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Most Recent El Portal Camping Reviews
The BEST 4 months.

I had the luxury of being a camp host at this location back in 2010 for a summer. While the USFS does over see the campgrounds on a regular basis, It was operated and maintained by Dodge Ridge Ski Resort. I'm pretty sure that if you want power you'll need to be self sufficient i.e( solar, wind or generator). Unless they upgraded the grounds, not sure if there are hook ups of any kind. I had a nice sturdy picnic table and a decent sized fire ring( remember dont leave until you drown your fire with at least 5-10 gal of water) dead out. If you dont bring your own wood that's ok. You are in national forest land if it's dead on the ground then you can burn it, dont get fires too large though. The fishing there is usually great in the summer time as long as the water isnt to high from the snow melt or a recent storm. I ate fresh rainbow trout when ever I took the short medium walk/ hike down to the river. The river is stocked with rainbow trout every Wednesday I think( check USFS website for current schedule and location) if you need to eat or have kids that wanna learn. Almost every cast was a fish for me. Albeit I'm not a beginner fisherman either so not much on the way of clunkers but still plenty of fun. However, there are many places where big fish are and every once in awhile you get a big fish. Some campsites are only for tents while some are for both. It's only available in summer due to roads to the campground are covered in ice and snow, as well as gates blocking the road (which allows the county to not have to plow in the winter.) In the summer it's usually pretty quite and the 10pm quite time, which meant voices down not a huge fire and no music, I allowed an outdoor movie if I was a large group and noise wasnt a nuisance to other campers. It was left to my discretion. Most party campers are only weekenders so weekdays are the best time for nature as well as quiet time. I dont really know about prices but I believe you can check USFS website for more details. The water temp varies is there snow run off? Is it raining or has it in the last 3 days? I found the best time to swim is later in the summer or go down the road to another lake for the day to swim. Fishing was best when the water was cold and slowed when it got too warm. Yes this is one thing I will say the large generator that is run at store was a problem and I've heard they are working on rebuilding so that may still be an issue but after the first 3 days it's not so bad plus I found that some campsites aren't as bad as others and you can barely hear it. Tent sites are even further away from the noise. Remember there are predators in the area; mountain lions, black bear, brown bear( I think however I've never seen one) Bobcats, eagles, falcons, owls. So keep children and small animals close, Watch out because the scavengers up there are very sneaky, raccoons, ravens and even the tree squirrels will steal unattended food as well as draw the bears and mountain lions closer so make sure all food is properly disposed of and stored correctly. Dont just lock it in your car, glass wont stop a bear( look it up on youtube) Remember if you pack it in, make sure to pack it out. Before you leave make sure your fire is completely out. Soak with water, stir, soak, stir, soak. If you can hold your hand over it and not feel any heat then you can leave other wise keep soak and stir. At the time I was in a motor home and was a green horn RVer and made many mistakes and had no idea what I was doing. Nor had i been shown how everything really worked. If you have an rv or travel trailer you can apply for a camp host position single or couple it doesnt matter no rent and pay on top of that. Make sure you bring what you need though there is a few stores down the road its roughly a 30- 45 min drive so double for round trip. There are several water filling stations on the way there( one was a mile sb108 at the forrest station) those are free but the dump stations I believe are all $10.00. If open, can be a line on busier weekends and holidays there are toilets at the campgrounds they are all vault toilets and were cleaned and stocked daily ( unsure if still being done).

I will definitely being returning over and over and F.Y.I If this campground is full their are about 6 more in the area plus a hike in site that's really great.

Small but quiet

Stayed here over and in this area for several years. The sites are good for small camper and more so tents. I believe there are only 10 sites total. No water and only a pit toilet. Plenty of forest service roads to Explorer.

Yosemite Lakes RV Resort, CA

This campground is the most convenient location when visiting Yosemite National Park. It snowed while we were there and the giant trees looked beautiful. Only one out of the two bathrooms was in service. The WiFi service was non existent unless you sat in the laundry room Near the welcome center. About a mile from the campground itself there is a camp store that had anything you may have forgotten and great souvenirs. There’s a playground, but no dog park.

Loved camping here

We absolutely loved camping here. There are mostly walk in sites and 2 drive in sites. We got here in off-season and had the whole campground to ourselves. So peaceful listening to the river all night. Not much car traffic either. There is a really clean privy at the site and a water spiket at the bottom of the road after the bridge. We’re towing a 10-ft trailer and barely made the turn for the suspension bridge. It’s almost a 90 degree turn on a narrow bridge. Just an FYI for people towing. Vans and trucks with slide ins will have a much easier time getting through. It’s kind of nice though because it keeps class A RVs out and keeps it fairly quite and off the grid. There are trash and recycling cans and a bear box at the sites as well. We’d stayed here while visiting Yosemite which we actually preferred to the campground in Yosemite because it’s much warmer here than in Yosemite Valley (at least in the winter). It’s not a bad drive at all!


It was closed…..

We got lucky

These camping spots fill up pretty quick in advance. But we checked for cancellations and got lucky because the storm was coming through in a bunch of people canceled. So we slid right in not minding the weather at all, it made for a great photographs. The campsites are very close together, but it’s a small price to pay to sleep on the valley floor. It allows you to wake up super early and beat the huge crowds to have Yosemite to yourself.


All dirt campground along side a quick moving river. Not as crowded as some of the other campgrounds in the area but not particularly secluded either. Plenty of room for our pop-up and two large dogs.

Worth the drive...?

I have been here twice, and it was nearly empty both times. The first time, we were inexperienced and it was our very first camping trip - we didn’t realize how low in elevation this campground is and man was it HOT. Swimming was not great either so that wasn’t much relief. However - we had PLENTY of room for ourselves and our two big dogs, and plenty of privacy. We made it down the road just fine in our truck pulling a 23” popup, but it’s slow going with a few very tight turns. Might be fun during cooler weather if I were with a group and worried about disturbing other groups at a busier campground, but I doubt we will be back.

Perfect for Families

This campground is only 30 minutes from our home so it’s a very easy weekend get away for us. The road is paved almost all the way to the campground and it’s not far from the highway. For these reasons it’s a very popular campground, I would not expect to show up Friday morning and get a spot. We always have a back up plan in case it’s full. Definitely a busy campground, it can be noisy with kids on bikes and lots of cars driving through. The camp host is very helpful and keeps the bathrooms (vaulted) very clean. There are spots to swim and fish. We never had a problem parking our 27” pop up in any of the spots. If you’re looking for an easily accessible, family friendly campground, this is your spot!

Great tent cabins and facilities

Stayed two nights here in a 2 bed tent cabin. Slept 3 of us perfectly and was somewhat heated. Meaning the heater likes to turn it self off at times cooling the tent back down before kicking back in. The bathroom and showers were great for camping showers. The is a nice lodge style place to hang out plus great pizza place on site as well. This is a perfect place for those who like to camp but not fans of tent camping in cold snowy conditions. I will definitely return!