Although it is located 50 minutes from the heart of Yosemite Valley, the Wawona Campground is a place that is not in the crowded valley, it has basic facilities, and campers who know how to camp. We really enjoyed our fellow campers. No noise pollution from idiots who bring their loud radios, and no loud people at night. (In Yosemite Valley campsites, you will always experience these type of people.) There is a different vibe here, and although we did see a good amount of RV campers, the sites were dominated by car-campers who set up tents. (Like us.)
I went to Tripadvisor to review this location, since we have never camped there before, and it was a good thing I did. Fellow reviewers said to bring a sun-canopy since some of the sites offer little shade. I brought my canopy and actually set it up over my bear-box which was hot as an oven when we arrived. Our site (#59 Loop C) was very, very sunny. Luckily there was a large tree that we set our tent under, but we had to keep moving our picnic table when having dinner to enjoy shade provided from the limited amount of tree cover at this particular site.
Now, having said that, there isn't much to see at this campground, and since there are many, many things to see in Yosemite, we were not in the camp that much during the middle of the day. So, the lack of shade was only a problem during the hours when we were in camp to have our dinner. (4pm to 6pm).
The only other problem with this campsite is that there are no showers. But, we knew that and brought our "sun-showers" and washed in the bed of my truck. But know this, the use of soap is forbidden at the campsite while bathing, so we would rinse, and then use Cottonelle wipes for the actual cleaning. (The nearest showers were located in Housekeeping Camp in Yosemite Valley, 50 minutes away.) Some fellow reviewers complained that there are no lights in the restrooms. This is true, so bring a mini flashlight lantern and you will be fine. Water is provided at many locations throughout the entire campsite, so you won't have to bring your own. (Or, not as much as you think you will need.)
There is a little bit of road noise at the campsite, but nothing that will annoy you. The sounds of the wind in the trees, birds, and Wawona Creek dominate more than anything else. (Until the trash truck arrives.) They allow fires at any time throughout the day, unlike Yosemite Valley, so it was nice to have a morning fire. (Not allowed in the valley.) The Wawona Hotel and General Store is one mile from the campground. (There is no campground shuttle service.) The store will have anything you need if you have forgotten something in your supplies and has souvenirs. There is also a great gift shop at Hill's Studio on the hotel grounds.
Things to do in the immediate area are: Hill's Studio and Visitor Center, the Pioneer Center, Horseback riding, and enjoying Wawona Creek. (We saw campers floating down the creek.) There is also a shuttle stop for the Mariposa Grove of Big Trees, which is free. There is limited parking by the shuttle, but not to worry, there is more parking on the hotel grounds.
Another thing to do is a drive to Glacier Point. It is a 45 minute drive, but much faster getting there from Wawona than the valley since you don't have to fight valley traffic and tour buses.
To sum up: Better fellow campers here than in Yosemite Valley; free shuttle to Mariposa Grove; a better drive to Glacier Point; bring a sun-canopy, and a blanket to put over your bear-box; and bring a sun-shower for bathing.
We had a great time. The rangers were friendly and informative at the site, and during our stay there were no bears in the area.
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- Also Known As:
- Wawona Campground Hotel Wawona