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can you camp Yosemite in the end December

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Lake Forest...
posts: 84
reviews: 6
can you camp Yosemite in the end December

Hi again,

Can you camp anywhere at the end of December in Yosemite?

Is it any good there. Things to do? However, we dont ski

Santa Clara...
posts: 7,574
reviews: 17
1. Re: can you camp Yosemite in the end December

Yes camping available in at least one of the Pines, usually ? North. I wouldn't recommend it unless you are "camping" in an RV or are hardy folks. It gets brutally cold. Even with good pads and subzero sleeping bags, it would still be cold. In fact, it was a freak snowstorm in the spring when we were in our tent that convinced me to sleep in the camper bed (nicely line with Bed Rug) of our pickup from then on out. If you go in winter, stay in a motel/lodge.

Have you read the Top Questions on the right? Here are more articles: tripadvisor.com/Travel-g61000-s1/…Inside.html

Edited: 1:33 pm, August 21, 2013
posts: 68
reviews: 43
2. Re: can you camp Yosemite in the end December

not sure how to post on here! we will be in the park november 2-6 this year. is it too cold for the tent cabins in curry/ and will we need chains driving from SFO? do not have any idea where to stay or how to do this but will have rental car. budget is 100 nite and freind and i like to hike abit are in our 50's. thanks for any help here!

San Mateo...
posts: 896
reviews: 28
3. Re: can you camp Yosemite in the end December

In early November it could snow, or it could be wonderful. At least some of the Curry tent cabins have heaters... Curry also has cabins, some with bathrooms, some without.

You have to assume that you could need chains, particularly if coming in via Hwy 120. The National Park Service will require chains when the CHP doesn't. If you plan on coming in on Hwy 140 chains are not likely required.

The Valley in fall is at its best. I encourage you to go.

One insider hint... there are three old apple orchards in the valley, one between the Village and Yosemite Falls, one in the Curry village parking lot, and the third behind the stables, towards Mirror Lake... in early November the deer and bears will be visiting to feed. Keep your (200' or so) distance if you see animals... the deer are more dangerous than the bears.


posts: 68
reviews: 43
4. Re: can you camp Yosemite in the end December

thanks randy! you answered two concerns- i will come in the 140 route . is the park quiet this time of year? can i make reservation as i arrive then? heard about a place called yosemite bug to stay in mariposa. heard food was good and thinking first nite there then rest in curry tents or cabins . are there any other secrets you wanna share about places to go. intesti8ng the deer are crazier1 thanks for all your help .fell better now!

Santa Clara...
posts: 7,574
reviews: 17
5. Re: can you camp Yosemite in the end December

skykid... it is best you start your own thread because you are asking something different than Cynthia. If you are on a desktop computer, go back up to the Yosemite page and click the orange "Ask a question" button to start your own. Also be sure to read the top questions on the right hand side where regulars have shared their "secrets." tripadvisor.com/Travel-g61000-s1/…Inside.html

san mateo CA
posts: 421
reviews: 23
6. Re: can you camp Yosemite in the end December

When my children were much younger (I am a grandfather now) three times we spent the week between Christmas and New Years camping in the valley.

You do have to have the clothing and equipment for it. Good multiple layers of warm clothes and preferably a waterproof breathable outer layer, sleeping bags and pads and a tent suitable for camping in the snow. This list is not intended to be complete. I only point out that you have to take a good look at what things you might need or if you have camping supplies whether you trust them to be up to the task.

You may be rewarded like we were one year when there was a good layer of snow in the valley and a full moon. Nothing like failing to sleep at night outside on the snow and seeing it fairly glow in the moon. You may also find the whole valley full of slushy snow, as we did one year, and decide to leave earlier than intended because all were tired of being wet and cold. It rained on us once and snowed once, fortunately both times was over night and did not interfere with daytime activities. Although getting up and adjusting tent tie outs in the rain in December is not my idea of fun.

As someone said above the only campsites opened in winter are in the valley. The Tioga pass road is closed and the Glacier Pt. road is closed at Badger Pass. Both are used by cross country skiers and people on snowshoes. They can make for an interesting walk. All the normal attractions in the valley are opened and it is nice to enjoy them without the crowds. Depending on conditions it may be possible to hike to the top of Yosemite falls, remember to get your gloves on fast at the top I have 4 fingertips that still ache a little when I let them get too cold.

I like winter in the valley because it is so quite. So much so that I am promoting a trip for this winter with my family. With the one change being renting a RV. I have 2 grandchildren to think about now. Although a summer camping trip to somewhere less crowded may be in their future.

Mi Wuk Village...
posts: 1,602
7. Re: can you camp Yosemite in the end December

Skykid, Tioga pass will be closed by then. Snow might fall in the lower elevations but either won't stay or the roads will be plowed within hours. If coming in on 120 you won't need chains. BTW... check with your rental agency about chains. Some don't allow. Too many people put them on wrong and then they fly off damaging the car. I'm just outside Yosemite near an unmarked entrance. In this part of California, when ever it snows and the highway patrol puts up chain controls the snow monkeys come out of hibernation and are at every control point putting on chains.

Los Angeles
Destination Expert
for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
posts: 10,284
reviews: 87
8. Re: can you camp Yosemite in the end December

Yosemite is never completely "quiet" and if you want to stay in non-camping lodgings inside the park, you need a reservation all year round. They do events in the park in November and December that fill up their major lodgings.

Thank you, 103BillW, for the word about snow monkeys. We've only gone in via major routes, and have always wondered if they are regularly there (they were when we needed them - we bought the chains right there; road was iced over and it was spitting snow).

Remember, there are no RV hookups in Yosemite Valley, that I know of, and they do not allow you to run your generators 24/7 in any of the Pines campgrounds (or it wouldn't be as quiet as it is). So you still need to be prepared for cold. We find that a properly constructed 3-4 season tent (we use a 3 season because the Valley does *not* get as cold as some other places - like Grand Canyon campgrounds in winter) that is small will stay pretty warm at night. We have bags rated to -15F and I will say that means, I think, you'll still be alive at -15F, not that you'd be comfortable - it gets rather chilly at 15-20 above, we take a down comforter too. It likely will be no where near that cold in Yosemite in either November or December (but it could be, you just never know).

Santa Clara...
posts: 7,574
reviews: 17
9. Re: can you camp Yosemite in the end December

LeB - I guess that makes me weak sauce!! I have the said 3 season tent and bags from REI. It is much warmer sleeping in the truck. And cooking and making a fire when it is snowing or slushing was just no fun. I guess it is all relative. : )

"Brutally cold" in my personal experience was waking up in the middle of the night shivering uncontrollably. But that was my own stupid fault because I forgot my sleeping pad so it was just my bag and the cold ground. The ground literally sucked the heat from my body.

Edited: 6:40 pm, August 21, 2013
Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
posts: 38,981
reviews: 831
10. Re: can you camp Yosemite in the end December

>>We have bags rated to -15F and I will say that means, I think, you'll still be alive at -15F, not that you'd be comfortable<<

LOL, that's funny :-))