I'll start by saying that I don't have much experince in large car-camping campgrounds, because we usually stick to smaller remote locations during backpacking trips. However, my our two nights at Upper Pines were a good experience and I would recommend the campground.
Each camp site comes with a picnic table, a firepit, and a bear-proof food locker. FOOD LOCKER: in general, they are pretty big and can fit a couple coolers and lots of bags with food and toiletries. Check the Yosemite website to see the food locker sizes, as some sites have new ones, which differ slightly in size form the old ones. The web site will tell you the sizes by camp site number. FIRE PIT: it's a round metal fire barrier with a grill that covers a third of the space. This grill is too high from the ground to cook with coals, even though you can position it at 4 different levels. To fix the issue, we built a base with large rocks and put coals on top of the rocks. It worked very well and it created a lot of hear with the rocks.
The bathrooms have real flushing toilets and sinks with mirrors. There is no warm water and bring your own soap and towel. They are well stocked with toilet paper and they are kept pretty clean. For warm showers you have to walk or drive to Camp Curry. It's about a 10 minute walk - you'll need to bring your towel, soap, flip-flops recommended, and hair dryer if you need one.
NOISE: overall, everybody respects the 10pm quiet time. By 10:30pm you will probably hear a little noise, but not too bad.
We did not experience the high smoke situation as others have. It wasn't bad. Definitely dusty, as you are camping on the dry ground, not in the grass.
Going to Yosemite, you should expect major campgrounds that are always crowded, so if you want to be alone in the woods, plan to go somewhere else or maybe camp in the backpaking camps up the mountains in the park. Our Upper Pines site number was #185, which was a larger corner lot, not too far nor too close from the bathrooms, and with woods across the little road. I can see how some other lots that are smaller and positioned more in the center of the campground would make a person feel very crowded... but if this is your only option in the always-booked Yosemite, it's not bad. We camped here because it was the only way we could stay in the park - if we wanted to be remote and being in Yosemite was not a priority, we would have not camped in Upper Pines.
I would recommend avoiding the lots adiacent to the bathrooms, as they are going to be more noisy (people walking back and forth) and also bright through the night (movement sensors for the lights in the bathroom).
- Also Known As:
- Upper Pines Campground Hotel Yosemite National Park