Unveiling Yosemite’s Beauty: A Guide to North Pines Campground

Embark on a journey to the heart of Yosemite Valley, where the North Pines Campground beckons with its tranquil setting at the confluence of Tenaya Creek and the Merced River. Shrouded by majestic conifers, this campground offers 81 idyllic sites, some along the Merced River, providing a perfect blend of nature and comfort. As you plan your visit to this Yosemite gem, explore our guide for essential tips, strategies, and gear recommendations to ensure an optimal camping experience beneath the towering granite cliffs.

Map & Reservations

Top Tips for First-Time Campers:

  • Strategic Reservation Timing: To secure your preferred dates, aim to make reservations up to five months in advance, starting at 7:00 a.m. (PT) on the 15th of each month. This ensures a broader window for selecting arrival dates and guarantees your spot in this coveted campground.
  • Mindful Food Storage: Adhere to Yosemite’s strict guidelines on storing food and scented items. Utilize bear-proof lockers at each campsite and avoid storing food in vehicles. Following these guidelines minimizes the risk of bear encounters and ensures a safe camping experience.
  • Consider RV and Trailer Limitations: While 13 sites are specifically designed for RVs or trailers, not all sites can accommodate the maximum lengths mentioned. Carefully read vehicle limitations on the reservation site to avoid complications during your stay.
  • Backpackers’ Camp Option: For those with wilderness permits, consider the Backpackers’ Camp located across the creek from the north end of North Pines Campground. Plan accordingly, as vehicles must be parked at the trailhead or Curry Village parking lot after unloading.
  • Shuttle Convenience: Take advantage of the free shuttle service connecting to sites around the valley. This convenient service allows you to explore Yosemite Valley without the need to drive, enhancing your overall experience.

Top Strategies and Tactics for an Optimal Camping Experience:

  • Ideal Camping Season: North Pines Campground usually opens mid-April through mid-October, weather permitting. For the best experience, plan your visit during this period to enjoy moderate weather and a wider range of activities.
  • Mirror Lake Excursion: Seize the opportunity for a 1.2-mile walk to Mirror Lake, providing breathtaking views of Half Dome. This relatively easy hike is a must for capturing the essence of Yosemite’s natural beauty.
  • Take Advantage of Free Shuttle: Utilize the free shuttle service for easy access to various attractions within Yosemite Valley. Whether it’s a short hike to Mirror Lake or exploring the Valley Visitor and Wilderness centers, the shuttle enhances your mobility.
  • Nature and History Programs: Immerse yourself in the rich offerings of Yosemite, including nature and photography walks, history tours, art classes, children’s programs, and more. Check the schedule for these programs and participate in enriching experiences during your stay.
  • Regulated Campfires and Generators: Note that campfires are permitted from May through September only between 5:00 PM and 10:00 PM. If you plan to use a generator, adhere to the designated time slots of 7 AM to 9 AM, Noon to 2 PM, and 5 PM to 7 PM.

Recommendations on Camping Gear:

  • Bear-Proof Food Locker: Given Yosemite’s bear population, prioritize the use of bear-proof food lockers provided at each campsite. Safeguarding your food ensures not only your safety but also the well-being of Yosemite’s wildlife.
  • Comfortable Campfire Setup: Enhance your evenings with a comfortable campfire setup. Pack essentials like firewood, fire starters, and marshmallow roasting sticks for a cozy and enjoyable campfire experience.
  • Weather-Appropriate Clothing: Yosemite’s weather can vary, so pack layers and weather-appropriate clothing. Be prepared for temperature fluctuations, especially during the evening, ensuring your comfort throughout your stay.
  • Optimized Cooking Gear: Maximize your culinary experience with well-chosen cooking gear. Bring compact and versatile cooking equipment suitable for campsite cooking, allowing you to prepare delicious meals amidst Yosemite’s natural beauty.
  • Explore Our Gearlist: For detailed gear recommendations, including camp cooking essentials, sleeping systems, overlanding setups, backpacks, and clothing, visit our gearlist account. Discover the exact gear that elevates our camping experience in Yosemite Valley.

Check out our Gearlist for the gear we use for trips like this

Our Gearlist account lists all of the gear we use. Discover our top picks, where to snag them, and stay informed with our regular updates.

Immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty of Yosemite at North Pines Campground. Follow our guide to ensure a seamless and enjoyable camping adventure beneath the iconic granite cliffs, surrounded by the serenity of nature.