The Best Ways to Experience Yosemite with Your Campervan!
Discover the world-famous landscapes of Yosemite National Park on an epic road trip this summer. It’s time to bring your friends and family on an adventure they’ll never forget. The summer roads to the legendary Yosemite Park are finally open, so now’s your chance to rent a campervan and go on that Yosemite road trip you’ve been thinking about for ages!
Don’t know what to do on your first trip to Yosemite? Don’t worry!
TB Outdoor Rentals has you covered with this adventurer’s guide on the best way to experience Yosemite National Park on a campervan trip!
What To See At Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park covers over 1,000 square miles of breathtaking mountains, vibrant forests, and idyllic meadows. Yosemite’s most iconic sights can be found in and around the striking Yosemite Valley, alongside two lively villages. You can visit Yosemite or Curry Village for information, supplies, or a hearty post-hike meal. The large, pine-filled valley hosts the bubbling Merced River and is bordered by ancient granite cliffs that have formed over millennia to become the famous peaks of Yosemite.
El Capitan is the symbolic Yosemite mountain, but Half Dome, Cathedral Rocks, and Sentinel Rocks are equally as awe-inspiring. While most of these impressive stone faces can be viewed from the valley floor, we recommend hiking to the top of Sentinel Dome or Taft Point for a better show. El Capitan and Half Dome can be hiked, however, each trail takes several hours and is only recommended for experienced trekkers.
Yosemite’s most impressive features are the graceful waterfalls that drain into the valley river. Yosemite Falls stands proud as the tallest waterfall in the park, at almost 2,500 ft. Bridalveil Falls is also a sight to behold, just don’t stand too close or you’ll get caught in the spray. The Horsetail Falls is better viewed in the winter months when the setting sun catches the water, turning it into a fiery red torrent.
Outside of Yosemite Valley, the rest of the National Park is just as enchanting, if not as recognizable. There are bountiful pine forests that cover rolling mountains with peaceful lakes nestled in the foothills. Everywhere you go, you have the chance to spot mule deer, bighorn sheep, red foxes, squirrels, and peregrine falcons. Just watch out for the black bears, mountain lions, and venomous snakes that live in the park.
Stunning Scenic Drives in Yosemite
Most of Yosemite’s incredible scenery is on display for both walkers and drivers. There are many memorable driving routes that criss-cross the park and they all have plenty of convenient parking stops where you can leave your vehicle behind in favor of a refreshing hike.
Yosemite Valley Loop
This spectacular circuit through the heart of the famous Yosemite Valley is the perfect way to see the best of Yosemite National Park in one go. The drive opens onto a view of the imposing Cathedral Rocks and the iconic El Capitan. The loop then continues further into the valley, by Sentinel Rocks, and around Yosemite Village, peaking at the Half Dome. As you wind back past Yosemite Falls, you are greeted with the Three Brothers mountain and another glimpse of El Capitan. You should be aware that the road can get crowded in the summer months, so try to get there as early in the day as possible.
This epic 60-mile road leads you through the stunning landscape of Yosemite National Park. A leisurely route with endless hiking opportunities, the Tioga Road enters Yosemite by crossing over the Tioga Pass. At nearly 10,000 ft high, Tioga is the highest highway pass in all of California. The long road is packed with captivating views and breathtaking panoramas, such as Lembert Dome and Olmsted Point. Featured stops include the wildflower-filled Tuolumne Meadows and the Tuolumne Grove, which is home to some of the region’s famous Giant Sequoias. There are also many picturesque lakes, Ellery, Dog, Tenaya, and Mono, where birdwatchers gather to spot osprey, phalaropes, gulls, and other migratory species.
If you are planning a Yosemite road trip this summer, please note that you may need to make a reservation to drive along some of the park’s routes and that a $35 RV fee could be charged. You should also be aware that some roads have been temporarily closed or diverted to preserve and protect Yosemite’s natural beauty, so follow all directions and updated signposts around the park.
The Best Campgrounds In Yosemite National Park
If you’re making the effort to drive up to Yosemite, you might as well treat yourself to an unforgettable stay in the park itself!
Upper, Lower & North Pines Campgrounds, 95389
Situated along the winding Merced River, the Pines’ campgrounds offer visitors an impressive stay in the heart of Yosemite Valley for just $36 per night. As the name suggests, the campgrounds are spread out under the shade of the gorgeous pines and all sites have easy access to the many great hiking trails of Yosemite. A shuttle bus also runs between the camps and the nearby Curry and Yosemite Villages. A stay in the Pines is a chance to reconnect with nature, as there are no hookups and WiFi is not available.
White Wolf Campground, 95389
The secluded White Wolf Campground is based further north than the Valley, near Tioga Road, and provides an ideal starting point for anyone seeking some shaded mountainside hikes. Don’t expect RV hookups, WiFi, stores, or services. White Wolf is a natural campsite, designed for non-stop scenic hikes, like the peaceful trails to the nearby Harden and Lukens lakes. All the pitches are available for just $30 a night and White Wolf is expected to open in early July.
Yosemite Is Waiting For You!
The summer roads are finally open and the immense beauty of Yosemite calls to every wayward traveler. If you only have time for a quick trip then the best of Yosemite National Park can be seen over a weekend, but we recommend staying for longer, between four days and one week. This will give you plenty of time to immerse yourself in the ancient landscapes of Yosemite and take on many of its most famous hikes!
Book a campervan and reserve your campsite now to avoid disappointment. If you have a camping vehicle that you’re not currently using, then check out this easy way to earn hassle-free income from fellow road trippers.
Come back this Friday for a guide to the best summer camping recipes to make on your next vacation!