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Topic Date User
Yosemite Valley - June 2010 24-Jun-2010 At 2:46:35 AM pmonks
There is some free camping just outside the park entrances (both West side and East side) that I use pretty regularly (trying to book campsites in the Valley or the Meadows is a huge pita):

Hardin Flat Rd
Tioga Pass

Neither has any facilities, though both have permanent creeks that I would not drink out of without filtration / treatment. The Hardin Flat Rd camping is quite pleasant, but pretty well known and often crowded - usually you can find something somewhere though. It's about 30 minutes drive to the Valley from here and maybe an hour and a half to the Meadows (be very careful if driving up to the Meadows early in the morning or late in the evening - there are LOTS of deer on this road).

The Tioga Pass camping is quite unpleasant - the camping is on an old gravel road bed (take a tarp to protect the floor of your tent), and is pretty exposed (cold and windy). It's also high (3,000m ASL) so temperatures often plummet below freezing during the night. The good news is it's close to the Meadows (20 minutes to Lembert Dome) and you drive right past Tioga Pass Resort which is a great place for breakfast.

Great TR BTW! My recollection is that the first pitch of Central Pillar of Frenzy is pretty horrible (I hate that water polished stuff), but the second is a corker!

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