Camping in Yosemite

A Camping Weekend in Yosemite National Park

One of the stops both Mr Ayla and I were looking forward to most on our American adventure was camping in one of the United States’ most incredible national parks.  Yosemite is a four hour drive from San Francisco so, once Mr Ayla had got the hang of a slightly bigger drive than he was used to, we headed out of the city in our absolutely awesome campervan courtesy of Escape Campervans.

After driving along the windy tree filled roads, we arrived late at night and made our way to the Upper Pines Campground, right in the heart of Yosemite Valley, where we would be setting up our camper for the next couple of nights.  It was pretty difficult but equally fun to set up the bed in the dark, find the bear locker to store our food in (no bears would be getting to my leftover cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory!), and find the toilets, all the while trying to be quiet so as not to wake the other campers nearby.

When we woke up the next morning after a surprisingly quiet and relaxed sleep in the super cosy camper bed, we could actually see where we were in the light of day.  We were surrounded by giant trees with early morning rays of sun shining through, the sound of a stream trickling close by, birds tweeting overhead and deer roaming past.

Camping in Yosemite

There was a host of other campervans, RVs and tents (our camper was totally better than everyone else’s though!) all spread out with people already up and about making breakfast and getting ready for a day of exploring the park.  But despite all the other campers, the campground was still so quiet and we had a huge amount of space to set up and make full use of our own area.

Camping in Yosemite

Camping in Yosemite

It was absolutely beautiful and, even though we were camping in the back of a van and not in a luxurious cabin, I cannot explain the sense of complete and utter relaxation and tranquillity I felt here.  The next couple of days were some of the most fun and memorable of our entire trip and even now, only several months later, I wish we could go back and do it all again.

Camping in Yosemite

A happy early morning riser when the setting is this stunning

After enjoying our cheesecake for breakfast out of the back of our camper (there’s nothing wrong with cake for breakfast every now and then, especially when it’s Cheesecake Factory cake) we bounded off to start exploring the rest of the park.  We did a fair bit of walking as well as hopping on the free shuttle bus that whisks you to all the main viewpoints, but at certain times of year, like when we visited in early April, some roads are still closed to the buses so having our own transport to take us a bit further afield and up to Tunnel View, THE postcard view of Yosemite, was essential.

Camping in Yosemite

Camping in Yosemite

Yes, it’s real.  And no, we have not been super-imposed.  It really is just that breath-taking.

Camping in Yosemite

We loved having our own camper as it meant we had complete freedom to drive around as much as we wanted stopping at every single viewpoint along the way.  Or, more likely, me shouting out at Mr Ayla to pull over whenever I saw yet another amazing view and him attempting to manoeuvre the giant camper off the road at a moment’s notice, which he actually did pretty well considering we’re used to a little Corsa at home!

Camping in Yosemite

The waterfalls were in full flow at this time of year as the winter’s snow was being washed away which created a thunderous roar as soon as we came close by to one.  Bridalveil Falls soaked us through our clothes within a few seconds and we couldn’t hear each other talking (or laughing) over the noise.

But Yosemite Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in the world, was the most impressive with its huge downpour into the rushing river below.  From just below the falls, we could only see Lower Yosemite Falls – the two other parts of the falls that make up this huge cascade were somewhere above us contributing to the roar and the mighty splash.  There are so many spots around the park where you can spot the falls from different angles, and we could see why this view was one of the most popular in the entire park.

Camping in Yosemite

Camping in Yosemite

As we made our way out of the park just as the sun was rising, I knew that if we ever visited the West Coast again (which I definitely plan on), there is no doubt that a return visit to Yosemite will be on our itinerary – with another colourful camper along for the ride of course.  Not only is it an incredibly breath-taking national park at any time of year but it also created some fantastic memories for us with a totally new type of adventure, and made me realise just how diverse a country the USA really is.

Camping in Yosemite

Have you ever visited Yosemite or any of the other stunning national parks in the USA?  Were you as awestruck as me?  Let me know in the comments below or at:

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19 thoughts on “A Camping Weekend in Yosemite National Park

  1. Lucy Dodsworth says:

    I did a southwest USA road trip a few years back but never made it as far as Yosemite – you’ve reminded me I must go back. I’m a bit of an RV convert after travelling across Canada in one this summer, it’s so nice to be right in the middle of everything but not in a tent!

    • Mrs Ayla's Adventures says:

      Your RV travels look so much fun Lucy although I think the campervan was quite big enough for us! I wouldn’t have been too keen on sleeping on a tent – I think I’d have been too worried about the bears getting in!

  2. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) says:

    You’ve actually really sold the concept of campervanning (sure that’s not a real word!) to me Ayla! And Yosemite looks so spectacular. I too would have been stopping all the time to take photos every few minutes of all the amazing scenery. Would love to do a road trip around the US one day (and would love to revisit Cheesecake factory too, when oh when will they bring it to the UK?!)

    • Mrs Ayla's Adventures says:

      Not sure I could have done it for the whole US trip but for a few nights, especially in this location which is perfect for camping, it was so much fun. I know – they totally need to bring The Cheesecake Factory over here! Although I think we would both be a fair bit larger if they did! 🙂

  3. Taylor Hearts Travel says:

    Love this post! We almost went to Yosemite when we went to San Fran, but decided against it as we’d only have time for one day there. We want to spend a good chunk of time there because it just looks soooo pretty.

    So glad you loved your van. We drove ours from San Fran to Big Sur and slept in it for one night and like you say, it’s surprisingly comfy and peaceful (once you get over the fear of bears!). X

    • Mrs Ayla's Adventures says:

      Oh I thought you had gone! Such a shame you didn’t end up getting time but I do agree that you really need more than just a day trip to properly see all the brathtaking views and experience it all. The camper was the best! Definitely planning a future road trip with one of these!

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