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Newbie experiencing Yosemite from the east...

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Newbie experiencing Yosemite from the east...

Postby whackdoodle » Sun Jul 09, 2006 11:23 pm

I've been in Reno for a few years, and except for hiking this area, haven't ventured too far afield. I use to do a lot of tent/car camping back east, but haven't been in ages. I'd like to begin experiencing the Sierras and Yosemite in particular, but am somewhat daunted by talk of "reservations" and "hordes of people".

So, if I were to approach Yosemite from 395, via Tioga Pass in say early to mid-August, (without reservations), what can I expect? Will tent/car campsites be readily available (running water preferable), or will I find myself driving hopelessly in circles? On the National Parks website, it only lists the Tuolumne Meadows area for the entire eastern part of the park. Surely, this cannot be the only available site?

I've been to a number of Yosemite web sites, and there's a great deal of information. But for someone who has never been, it's still confusing. If you were me, how would you go about planning a three or four-day trip?



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Postby sierra cyd » Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:19 am

Here is some more useful campground info:

http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/recreation ... unds.shtml

I don't see a map on their website, but most of these campgrounds show up on other maps, even USGS maps.

The Inyo National Forest borders on Yosemite along the east side of the park, so if you scroll down to the bottom of that page, you'll see "Lee Vining Area" and basically the ones with the higher elevations are up adjacent to the border of Yosemite, such as Ellery, Tioga Lake, and the Saddlebag Lake area is very nice. You can go and try to get a campsite at one of those, of course, Saturday night would be the busiest, so if you could show up on another day in the morning it would be easier. I like Sawmill Campground, but it is a walk-in. You park about 1/2 mile from the site or so. Nice and quiet. If none of those campgrounds have anything available, there are a whole lot of campsites down at the bottom of Lee Vining Canyon which you can use as a backup, which means you'd have to drive back down Tioga Pass Road and turn off on a side road at the bottom. You're a little further from the park then, but the aspens down there are beautiful.

Within the park boundary, Tuolumne Meadows is the furthest east campground. I believe some of their sites are not reservable so you could also try for a "walk-up" there if you wanted to. I've never done it there so I don't know how difficult it is. Further west, there are a couple campgrounds in the park that are first come first served, so you could try those too if you are interested in going further west. I prefer the area near Tioga Pass and Saddlebag Lake for scenery.

Good luck! You should definitely go for it.
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Postby whackdoodle » Mon Jul 10, 2006 12:14 pm

Thanks, Cyd. That's just the kind of advice that I was looking for.
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