Mid-February might seem to be a little early to think summer vacation plans, but not if those plans include a camping trip to Yosemite National Park.
At 7 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 15, a brief window for campground reservations during the height of summer (June 15 through July 14) at Yosemite’s 13 campgrounds will open. Don’t tarry, and be at the top of your online navigating skills, because summer reservations historically fill up fast, often on the first day of registration. That figures to be especially true this summer, the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. In 2015, Yosemite notched a record high 4.1 million visitors.
Yosemite’s public affairs office has posted tips for people seeking coveted reservations. “Be aware that nearly all reservations for the months of May through September and for some other weekends are filled the first day they become available, usually within seconds or minutes after 7 a.m.,” Yosemite’s website states. “For your best chance of getting a reservation, be sure your clock is set accurately and start the first few steps of the reservation process at www.recreation.gov before 7 a.m., Pacific time.”
Those who aren’t swift enough to secure a spot Monday will have two more chances for summer reservations. March 15 is the registration date for those seeking camping spots from July 15 to Aug. 14, and April 15 is the date to sign up for the Aug. 15 through Sept. 14 slots.
“Even for later (in the summer), it fills up within minutes,” said Ashley Mayer, a Yosemite public affairs officer. “There are a few first-come, first-served camps, but any campground, especially in the Valley, is going to be booked up. But there are other campgrounds, like a Tuolumne Meadows, where it might be a little easier to get in.”
For more information, go to www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/camping.htm.