Looking for an unforgettable RV camping experience in one of America’s most iconic natural wonders? Look no further than Upper Pines Campground in Yosemite National Park.
With over three decades of experience exploring the great outdoors, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help you plan the perfect trip.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about RV camping at Upper Pines Campground, from reservations and amenities to activities and nearby attractions.
Location and Reservations
Upper Pines Campground is located in Yosemite Valley, just east of Curry Village. This puts it in close proximity to many of the park’s top attractions.
The campground is open year-round, but reservations are highly recommended, especially during peak season (May through September).
Reservations can be made up to five months in advance, and they can be booked online through Recreation.gov.
Making a reservation at Upper Pines Campground can be a bit tricky, especially during peak season. Our article on Upper Pines Campground Reservation Process provides step-by-step instructions on how to reserve a campsite.
The campground has 238 sites, and approximately half of them can accommodate RVs up to 35 feet in length. The other half can accommodate RVs up to 40 feet in length.
Each campsite at Upper Pines Campground comes equipped with a picnic table, fire ring, and food storage locker. There are restrooms with flush toilets and drinking water spigots throughout the campground.
There are no electrical or water hookups for RVs, but there is a dump station near the entrance. Showers are available at Curry Village for an additional fee.
Our article on Facilities in Upper Pines Campground and Curry Village provides information on the campground’s restrooms, drinking water, and dump station, and a lot more.
Tips for RV Camping at Upper Pines Campground
Reserve your site early, especially if you plan to visit during peak season.
Be prepared for limited amenities. There are no electrical or water hookups for RVs, and there are no showers at the campground.
Bring bear-proof containers for all food and scented items. Bears are common in Yosemite Valley and are attracted to anything that smells like food.
Use the free shuttle to get around Yosemite Valley. Parking can be limited, especially during peak season.
Be prepared for variable weather conditions. Temperatures can range from below freezing to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and rain is possible at any time of year.
Respect wildlife and follow all park regulations. Yosemite is home to many rare and endangered species, and it is important to protect them for future generations to enjoy.
There are plenty of activities to keep visitors busy at Upper Pines Campground.
The campground is within walking distance of many popular attractions, including Yosemite Falls, the Mist Trail, and the Valley Loop Trail.
The free Yosemite Valley Shuttle stops at the campground, making it easy to explore other areas of the park. There are also ranger-led programs and campfire programs offered throughout the summer.
Family-Friendly Activities at Upper Pines Campground:
Upper Pines Campground is a great destination for families, with plenty of activities for kids and adults alike.
Some of the top family-friendly activities at Upper Pines include hiking, biking, and stargazing. For more information, check out our article on “Family-Friendly Activities at Upper Pines Campground.“
Upper Pines Campground to Half Dome:
For those looking for a challenge, hiking to the top of Half Dome is one of the most iconic hikes in Yosemite National Park.
Our article on Upper Pines Campground to Half Dome is your ultimate guide!
Exploring Yosemite Valley:
Yosemite Valley is one of the most popular areas of the park, and for good reason. It is home to many of Yosemite’s most iconic landmarks, including Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, and El Capitan.
Visitors to Yosemite Valley can enjoy a variety of activities, including hiking, rock climbing, birdwatching, and photography.
There are many great hiking trails in Yosemite Valley, ranging from easy strolls to strenuous hikes.
Some of the most popular hikes include the Mist Trail to Vernal and Nevada Falls, the Yosemite Falls Trail, and the Valley Loop Trail.
These hikes offer stunning views of the park’s waterfalls, granite cliffs, and lush meadows.
Yosemite Valley is world-renowned for its rock climbing opportunities. Some of the most famous climbs in the world are located in Yosemite Valley, including El Capitan and Half Dome.
While these climbs are only for experienced climbers, there are plenty of easier climbs for beginners as well.
The park offers a variety of climbing classes and guided climbs for those who want to learn more.
Yosemite Valley is home to a variety of bird species, including Steller’s jays, American dippers, and western tanagers.
Birdwatchers can enjoy spotting these species and many others throughout the park.
Some of the best areas for birdwatching include the Merced River and the meadows near Yosemite Falls.
Yosemite Valley is a photographer’s paradise. The park’s stunning landscapes and unique geological formations make for incredible photo opportunities.
Some of the best places to capture the park’s beauty include Tunnel View, Glacier Point, and Yosemite Falls.
Exploring Beyond Yosemite Valley:
While Yosemite Valley is certainly the most popular area of the park, there are plenty of other areas worth exploring as well. Here are a few of the top destinations beyond the valley.
Located about an hour’s drive from Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point offers stunning views of Half Dome and the surrounding peaks. Visitors can drive or hike to the point and enjoy panoramic views of the valley below.
Home to some of the largest trees in the world, the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Yosemite. The grove is located about an hour’s drive south of Yosemite Valley and features several hiking trails and a visitor center.
Located at an elevation of 8,600 feet, Tuolumne Meadows is a high-elevation meadow area that offers stunning views of the surrounding peaks. Visitors can enjoy hiking, fishing, and camping in this beautiful area.
Hetch Hetchy Reservoir:
Located on the park’s western edge, Hetch Hetchy Reservoir is a popular destination for hikers and backpackers. The area offers a variety of trails that lead to stunning views of the park’s waterfalls and granite cliffs.
Wildlife in Upper Pines Campground:
Yosemite National Park is home to a variety of wildlife, including black bears, mountain lions, and deer. Our article on Wildlife in Upper Pines Campground provides information on the park’s wildlife and tips for safely viewing them.
Choosing the best Campsites at the Upper Pines Campground, Yosemite
Not all campsites at Upper Pines Campground are created equal. Our article on the Upper Pines Campground, Yosemite provides information on the best sites in the campground, including those with the most privacy, best views, and easiest access to hiking trails.
Spoiler – We would fight to keep campsite #30 for ourselves 🙂
RV camping at Upper Pines Campground is an incredible way to experience the beauty of Yosemite National Park.
With its central location, beautiful scenery, and abundance of activities, it is a popular destination for visitors from around the world.
Whether you’re interested in hiking, rock climbing, birdwatching, or photography, Yosemite has something for everyone.
So book your reservation at Upper Pines Campground today and start planning your adventure!