This campground is a nice jumping off spot for lots of the fun stuff to do around Wawona. Jump in the creek for a swim or walk across the road and check out the covered bridge and barn around the pioneer history center. Swimming holes all up and down those creeks. In high tourist season it is worth stopping at Wawona hotel and having a drink and listening to the Piano player in the eve.
Yosemite is one of my very favorite places in The world, but I have yet to camp in Yosemite Valley. One, the valley campgrounds fill up IMMEDIATELY when registration opens in March of each year, and two, I do prefer to be in quieter campgrounds with more space in and between sites. Wawona is within the gates of Yosemite National Park, and is about 25 minutes away from the valley floor - it’s not too far of a drive, but it’s on the windy mountainous Highway 41 into Yosemite.
Wawona is located next to the Merced River, so I chose a riverside campsite. The river was by no means at the heels of the site, but it was less than 50 yards away at the time we were there, and we were there in drought conditions.
Wawona has nice clean bathrooms and we had our own bear bin in our campsite. Camping amongst the trees and next to the Merced was gorgeous and peaceful, and I recommend it it anyone who does not want to camp like sardines in the Yosemite Valley.
CAUTION: be extremely aware of bears while camping in Yosemite National Park! Each campsite in Wawona has a bear bin - USE YOUR BEAR BIN! Bears are known to break into cars to snack from coolers or any food or toiletries are left out. The bear bins are quite large, so coolers do fit inside - bears can still smell food in coolers inside of cars, and apparently recognize a cooler when they peak into your car windows. If you have to leave your cooler in the car, it is suggested that you cover it up with towels or gear to hide it from site. On the same note, do not leave any of your toiletries or snacks inside the tent with you. In general it seems that the rangers seem to have good control over the bears that have been tagged and are constantly monitored, but not all bears are tagged, and even the tagged bears will make their way into Yosemite campgrounds. Be smart and safe in bear country!
Fees: $26/night peak ($18/night non-peak)
Plumbed Toilets: Yes
Drinking Water: Yes
Picnic Table: Yes
Cooking Grate: Yes
Cell Service: No
Animal Bins/Food lockers: Yes
Love this campground! Large, well kept campground that has the beautiful Merced river running along side of it. The campsites (particularly those in loop C) are pretty large, with adequate space between them so that you don’t feel crowded, unlike the campsites in the campgrounds in Yosemite Valley. Many of the campsites in loop C have river views. The campground is generally pretty quiet during sleeping hours, 10 p.m. - 7 a.m.
As with all the other other campgrounds in Yosemite, there are no showers. You have to go to housekeeping near Half Dome Village in the Valley for access to showers, or bring a solar shower with a water catch basin to stand in (no dirty/soapy water is allowed to seep into the ground or river). However, the bathrooms do have flush toilets. Each campsite allows parking for two cars and the campground has some free overflow parking spots as well if you have an extra car. Many of the sites are large enough accommodate several tents. The bear boxes are large enough for at least two full size coolers and some bags of food and toiletries. All food, drinks (except water) and toiletries must go in the bear box. So if you have more than a couple of people, you may want to coordinate and plan out the food that you bring to make sure it will all fit in the bear box.
About a mile away is a general store and gas station, which is great for stocking up on ice and snacks. Cell service is very limited at the campground, but if you can’t unplug for your entire trip, the Wawona library is about a mile away (turn right out of the campground, then turn left on Chilnualna Falls Rd. and it’s a good ways down the road) and it has free, unsecured Wi-Fi. Yosemite Valley also has decent cell service.
It is about a 40 minute scenic drive to Yosemite Valley, but the campground is close to the Giant Sequoias, so there are still nearby scenic hiking options. Plus, Glacier Point Road is on the way back (along highway 41) to the campground from the Valley, which is perfect for a trip up to Glacier Point for awesome sunset views of Half Dome and some waterfalls. Just be sure to get there at least an hour or more before sunset (especially on weekends) as there may be a line for parking.
Unlike the valley floor campgrounds, you can usually still get a campsite at this campground, even if you are not clicking reserve on the reservation website at exactly 7:00 a.m.
I really enjoy this campground and will definitely go back!
I spent the end of my summer here last year and it was my best memory of the whole summer. Yosemite is a total dream. All of the photos and videos you see of Yosemite don’t even compare to seeing it in person. It is heaven on earth. Though Yosemite is quite busy, it is still an incredible place.
We did half dome while there, one of the most famous hikes there is in the park. It did not disappoint. We started at 6am and finished at 5pm. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but also one of the most rewarding. Yosemite has all the things you need as well. A grocery store, cabins, Ansel Adams’ gallery. The waterfalls are magnificent. It is also wheelchair acceable! We didn’t need this, but it warms my heart to know every human can experience such beauty of nature.
Go to Yosemite!!
We camped in mid-April and had both a bit of snow and springtime weather. The campground is spacious and pull through campsite clean, pretty level, and right along the river. Wawona has an interesting historical area and a not to miss waterfall that is a nice hike and just lovely. Because it is set back, there aren’t the crowds as in the village. Wawona is a nice drive away from the Village and other must visit sites.
Good restrooms nearby, no showers but there is a creek nearby. Great location away from crowded places. Bring bug repellent. Mosquitoes were having a feast. Drove to camp site.
This campground is awesome! Right by the river with bathrooms and water access. Lots of families come to this campground. RV accessible also! It’s about 10 miles from the park entrance and about 30 min from the valley. Book in advance to reserve your spot
we arrived late to campground, but they had a sign posted that told us everything we needed to know, so that we could check in in the morning. The park ranger that we met in the morning was super nice and gave us a map of the Yosemite Valley. We took advantage of that and ended up going to the Yosemite Valley Lodge and caught some awesome views and some nice hikes. My favorite part about the campground was the nice cold refreshing stream that flowed right through our campground. did offered a peaceful lullaby as we drifted to sleep. I highly recommend this Campground!
37 awesome creekside. water spigot close. bathrooms slight walk. slight slant. bring bug spray!
Well-maintained, fire-pit at each site. Group camping available. Love that the site is by a stream for some white noise. One of the bathroom facilities was out of order during my visit, so there were porto-johns. The bathroom facility closest to my campsite was working, but did not have light ("solar-powered") at night. Not many trees for hammocking in Loop A. Location is out of the way since we didn't go to the valley but was headed to Tioga Road.