Can you just turn up at yosemite national park?

Travel Forums North America Can you just turn up at yosemite national park?

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1. Posted by tomuk (First Time Poster 1 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hi I was wondering if anybody has any advice on travelling around yosemite national park?Can you just turn up and camp in september time?Are you allowed on your own or do you have a guide with you?Genral advice appreciated.

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5296 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

It depends. Some campgrounds you need to reserve on advance. Some work on a "first come, first serve" basis - but according to the website, those still fill up by noon from May through September. The park itself is 'always' open (within limits; if it gets too busy, they've been known to just not let any more people in; but that's rare). Basically, if you're planning to go during a weekend, you need to be really lucky to be able to camp inside the park in September. But if you're going on a weekday late in the month, you should be fine as long as you don't turn up too late in the day.
You can go hiking everywhere on your own, but if you want to make that an overnight hike (that is, camp somewhere in the wilderness), you need to get a (free, but in limited daily supply) wilderness permit.

3. Posted by DocNY (Respected Member 438 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

You don't need a guide but you may need a campsite permit. Contact the park to find out the rules and availability for the dates you want.

4. Posted by pinkgirlie (Full Member 121 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I camped for 3 nights in Yosemite in June this year. We booked a couple of nights before we arrived as we were having trouble camping elsewhere since it was so busy everywhere. We got the last spot in the furthest out camp site. It was tent only, which was fine for us, but anyone in an RV would have been turned away. It had a toilet block and a faucet but that was all, the only shower block is in the Yosemite Village area which was a 45 minute drive away.

We loved it! We were hiking all morning and cooling off in the river later in the day. And being further out meant there were no RV's on our site which was great. I can't remember the name of the campsite but it began with a W or an M and was by the south entrance. It was beautiful.

So no, you don't need a guide, and if you just plan to camp in a tent and have a regular car like we did you don't need a permit. When you pay for your spot they give you a permit to display on your tent and one for your car. But once you know which dates you want I would seriously advise booking it. The earlier the better, there are first come first served but they seriously do get filled first thing in the morning. People even arrive in the dead of night to secure a spot!

One other piece of advice, if you plan to visit other national parks I would consider an annual pass. We didn't get one and ended up spending a lot more money than we would have.

I hope this helps, Sarah.