trailhead for the Upper Yosemite Falls hike as well as 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.”

More pictures are at the map.

There is fascinating reading on how Yosemite climbers can avoid injuries/stay alive, by 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:
climbing advice

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

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Camping without a reservation: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/nrcamping.htm

Outside of Yosemite valley there are many campgrounds open in the summer that are first-come-first-served (and some take reservations):

Bridalveil Creek (RVs up to 35 feet/trailers up to 24 feet)

(Please note that Bridalveil Creek campground is up the Glacier Point road, nowhere near Bridalveil fall.)

Tamarack Flat (not recommended for RVs/trailers)

White Wolf (RVs up to 27 feet/trailers up to 24 feet)

Yosemite Creek (not recommended for RVs/trailers)

(Please note that Yosemite Creek campground is up the Tioga road, nowhere near Yosemite fall.)

Porcupine Flat (not recommended for RVs/trailers)

Tuolumne Meadows (RVs and trailers up to 35 feet; 50% of sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis)

and see: Tuolumne Meadows group campsites map and pictures

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Camping in backpacker’s walk-in

tent, bearbox, firering and picnic table, restrooms in background

bearboxes, firerings and picnic tables, restrooms

Googles maps 360 degree view.

For the current rules for backpacker’s campgrounds, go to: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/bpcamp.htm

The Yosemite Valley Backpackers campground is usually open the same dates as North Pines Campground, “April through late-October/early-November (approximately)”. For example, Backpacker’s Campground closed for the season on Monday, October 25, 2021.

Recently the NPS webpage said: “Backpackers campgrounds are available for wilderness permit holders to spend one night before and one night after a wilderness trip. Reservations are neither necessary nor required. However, a valid wilderness permit is required for backpackers to stay at the campground. Half Dome day hiker permit holders may not stay at backpackers campgrounds.

Visitors arriving to Yosemite by bus, bicycle, or foot may also spend one night in each backpackers campground.

The fee is $6 per person (pay using envelopes at the campground; exact change required).”

People at the valley backpacker’s walk-in campground are told “you may park for 15 minutes at the entrance to the backpackers’ campground” (in the back of North Pines Campground, only a few spaces, sometimes filled) to unload gear and carry it to the campground, and then walk back out and “park overnight at the trailhead parking or at Curry Village (briefly named Half Dome Village) day use parking.” “If arriving at night, please be quiet as you unload your car in the unloading zone and walk to the campground.”

In spring in snowy years, the trail from the back end of North Pines (and over the footbridge) to the backpacker’s walk-in can be flooded with ankle deep or deeper water.

A Google maps 360 degree photo of the bridge and trail from North Pines as it enters backpacker’s camp.

You might find it more convenient to park as directed at Curry Village (briefly named Half Dome Village) day use parking, maybe get a shower at the 365-day-a-year shower house right up the service vehicles only road from the parking lot (see map above in the Curry Village section), grab your gear and make sure that in your vehicle there is no food / toiletries / scented fish bait / old french fries under the seats, get on a nearby shuttle bus stop at Curry Village parking, then get off at the Ahwahnee stop #3, (maybe making a stop at the largest Yosemite Valley grocery at shuttle bus stop 2 on the way). You will find it is a slightly shorter walk from the (Ahwahnee) bus stop through the parking lot, and through the valet parking lot, then make a left and along a back road to backpacker’s walk-in campground than from the back end of North Pines IF you can find the way on the back road, but you have a topo map, Yosemite Valley map in the park newspaper, right? And you won’t need to move your vehicle back and forth.

The Ahwahnee shuttle bus stop would also be a much shorter bus ride from backpackers walk-in to and from the main store, the cafeteria at the Lodge or to visit friends at Camp Four.

Hmmmmm, and the Ahwahnee has a bar without the dress code of the formal dining room that you might want to visit. Menus for the dining room and the bar are at: https://www.travelyosemite.com/dining/the-ahwahnee-dining-room/ A map of the premises is at: Ahwahnee map.

(Backpackers campground has been occasionally temporarily closed and moved to the end loop of Upper Pines.)

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With a wilderness permit
you can make yourself at home overnight on the face of El Capitan

climber sitting on a ledge on a cliff, with sleeping bag nearby

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.

For more detailed information on climbing in Yosemite National Park, please visit: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/climbing.htm.

This program will be a 2-year pilot.”

stars, including part of the Milky Way

Notes about
Yosemite Valley free shuttle bus stops
for overnight accommodations
to save you time.

Curry Village canvas tent cabins numbered in the 1100s, 700s and 600s are closer to stop 15 than to the Curry Village stops #14 and #19.

Curry Village canvas tent cabins numbered 1- 9 and all of the wood cabins (numbered with a letter after the number, such as 1D, 8A or 22B) are closer to stop 13 (13b) than to the Curry Village stops #14 and #19. (BUT stops 13, 13B are not in operation all year.)

Yosemite Lodge building Laurel is closer to the Camp Four / Lodge day-use parking bus stop #7 than the not-in-operation-all-year Yosemite Lodge stop #8. Buildings Tamarack, Dogwood, Aspen, are closer to the Lower Yosemite Falls stop #6 than the Lodge stop #7.

map of pines campgrounds

Campers in Upper Pines campground in the higher numbered campsite loops (188 – 240 and 158 to 187, and maybe even 125 – 156) will find that it is a much shorter walk from the Happy Isles stop 16 to their campsite than from the official Upper/Lower Pines campground stop(s) 15/19 at the west end of the campground. This makes campsites 188 – 240 the best for a short walk back after a Half Dome or Mist Trail hike that took a bit longer than you expected and ended late in the evening after the buses are running.

Campers in the Upper Pines and all of Lower Pines will find the stop at #15 gets them to their campsite faster than riding all the way to Happy Isles, the stop at the end of the road to Mirror Lake, past North Pines then finally getting off at the stop at the entrance to Lower Pines / Upper Pines.

(If you are heading into Upper Pines from stop 15, please don’t walk right through Upper Pines campsites 26, 27, 28 etc, at the end of the first loop after you get off the bus, please walk between the campsites and/or around the ends of the loops.)

Campers in the higher numbered sites in Lower Pines (60s, 70s, 80s, etc.) will often find when there are lines for and waits for space on the buses at Curry Village, it is more pleasant (and sometimes faster) to walk to their sites, using the boardwalk across Stoneman Meadow.

roadway, large meadow and boardwalk

row of rocks carved into brick shapes

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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.

Since 2003 there has been a note in the Yosemite Guide: REPORT ALL BEAR SIGHTINGS! To report bear sightings, improper food storage, trash problems, and other bear-related problems, leave a message for the Bear Management team at: 1 (209) 372-0322. Your call can be made anonymously.”

bear with blue tag on ear
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 lens you should be able to read the number).

bear with ear tag

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

bear walking along fallen tree

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the Yosemite National Park entrance fee, effective starting in June 2018, is $35 per vehicle or $20 per motorcycle. An annual park pass will cost $70.

OR

a (National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands) Interagency annual pass is $80, valid for 2,000 federal recreation sites / National parks: https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/passes.htm

OR

a U.S. military dependent and who has their Dependent ID Card (form 1173) can get a free national parks pass http://store.usgs.gov/pass/military.html

(The passes can’t be transferred/shared, the pass holder needs to be in your vehicle and show a photo ID.)

“80 percent of entrance fees stay in the park and are devoted to spending that supports the visitor.” The https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/fees.htm park entrance fee which addresses “many important maintenance and infrastructure needs,” covers your entrance into the park for your choice of payment for a length of time and size / type of vehicle, free parking at the various day use parking lots, use of trails / visitor centers, Ranger programs, walks, talks (but not fee based programs by park concessionaires, see lists of dates/times of each in the park newspaper).

Your park entrance fee does not cover the cost of your campsite or overnight accommodation.
(Campsites were once free in Yosemite.)

See more information and current prices / info about annual passes to all National Parks (or just to Yosemite), passes for seniors, free passes for military, free access (permanent disabilities) passes, some of which “may provide a 50 percent discount on some amenity fees charged for facilities and services such as camping, swimming, boat launch, and specialized interpretive services.” https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/passes.htm

moon showing through clouds

 

Yosemite camping without a “campsite” in 1927:

 

cars and tents but no campsites

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and in 1965 people camped (legally) in the Curry Village parking lot (Curry orchard) :

cars, tents in parking lot

cars, camper, tents in parking lot

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In HISTORIC AMERICAN BUILDINGS SURVEY

THE AHWAHNEE HOTEL

HABS No. CA-2830
we read:
“Throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, several privately-owned
lodging facilities were operated in the park. Within Yosemite Valley, early accommodations included the Lower Hotel (later Black’s Hotel) (1857), Upper Hotel (later Hutchings’s Hotel) (1859), Leidig’s Hotel (1869), Sentinel Hotel (1876), Stoneman House (1886), Camp Curry (1899), Camp Yosemite (1901), Camp Ahwahnee (1908), and Yosemite Lodge (1915). 77 Hotels constructed outside of Yosemite Valley included La Casa Nevada (1870), which stood at the base of Nevada Falls; Mountain View House (1869), located along the Glacier Point Road; Wawona Hotel (1878); and the Glacier Point Hotel (1917) Multiple small, informal campgrounds were also scattered throughout the park.”

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