Upper Pines Campground is located in breathtaking Yosemite National Park in Central Californias rugged Sierra Nevada Mountain Range at an elevation of 4,000 feet. The site is situated in the heart of Yosemite Valley, an awe-inspiring landscape containing many of the famous features for which Yosemite National Park is known.
Within Yosemite, visitors can gaze upon waterfalls, sheer granite cliffs, deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, vast wilderness areas and much more.
Yosemite Valley is forested with a diverse mix of California black oak, Ponderosa pine, incense-cedar, White fir, and Whiteleaf Manzanita, which offers a pleasant combination of sun and shade. Through the trees, Yosemites telltale granite cliffs peek through, and the gentle, refreshing Merced River flows nearby.
Yosemites trails, cliffs, roads and rivers provide endless recreational activities for any kind of visitor. Hiking, biking, rock climbing, fishing, horseback riding, rafting, auto touring, cross-country skiing and photography are all very popular activities within the park.
Hiking trails range from the easy paved, two-mile roundtrip walk to Mirror Lake/Meadow, to the grueling but rewarding 14- to 16-mile trek to Half Dome (permit required). Both of these trails begin near the Pines Campgrounds, and there are many additional trailheads within Yosemite Valley.
Rafting the Merced River is a fun way to cool down on a summer day when water levels are sufficient. Yosemite Valley also offers numerous guided bus tours, educational programs, museums, ranger-led activities and an art center with workshops.
Upper Pines Campground is the largest of the three reservation campgrounds in Yosemite Valley It offers paved roads and parking spurs, flush toilets, and drinking water. Each campsite contains a picnic table, fire ring, and a food storage locker. Yosemites free shuttle bus stops near the campground entrance.
Nearby historic Curry Village offers a general store, restaurants and bar, amphitheater, coin showers, and tours and activities desk.
Glacier Point offers sweeping views of Yosemite Valley, Little Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, Vernal and Nevada Falls, and Clouds Rest, among other notable landmarks.
The Tioga Road offers a 39-mile scenic drive past forests, meadows, lakes and granite domes. Beautiful Hetch Hetchy Reservoir is home to spectacular scenery and numerous wilderness trailheads.
Great campsite in the middle of the valley. Great location, close to the shuttle, walking distance to hikes. Short drive to the main stores/restaurants.
We stayed here for a night after hiking Half Dome (stayed the previous 3 nights at Lower Pines and were lucky enough to get a spot here for a 4th night after our hike). Busy campground - don't expect privacy and solitude. Stay here for the location and use it as a base camp to explore the Valley; it doesn't get any easier to get around and still have a camping experience!
No showers, showers are available at nearby Half Dome Village. Convenient access to water. Bathrooms were clean. Sites were decent size and had fire pits and bear boxes for food (be sure to use them!). Open sites, little to no privacy, you will see and hear your neighbors. Expect and embrace that.
Easy access to trailheads for hiking and exploring. Rent or bring your bike if you are able - that is by far the best way to get around Yosemite Valley. I would stay here again, simply for the convenience of not having to drive/shuttle in to the Valley to hike, etc.
Tent camping in Yosemite Valley in winter is not for the faint of heart! We were actually one of just a handful of people in the whole campground crazy enough to be in a tent.
The result of the cold was that most people were in RVs. RVs unfortunately means lights and generators and the Rangers did not enforce the generator quiet hours at all.
The nice thing about visiting Yosemite Valley in the winter is that it’s relatively less crowded. It’s still Yosemite and there will be lines for parking and at the more popular places to visit and eat, but nothing like the summer. Roads, pathways, and trails can get very icy, so come prepared.
Considering it’s Yosemite Valley, the sites were actually reasonably far apart. Not so much side to side, but front to back there was a decent amount of space. Behind us was a pretty big open area between our loop and the next.
Upper Pines is close enough to the road and nearby trails that you can easily access the Valley Loop Trail, JMT/Mist Trail, and Mirror Lake Loop trail from the campground.
Yosemite Valley is one of the most spectacular places I have had the pleasure of seeing on this planet and thankfully that’s the case because otherwise the throngs of people would not be worth the trip. Everyone should visit Yosemite Valley at least once in their lifetimes and camping at Upper Pines is a good way to enjoy the valley.
We brought our little Cricket trailer here in August, and I'd say that you stay here just for the location. So centrally located, you can get to basically everything quickly. But it is SO crowded, the bathrooms are sorta meh, and the squirrels are INSANE. Seriously, they're like aggressive ninjas. They WILL steal your stuff.
You go here to enjoy the stuff in Yosemite, you don't go here for the ambiance.
probably the most crowded campgrounds i've ever been to. felt more like an refugee camp as i could literally hear full on conversations from my neighbors. only upside is you are in yosemite valley. bring a bike, you can thank me later.
With Yosemite being one of the BUSIEST campgrounds in California it took over a year and a half to reserve a campground where we could reserve 4 consecutive sites for 4 RVs to camp together. It was absolutely wonderful and worth it. This is a great location if you are interested in the river as well as the numerous hiking trails within the park. Though anywhere you camp if you have your vehicle with you, you can always drive and find parking within the park itself to camp in. It is VERY EXPENSIVE to camp here as well. You have a fee just to get in as the park as well as fees for the campsite and additional vehicles as well. After being fee-ed to death we had a wonderful camping experience! You really have hundreds of options for things to do, places to hike, things to see and experience or you can just chill at your campsite and enjoy what you can with nature. I personally prefer less crowds however I do recommend people camp in any of the Yosemite campgrounds at least once in their lifetime. The stores can get kinda pricy and it takes a bit to truck things in I get that. I loved the end of summer camping however some of the smaller rivers and streams are snowmelt fed so they can get pretty dry. It gets pretty cold… no matter the time of year so please plan accordingly.
Yosemite Falls access and rafting on the Merced are the two big draws to this campground. This is one of the most popular parks in the world, so expect lots of people. It's hard to make a reservation; so you'll have to work pretty hard to get a spot. Go to www.recreation.gov and search for Upper Pines for more info. The campground is well-equipped and close to lots of great Yosemite attractions, and there is bus service throughout the park so you can visit the museum and the largest tree, etc.
If you are lucky enough to snag a reservation ahead of time, then this campground is a great way to enjoy Yosemite. Walking/biking distance to Half Dome Village (formerly Curry Village). Easy access to bathrooms, dumpster, recycling from all campsites. The downsides of this campground is its popularity, but that's the same for any of the camping in Yosemite. The individual sites are all pretty close to each other. Once it hits 7-8 am, your many neighbors will make it hard to sleep any later. You do need to take the animal-protective food regulations seriously, throughout Yosemite. Upper Pines food storage boxes are plenty late, so use them! Both times I've stayed here there were bears that wandered through on one of the nights
Upper Pines Campground in the Yosemite Valley is my home away from home for one week every year.
Pros: Nice shady campgrounds Proximity to Curry Village Close to tons of great hikes Flushable toilets that are pretty clean Overall beautiful campground
Cons: Extremely difficult to get a reservation even if you go on the day it opens Has become more and more crowded every year
Regardless Upper Pines will always be a favorite campground in one of the kost beautiful places in CA.
Upper Pines is very relaxing and has a great family vibe to it. I would recommend this to any camper, whether an avid camper or a first timer. I love how the campground is so close to all of the major trails in the valley.