How To: Plan a Spontaneous Camping Trip... to YOSEMITE

How To: Plan a Spontaneous Camping Trip... to YOSEMITE

Okay. So it helps if you're within 3 1/2 hours driving distance of this national park, but this blueprint can be used for other spontaneous adventures as well. 

Let's say you wanted to go to the Grand Canyon... or Big Bend... or do a West Coast Road Trip. Whatever it is, I encourage you to DO IT. What's the worst that could happen? Fly by the seat of your pants!

What you need:

  • A thorough packing list
  • Friends as crazy as you (I suppose you can go alone)
  • A carefree attitude 
  • A lead time of 1 -2 days
  • A random weekend- NOT a holiday weekend
  • Something delicious to bargain with 

But What About Food?
Do some grocery shopping the night before. Stop by Safeway or any other grocery store on your way to the park. 

What You Need to Do
Here is a list of campgrounds in Yosemite that don't require a reservation. I would also recommend checking Reserve America for openings if you're scared of being too spontaneous.

When you get to the park, go to the Visitor Center. Usually, the park releases unclaimed campgrounds by 2 PM, but there are usually cancellations. A park ranger at the Visitor Center will tell you which camp sites are open. You can try calling ahead of time, but you may not have service and/or you might have to wait until 2 PM to set up your site.

If you're a smart cookie, you'll have mapped out your preferred campsites and where you want to hike. Now, you can book it to your site and set up camp. 

You have enough time to do lunch, go on a hike, and enjoy food by the campfire. What more can you ask for?

Importance of a Carefree Attitude
What- you thought this was going to be easy? A number of things could go wrong, but you'll cope. This is how to troubleshoot.

  • Your campground is an hour drive. --> At least you're in Yosemite and you have a place to stay- take it all in.
  • You are VERY cold at night because of the altitude of your campground. --> Take this as a lesson learned.
  • You forgot some very important gear. --> It's only 1 night. 
  • The odds are completely against you and you can't find a spot in Yosemite. --> You can make some friends and ask to share their campground in exchange for snacks. There are plenty of neighboring camp sites outside of Yosemite. 

If you like this post, you probably like doing ridiculous adventures:

PS I don't usually regret what I have named my blog, but when I write posts like these, I contemplate my decision.  

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