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During the peak season in Yosemite (and I guess in Yellowstone), I heard that all the reservable campsites are booked out several months in advance. I also read on the Yosemite website that even the walk-in campsites are usually filled up very early.
I was wondering if they make any special considerations to someone that rides up on a bike tour and need to camp (sometimes difficult to predict when we are going to arrive and book in advance). Surely if it's the end of a long day's ride they will allow a cyclist to share an existing campsite rather than telling them to move on (which may be impossible if all the campsites are filled).
Does anyone have any experience with this? Do I just have to learn to sweet-talk the rangers into letting me stay?
05-06-04, 10:59 AM
Hi again, Leon.
Camping in Yosemite is a pain in summer. Yellowstone has a Hiker/Biker site, at least in the main (south, grand?? can't remember the name) campground.
I've camped in Yosemite a lot, but always with a car.
Here are the options:
1) free camp outside the main part of the park, Hwy 120 and Hwy 140 both have options, but no water, services or food. There might be bear issues at either of these.
2) reserve in advance - obviously not an option for a cycle tourist. A few of the campgrounds in the high country (not open yet) and outskirts of the park (Hogden Meadows, Crane) have some first-come-fist-served sites, but these can and do fill up.
3) backpackers campground - there is a walk-in campground that is available for folks with wilderness permits, for the night before and after their hikes. You might want to call the rangers and see if they will allow you to stay in those, it seems to me like an appropriate use (of course, I'm not a ranger ;) )
4) Camp 4, the walk-in campground. This fills up in peak season (now to September) and there is usually a line to get a site early in the morning - the kiosk opens at 8:30, the line starts..... well, the night before. you can sleep in line :)
5) get a wilderness permit, and hike beyond the wilderness boundaries.
Please take the bear precautions very seriously. There are bear-proof boxes available in the Camp Curry parking lot. You should probably isolate your food and cooking equipment (ALL OF IT) to one or two panniers from the very beginning of your trip, and put those in a bear container in Yosemite. This includes susnscreen, lip balm, toiletries, etc.
Anna - the valley in VALYGRL is Yosemite Valley
LEON, see my PM for more details
05-06-04, 09:44 PM
I've biked into Yosemite a number of times and have ALWAYS been able to camp at the hiker campground.
Since Yosemite doesn't have any designated hiker/biker sites this campground - which is absolutely lovely compared to other valley campgrounds - is the de facto option - - but you must have cycled into the park.
It doesn't appear that Yosemite has any formal bike camping policy - amazing, no? - you sometimes get different responses at the backcountry office. Yes, the campground is intended as the first and/or last night for backcountry hikers - but you can choose one of two options - ask permission or risk asking forgiveness - for the latter - just cycle into the campground - register & PAY - 95% chance you won't be hassled. There is no permanent ranger presence at the backcountry campground.
If you ask permission - are already there - and all campgrounds are full - and are denied - ask to speak to that person's supervisor - be very clear that the most recent Yosemite visitor plan has as its primary focus the need to reduce automobile traffic coming into the valley. Stress that the lack of provision of cyclist sites - when they exist in nearly every other western national park - contradicts the very nature of this policy goal. - - i.e. shame them into letting you stay.
I have NEVER had any difficulty - but I also don't try to stay over busy summer weekends, either. My guess is that you can cycle into Yosemite and camp in the backcountry campground any summer weekday or anytime spring or fall. Enjoy your trip.
John - email@example.com