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You’re probably not camping at Yosemite this summer

Bridalveil Fall looms over the Merced River in Yosemite National Park.
Bridalveil Fall looms over the Merced River in Yosemite National Park.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

The door is closing fast on camping in Yosemite this summer.

Though the park has been open by reservation to day-trippers and lodging guests since June 11, almost all of its campgrounds remain closed, reopening dates unknown. Park officials, trying to limit pandemic spread, have been gradually canceling reservations (made before the pandemic) every week or two.

The great exception is Yosemite Valley’s Upper Pines campground, which has about 240 sites, but it is operating at half-capacity (for distancing purposes) and is booked far ahead.

In emails to reservation holders this week, Yosemite’s park management warned that previous reservations for all campgrounds (including half of the Upper Pines Campground) are now canceled for arrival dates through Aug. 15.

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Though the official end of summer is Sept. 22, most schools begin their fall sessions well before that. The Los Angeles Unified School District resumes instruction (online only) on Aug. 18.

With the exception of Upper Pines, the NPS campsite booking service, recreation.gov, is accepting no new Yosemite reservations (or modifications of existing reservations) before Nov. 14 .

Yosemite, which closed in March, kept most of its campsites closed when it partially reopened in June, opening only portions of Upper Pines Campground and Wawona Horse Camp.

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Under the park’s pandemic restrictions, anyone who wants to enter the park must have a day-use reservation (good for seven days) or a lodging or campground reservation. All others are turned away. The park is admitting half the number of visitors who usually come in summer to allow for social distancing and smaller crowds at popular landmarks.

Many campers had hoped more campsites would open up during peak summer weeks, and some have been tweeting hopeful questions (and harsh complaints) to park officials. The answers have been short.

“We don’t know when or if additional campgrounds will open,” park officials tweeted July 24. “Check go.nps.gov/campground for any updates.”

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Park lodgings at the Ahwahnee, Yosemite Valley Lodge and Curry Village (at half capacity) are open but mostly sold out.


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