If you are thinking about going camping in the United States then California is a state that you should definitely consider. Just a few hours from the exciting city of San Francisco, Yosemite National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the nation and it is easy to see why. One of several delightful national parks and national forests which make a green band down the interior of the state along the line of the Sierra Mountain range, Yosemite showcases some of the spectacular scenic splendour of this great state. It could almost be described as a site of pilgrimage for hikers, climbers, photographers and other artists, as well as for those who come for the prolific wildlife found in the park. Camping in the park is the best way to see its beauty up close and the only way to truly get to know this wild and dramatic region.
Photo Courtesy: http://www.yosemitepark.com/Images/home-img-01.jpg
There are thirteen popular campgrounds in the National Park, seven of which can and should be reserved in advance. The others are operated on a first-come-first served basis. Be warned that from April to September even the first-come-first-served campgrounds are often completely full by noon each day and can be particularly busy on weekends. If you are an inexperienced camper or not entirely familiar with the demands placed on you by this particular area – for example as regard the weather, and bears – then you would be best to stick to one of the organised campsites.
If, however, you are sensible, have the right equipment, navigation tools etc. then there is nothing to stop you from camping in the backcountry to escape the crowds. Please note however that you will need a wilderness permit to stay overnight in the wilds within the park and that these too should be booked in advance for popular routes as there is a strict quota as to how many people may trek, and spend the night, on a given trail. In some cases it is possible to turn up and get a wilderness permit on the day, but in other cases you must book a good few months in advance to be allowed to travel on certain over-subscribed trails. There may be a caveat that you must camp in a certain location on your first night, though after that, if you follow the rules, you will usually be able to camp wherever you wish, within reason. Camp rangers are experts who will be able to help you plan your hikes.
Wherever you choose to camp in Yosemite, make sure to respect the natural world around you. You share these forests and mountain slopes with other creatures – always keep those inhabitants of Yosemite in mind, for your own sake as well as theirs. Keep food away from inquisitive and hungry black bears. Bear lockers are provided within organised campgrounds and bear resistant food canisters are necessary if you are hiking in the backcountry.
Yosemite is the perfect wild and beautiful place for sleeping out under the stars but, between the people and the bears and other wildlife, you are very unlikely ever to find yourself completely alone.
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