If you’ve been wondering what to get that special someone for Valentines Day this year, tell them you’re going to be a day late. On February 15th the next window for campground reservations, July 15th through August 15th, will open up. That’s the window that usually offers the best weather, the most trails without snow, and there’s usually still some water in the waterfalls.
Reservations can be made up to 5 months in advance (and it’s recommended because they go like hot cakes) but MUST be made at leat 1 day ahead of arrival, permitting there’s any spots left. Typically, all Yosemite campsites will be reserved within 20 minutes after they go on sale.
New dates are released in blocks, 1 month(s) at a time. Check out the table below from recreation.gov to see when the blocks open up.
|January 15th.||January 16th and June 14th|
|February 15th||February 16th and July 14th|
|March 15th||March 16th and August 14th|
|April 15th||April 16th and September 14th|
|May 15th||May 16th and October 14th|
|June 15th||June 16th and November 14th|
|July 15th||July 16th and December 14th|
|August 15th||August 16th and January 14th|
|September 15th||September 16th and February 14th|
|October 15th||October 16th and March 14th|
|November 15th||November 16th and April 14th|
|December 15th||December 16th and May 14th|
For more information on making your reservations visit recreation.gov
Remember, if you don’t get a campsite you can try your luck at one of the first-come, first-served campgrounds but they fill up pretty fast as well. There’s also plenty of forest service campgrounds outside the park but you may be required to drive a bit to get to the Valley. If you’re coming up from LA via 395 I recommend Aspen Campground. It’s outside the park, considerably less painful on the wallet, a short drive from Lee Vining (bbq, yes I said bar-b-que), Mono Lake, Mammoth Lakes and Bodie (a real life ghost town). It’s just down the hill from Tioga Pass and the Yosemite High Country. And it has ample fishing opportunities for anglers young and old alike. I’ve used this campground for several years as my FOB (forward operating base) for shoots up and down the Sierra and in Yosemite. The big bonus is when you get back from hiking for 12 hours you can head down the hill to the stop-n-rob and get a Häagen-Dazs.
Here’s a video if you decide to steer clear of the Yosemite crowds.