5 Things You May Not Know About Camping in Yosemite

In 5 Things

1. You can collect firewood in a National Park.

You probably know you can’t collect fire wood in a National Park, but did you know you CAN collect firewood in any of the campgrounds in Yosemite?

It’s true! According to the National Park Service in Yosemite campground regulations page: “Firewood collection is not permitted in Yosemite Valley, except within campground boundaries.”

You shouldn’t collect pine needles and pine cones though. They provide food for animals and vegetation. Also, don’t bring firewood from more than 50 miles away. Some forest pests hitchhike on firewood.

Good luck trying to find some though. Most campground have very few fallen limbs or sticks on the ground. Don’t even think about breaking a limb off a tree whether the limb is alive or dead or collecting firewood outside the boundaries of the campground. You WILL get a ticket.

Also, don’t assert you’re right if an NPS employee tells you to put it back. Just do it. Spending the night in jail in Yosemite isn’t on my bucket list and I’m sure it’s not on yours…probably.

If you need firewood you can purchase it at any of the stores near the campgrounds.

2. Campfires are only allowed between 5 and 10pm in the summer.

From May through September, wood fueled campfires in Yosemite Valley are only allowed between 5 pm and 10 pm and fires must be completely extinguished by 10 pm.The rest of the year campfires are allowed at any time.

Of course, stove and charcoal fires are allowed in campgrounds 24 hours per day.

3. You CAN sleep in your car.

Have you ever been catching a few z’s in your car waiting for the sun to come up and create the perfect Yosemite picture only to have your slumber disrupted by a ranger tapping their baton on your window? You were probably told you can’t sleep in your car. Well that’s not ENTIRELY accurate.

According to the National Park Service in Yosemite campground regulations page, “Camping or sleeping in vehicles is permitted only in designated campsites. Sleeping in vehicles is not permitted anywhere else in Yosemite.”

So you CAN sleep in your car if you’re in a campsite.

4. You can only camp in Yosemite for 30 nights each year.

It’s true! There is a 30-night camping limit within Yosemite National Park in a calendar year; however, May 1 to September 15, the camping limit in Yosemite is 14 nights, and only seven of those nights can be in Yosemite Valley or Wawona.

With the new reservation system at recreation.gov it’s totally enforceable, too.

5. Slacklines are only allowed in Camp 4.

Slacklines look fun. I’d love to try it. Except I have the agility of a manatee. Did you know slacklines are only allowed in Camp 4? It’s true!

Per the National Park Service campground regulations: “Slacklines are allowed within 200 feet of Camp 4 as long as the owner is registered to stay at Camp 4. Slacklines are not allowed in other campgrounds.”

If you’re curious and want more information check out the National Park Service in Yosemite campground regulations page at https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/campregs.htm

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