Yosemite National Park, located in the heart of California’s spectacular Sierra Nevada Mountains, is, justifiably, one of America’s most popular national parks. Visitors flock to Yosemite every summer to marvel at its towering granite walls, domes and pinnacles, as well as its spectacular meadows, waterfalls and wildlife. No trip to Yosemite is complete without taking at least a short walk or hike to soak in the majesty of this glacier-carved landscape, away from the park’s busy roads and villages. Yet, with its limited camping and lodging options, it can be challenging to visit the park during its busy summer season. Fortunately, there are several campgrounds and resorts located just short distances outside of the park that make suitable alternatives to the often congested and overcrowded park facilities, while still allowing easy access to the park’s sights, attractions, and trails.
Yosemite Lakes RV Resort is located 80 miles east of Modesto, and just 5 miles west of Yosemite National Park’s Big Oak Flat entrance station. This large, year-round resort offers nearly 400 sites for RV and tent campers along the banks of the South Fork Tuolumne River. RV campers can choose from open, grassy spaces, or shady, wooded spaces with full hookups; tent campers can set up under mostly shady pine woods. Sites are equipped with picnic tables and fire pits, and restrooms and shower facilities are conveniently located throughout the resort. The resort also offers a variety of cottages, cabins, yurts and bunkhouses. Onsite amenities include a country store, laundry room, Wifi and satellite TV service, trash receptacles, gas station, and propane depot. Dogs are permitted. Reservations are recommended, however many tent sites are first-come, first-served. Seasonal campsite rates are $41–$75/night; other accommodations range from $86–$305/night.
For campers looking for a little rest and relaxation time outside of the busy national park, the resort offers a variety of amenities and activities. There’s a playground for the kids, and mini golf, shuffleboard, horseshoes, and basketball for kids of all ages. Swimming, floating, fishing, and gold panning can be enjoyed on the South Fork Tuolumne River, which flows right through the resort area. The resort also hosts group activities, movies and weekend events. Nearby activities include swimming, fishing, boating and water skiing on Don Pedro Reservoir and New Melones Lake, as well as touring the old mining towns of Sonora, Angels Camp and Murphys. When it’s time to visit Yosemite National Park: Hetch Hetchy Reservoir is 45 minutes away; Yosemite Valley is 1 hour away; Tuolumne Meadows is 80 minutes away; and Mariposa Grove is 90 minutes away. In the busy summer season, it’s good to allow extra time to get to these destinations, and have patience looking for parking.
Thousand Trails Membership allows me to stay 21 days free. Just 5 miles outside of Yosemite Entrance or Catch the bus right here at the campground. Campfires allowed. Lots of activities for the kids. Dog Friendly. Creek near by to cool off during hot summer days.
We stayed here in May 2019 in a car with a roof top tent (tepui). Since it was early in the season the campground was pretty empty. The sites by the river are nice for the river noise to fall asleep too, but as we later found out they also flood when it rains. Overall, I think this is a good alternative if you can't get any camping in the park. Pros:
- Available when Yosemite National Park isn't
- Close to the park
- Has wifi and hot showers Cons:
- Bathrooms could use some work
We are members of Thousand Trails so our review may be a little different than someone who is a non-member. Here's why. The majority of the campground (the nicer parts next to the river) is for members only. The smaller, tighter section is for non-members.
WiFi: Yes they have it. It is only available in the 'lounge area'. It's VERY slow. Instead I went east by 4 miles to a hotel to have a beer and connect for work.
Sites: Those by the river are packed close together and more shaded. We didn't care to be packed like sardines, so we opted for one of the middle sites. Hardly anyone was in these sites so it was quiet and spacious. No problem with full-hookups.
Events:It's a resort so they have something going on every weekend. While we were there it was a family movie and Octoberfest (beer and bratwurst for $5). Then smores by the fire with music. It was nice.
Proximity: Although it is very close to the park boundary, it is still an hour to the valley. We couldn't get a spot in the valley so we accepted this as the way it was. No biggie. There was also a bus that took you into the valley in the morning and back in the afternoon for a reasonable price.
Service: The staff was friendly and patient with all the folks that came in at 7pm begging/demanding for a site.
Overall, I would go back.
You may as well stay close, right? Well… Whip out your wallet and empty on it on the check-in desk of this thousand trails (or whatever) park. For the price of the presidential penthouse suite at the top of the Reno Nugget, I was granted access to a dusty, undefined pad of petrified dirt on the outskirts of this RV and yurt focused campground on which to erect my elaborate two-pole tent. It was a little noisy and occupied by an effervescent mixture of post-millenial biker kids and scowling unibrow backpack bros in Arctic-ready shelters.
Here's the thing: the staff was super friendly, the store was well stocked, and where the holy everloving fuckelse was I gonna go? From tent teardown to nat'l park access was probably all of 15 minutes. Equally 100% bilked and satisfied - aka "thank you sir, may I have another!?"
We recently rent camped here and absolutely loved the campground. Our tent site was #311 and it was perfectly tucked in the trees with a stream alongside. The kids enjoyed playing in the river, where there is a spot deep enough to jump off a rock-Hammocks and hammock stands were nearby. mini golf and lawn jenga were also a hit. The campground is located near the park entrances for both Yosemite valley and Hetch Hetchy as well as the turn off for Tioga Pass. We enjoyed all of the above. A bench in the shower area would be nice, the only thing I would recommend for improvement.
Fairly clean, a few of the dishes needed rewashed, but it‘s required that the previous occupants wash and put away their dishes. Quiet, the neighbors were all pretty quiet, occasioanlly a car would drive past the road that backs up to the yurts. Comfortable bed, gas stove heater and AC worked well. I didn’t use the propane grill that was on the balcony, it was very dirty, and one of the grates were broken. Nothing spectacular about my 2 night stay. About an hour drive all the way to Yosemite Village.
Yosemite Lakes RV Resort was a gem of a campground. It was like we were nestled in the heart of Yosemite Valley but we were actually over an hour away from it. A taste of what Yosemite National Park has to offer, if you will. They offer the best riverfront camping spots. The tranquil waters were a pleasant surprise to our trip. We have been to Yosemite many times but have never experienced it quite like this before. I recommend Yosemite Lakes RV Resort to anyone looking to take a relaxing break from lifes hustle and bustle.
Cool place to pull off for the night