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“Central but busy”

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North Pines Campground
San Diego, California
Level 4 Contributor
15 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Central but busy”
Reviewed December 30, 2013

We somehow snagged what appears to have been one of the best campsites in the entire Yosemite Valley -- site 136. It was clean and complete with a fire pit, bear bin, and picnic table, but the real prize was that it was situated right along the burbling Tenaya Creek AND that we could see Half Dome through the trees! We could set up our camp chairs along the river and read or just take in the beauty of the surroundings. It was perfect.

Except for the heat -- we foolishly decided to visit in the middle of August, and it ended up being horribly hot, dry, and dusty, with no breeze to break up the heat. It was hard to enjoy hiking or simply moving at all with that kind of weather, so we decided to leave a day early. The other problem with going in August is that the waterfalls are dry. So I would highly recommend to anyone visiting Yosemite to come in June when the waterfalls are flowing and the weather is more mild.

We tend to be solitude-seekers when we camp, but we wanted a site in the Valley so that we could explore the major sites. We found out very quickly that the Valley is very busy and loud. It feels more like a theme park than a national park, with tour buses and souvenir shops and lines of people hiking along the trails. So if you're coming for a peaceful escape from crowds, this is not your spot. I would recommend somewhere outside the Valley instead. There are still beautiful sites to be seen elsewhere in the park.

The campground itself was not terribly loud, but there was definitely a higher level of noise from all the people, generators, cars, and bear bins. People are always coming and going and talking loudly. We didn't enjoy that as much, but it was the price to pay to have easy access to some of the most amazing views we've ever seen in all our camping trips.

We didn't see any bears, but we heard several times each night when the park rangers would be yelling and making noise to scare away a bear in the area. That disrupted our sleep a little, but it's better to be safe and it's better that the bears stay away from humans. The bears are very conditioned to know that the campgrounds have food, so please put all food, snacks, treats, beauty/personal care products, sunscreen, or anything scented in the bear bin provided at the campsite. We need to keep the bears wild!

Everyone should visit Yosemite once in his or her lifetime, and North Pines offers a perfect central location to the main attractions in the Valley -- if you're willing to sacrifice quiet and solitude for breathtaking sights and less driving time.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
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12 Thank Cass2345
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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62 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (11)
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English first
London, England, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed September 23, 2013

We stayed here for 3 nights and found it to be a lovely little campsite. Try and get a spot next to the river if you can as it is really peaceful and good for cooling off after a hike (very cold though!).

The campsite is very shady (as you would expect) and a little dusty at the end of summer and each site has a picnic bench and fire pit. No showers on the site but some close at Curry Village. The ranger on the desk was also very helpful!

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
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3 Thank Jen M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamilton, New Zealand
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed August 30, 2013

After some initial stressful moments using the bizarre booking system they have in place for these campgrounds, we were rewarded upon arrival with one of the finest campsite locations known to man. We were lucky enough (and I still don't know how I managed it) to bag a campsite right by the river (site 522).

Initially we were apprehensive about the idea of bears randomly wandering through the campsite, although we actually only saw bears once in Yosemite Valley (near to the campsite, but not actually in it). We did wake in the middle of the night once to see my rucksack disappearing out the door of the tent. Not wanting to lose my precious ipad to what I assume was a very strong squirrel, I swiftly retrieved it before it vanished altogether. This enforced the fact that EVERYTHING with a scent had to be stored in the bear box - no exceptions!!!

The campsite itself had everything you needed, apart from showers, but that wasn't a deal breaker for us - camping is all about being a bit grubby anyway. We showered every couple of days at Camp Curry, only a 5 minute walk away. And they were damn good shows too.

Thinking about going there? Do it.....you won't be sorry.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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5 Thank mouflonman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
United States
Level 6 Contributor
98 reviews
78 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
Reviewed August 6, 2013

We stayed at 4 different campgrounds and North pines was by far the best one. We had a river side, private site with a view of half dome!! What more could we ask for. It was great, quiet, near the bathrooms. I wish we were able to stay there our whole visit but feel lucky that we even got to stay there one night. If you have the chance to get a spot here, grab it immediately!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
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3 Thank levelsix
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed July 13, 2013

Not the most private campsite, but the huge trees and accessibility to trails, the river, etc. make this a perfect location to explore Yosemite. We were one of the only tents on the site, almost everyone else had trailers, but that didn't impact our stay. We only stayed for two nights and I could have happily stayed for another week. There's so much to do and see!

Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Redvelle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level 6 Contributor
80 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
Reviewed July 8, 2013

After camping at The Download Festival a few times this was like a 5 star hotel. The campsite was full but felt so open and spacious. Everyone seemed to have a huge amount of space. We had site number 115 and it was opposite the toilets which suited us just fine. 50 meters from the river which was great to go in for a swim. Bear box was simple to use and we didn't see any bears or hear any noise at night from rangers. There were some rowdy families who kept shouting stuff randomly but this stopped at 10am and we had a good nights sleep for the 2 nights we stayed. The shuttle bus is just up the road and is essential to getting around to the showers, hikes and shops. We didn't drive anywhere. It gets a bit cold at night but was roasting during the day so be prepared. Obviously you have to be organised and a bit lucky to get yourself a campsite but I would highly recommend it!

Room Tip: Site 115 is near a restroom.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank euphmag
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, England
Level 6 Contributor
378 reviews
193 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 316 helpful votes
Reviewed June 30, 2013

We had a really good pitch adjacent to the river (524) at this camp which can feel crowded if you are on a pitch in the centre of the camp. We reserved our spot 5 months before we went there – an absolute must if you want a good spot. There are no facilities at this camp other than a few toilets which other campers tend to leave rather dirty. It is a very good primitive camp site for Yosemite and we would love to stay there again.

Room Tip: Book a pitch the second bookings open - leave it a few minutes and they will all be sold
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank PaulHarvey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about North Pines Campground

Property: North Pines Campground
Address: East Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, CA 95389
Location: United States > California > Yosemite National Park
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 24 Specialty Lodging in Yosemite National Park
Number of rooms: 81
Also Known As:
North Pines Campground Hotel Yosemite National Park

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