View Full Version : Yosemite/Sequoia/Kings Canyon

05-17-2006, 06:26 AM
Hi !

Just a quick question that went through my mind recently. Anywhere in those national parks where I can sleep for free ? I'm going there at the height of the tourist season (late July) :eek: I guess I cannot sleep in my car at the trailheads like in some northeast THs right ? It comes way cheaper to rent a minivan and sleep in it than an economy car with camping at 20$/night. Another thing is that I can't reserve because I never know where I'm going to be at a particular date.

Any advices ?


05-17-2006, 06:37 AM
Sequoia and Kings Canyon is located adjacent to national forest land. You can camp anywhere you want to in a national forest, including roadside. In yosemite the climbers pretty much camp in there cars along the Tioga road, and I did not observe any problems while I was there. Yosemite valley may be a different story, I am sure the patrol the valley because of the large visitation.

poison ivy
05-17-2006, 07:06 AM
In Yosemite, there are a lot of restrictions about sleeping at trailheads and the rangers say, at least, that they go around checking. If you're doing a trip that requires a wilderness permit, you can stay in one of the backpacker campgrounds (one in Yosemite Valley and another in Tuolumne.... there might be one at Hetch Hetchy as well) for $5.

We had big trouble finding the backpacker's campground in Yosemite Valley. We arrived after dark (as the airline had lost our luggage, which included our tent, so we lost a day waiting around for it to arrive) and no one, not even two different rangers, was able to direct us to it. After wandering around with our gear in the dark for a good hour, we ended up sleeping in the car in one of the parking lots. (We slipped our food into one of the bear lockers in the Valley.) Rangers did indeed swing through the lot frequently (we could tell because of their blinking lights) but we got lucky and they didn't check in the car at all. It was not a particularly restful night and I wouldn't really suggest doing this.

We had no trouble finding the backpacker's campground in Tuolumne (and mentioned to the ranger who directed us about our troubles in the Valley.) He wasn't surprised no one could direct us to the campground, though he could have. He was surprised that we made it through the night in the car without getting rangers asking us to leave the lot.

- Ivy

king tut
05-17-2006, 06:30 PM
I was in Yosemite almost a year ago, and if I recall correctly, in the southern part of the park, you can camp for free. On our way out of the park, we did a little hike around the Corlieu Falls area, and we saw a guy camped out by the river. We kinda startled him though, as he went running for cover-he was nekked. It looked like an awesome place to pitch a tent if you don't mind a little walking. Gorgeous little river area.

The different campsites we stayed at were all less than $20 as well. Not bad, considering the other costs of the vacation. We got a cheap flight on United as well. All told, the week out there costed less than $600.

The campground we stayed at near the mariposa grove was nice, while hodgdon meadows we did not enjoy as much.