Barbara and the Rhoades family wrote in to ask:
We were hoping to get a site in the valley but that didn’t work out so well this morning. Where would you suggest we stay? We would love to be near a river which is why I was thinking Wawona, but then I found a negative opinion of that campground on some website. We’d like to have a bit of shade as well. We have 2 kids and 2 grandparents camping with us.
Well Barbara, I’m going to guess you’ve tried North Pines, Upper Pines, and Lower Pines. If you haven’t already tried it you could try Housekeeping Camp. It’s a little more developed, still along the Merced, and affords some of the best views of any of the campgrounds in the Valley.
If you don’t mind not camping in the Valley I’d also recommend the Yosemite Creek campground. It’s set back along Yosemite Creek off the Tioga Road and has an air or remote beauty about it. The road is bumpy though so RV’s and trailers don’t often make it.
Tuolumne Meadows campground is another alternative. There are no campsites along the river but several face the river from across the road. It’s a good place to stay with beautiful views of the High Sierra also.
There are also several alternatives just outside the park well within driving distance to all the major attractions. The campgrounds at Briceburg are set along the Merced and offer decent fishing as well as some beautiful wildflower hikes. They’re just down 140 from El Portal and the Arch Rock Entrance.
Dimond O is set along the Tuolumne River just off Evergreen Road and is a short drive to Hetch Hetchy or the 120 entrance into the Park.
There are lots of photos of the campground of Wawona online (Google) so you can get a pretty good idea of what it’s like and opinions do vary about it. Most of the people I’ve come across aren’t happy with it due to it’s location in regards to the Valley but I think it’s a pretty nice campground.
All in all that should give you plenty of great places to check out. I hope you enjoy your trip.