Yosemite National Park is one of most visited parks in the United States and arguably one of the most beautiful National Parks. One thing some people don’t realize is that springtime is one of the absolute BEST times to visit Yosemite. Why? Because of the gushing waterfalls, amazing landscape, lush greenery and minimal crowds. It can be chilly at times and sometimes there will still be snow at the top of the mountain peaks, but it’s all worth it…trust me!
I was just in Yosemite at the end of April and had an amazing time with my girlfriends. This was the first time I’ve actually camped in Yosemite. The other times I stayed in a cabin at Scenic Wonders (this was awesome, read here), and the other time I stayed at Curry Village (now called Half Dome Village) in their canvas tent/yurt things. Either way it’s a blast, but…
Here are my 5 important tips for spring camping in Yosemite.
1. Secure a Camping Spot & Try To Arrive Before Dark
There are many options for places to stay in Yosemite. I have another post here about the cabin I rented last time I was there in Scenic Wonders. For my trip this April, my friend booked a last minute camp spot at Hodgden campground for the weekend.
If you’ve ever camped in more rural locations in your life (like Idaho), be prepared to be in VERY close quarters with your neighbors in Yosemite. If you’re looking for camp spots in Yosemite Valley, check this site out about 6 months before you want to camp out. Especially if you’re planning on going over a weekend. Also, if you can, try and arrive to your campsite before dark. It’s so much easier to set up camp if you have light and the headlights to the car don’t always reach your site. Be sure to bring a head lamp or lantern as well!
2. Bring Stuff to Build a Fire
It gets cold at night in Yosemite in the spring. Be sure to bring enough firewood and kindling to last the whole time you’re there. I also recommend bringing lighter fluid and a matches/lighter which may sounds obvious, but hey doesn’t hurt to remind! The coolest part of most of the campgrounds is that they have grills that cover the fire so you can cook food on a skillet which is what we did! It worked out great since none of us had a portable grill. Be sure to check your campground amenities before you head out.
3. Pack Appropriately
The weather can be hit or miss in the spring. It can rain, hail, snow or be really hot and sunny. We were lucky with the weather in mid-April, but it was really cold at night. I recommend packing for all types of weather. Last trip I brought my Patagonia puffer jacket, sweats, my Aran knit sweater, infinity scarf, hat and gloves. This was all just to keep me warm at night and in the morning. Also, don’t forget to pack a tent cover and tarp in case of rain/snow. A headlamp or lantern is also a good idea! For a better camping list check out this list.
Please excuse my hideous outfit here. 🙂
4. Visit the Falls
The falls are at their absolute best in the spring! Be sure to check out as many as you can! If you hike to Glacier Point you’ll be able to see most of them from a panoramic view. Some of my favorite falls to see are Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls, Bridalveil Fall and Nevada Fall. When you get into the park, be sure to get a map that will show you where all of the falls are located.
5. Find the Best Hikes
There are so many amazing hikes to do in Yosemite. Some of the favorites are Yosemite Falls, Nevada Falls (mist trail), 4 Mile Trail to Glacier Point and Half Dome (have to win the lottery to climb it). This past trip I hiked Glacier Point with my girlfriends. You can actually drive up Glacier Point lookout, but it doesn’t open until early May once the snow melts. We ended up hiking the trail and they let us go all the way up to the top even though there was snow and it was sketchy! It was an incredible hike though if you want a challenge and want to see the entire park including Half Dome and all of the falls.
I hope my 5 Important Tips for Spring Camping in Yosemite helped you out! Have you been camping in Yosemite in the spring before? Did you enjoy it?