Yosemite is quite possibly our favorite destination from our buffalo "pasture" in Roseville. Just a short 3.5 hour drive, and you’re transported into a place that feels other-worldly. Driving into the Yosemite Valley provides an experience that borders on sensory overload. The smells of pine trees, the cool air of coming off the meadows, the mist of Yosemite falls and views of countless other waterfalls, massive granite faces- El Capitan, Half Dome, giant sequoia trees; nearly every turn provides a new and breathtaking view or feeling. 

We like to stay at Upper Pines Campground, the campground farthest up the valley and closest to our favorite valley destinations. Near the campground, just a short walk away is Curry Village, nestled right below the giant granite cliffs. You can grab pizza and beer on the deck as you gaze up at the views that surround you, shop for food or other necessities in the village store, connect to wifi at the lodge, rinse off at one of the shower facilities, and much more. 

What about the crowds? You may have heard or seen about how crowded Yosemite has been over the past few years, especially since emerging from the pandemic. As people have become re-introduced to exploring the outdoors, that's meant that many places like Yosemite have seen much larger crowds than years past. We can't deny this is true, but this hasn't kept us away from our favorite destination, because camping with our teardrop makes a lot of the problems normally caused by the crowds a non- issue. I'll explain below. 

1- Camping in a teardrop instead of a tent means that camping season is extended! Whereas peak season in Yosemite is from May-September, the teardrop lets us camp in virtually any weather. Yosemite is beautiful in every season, so even if we can't find a campsite in the busy summer months, spring, fall, and even winter are still amazing times to visit- especially when you have a warm place to sleep at night! 

Hint: ever heard of the Yosemite fire fall?


It happens in late February and a teardrop is a perfect way to camp in the valley and not have to worry about battling the crowds to drive in for just the day.

2- Staying in a teardrop in the valley means that you're there before and after all the crowds every day. Many people drive into Yosemite from all over Northern California for just the day - either for a simple day trip, or because they are staying outside the valley at one of the many hotels or other accommodations. But staying IN the valley means that you get a head start on all those crowds, and get to hang out all evening after they leave. For instance, our favorite activity for occupying our days in Yosemite is hiking one of the many trails it’s famous for, particularly the Mist Trail. 

Because Upper Pines Campground is the furthest campground up-valley, it gives you a great head start on everyone for the hiking trails. We like to wake up, pop the galley hatch and have a hearty breakfast and coffee, then hit the trails. Getting an early start means you beat the crowds, and makes the hike feel like you are there in the off season! 

Our biggest tip for getting around Yosemite is to bring a bike! (rent our e-bikes!) Bikes help you navigate around some of the traffic, taking advantage of all the great bike trails and bike lanes throughout the valley. With a good bike lock, you can bike to your favorite trail head, lock the bike up, and hit the trail- and not worry about finding parking or spending your energy walking to to the trail.

In the evenings, we like to take our chairs out into one of the meadows and enjoy a drink while we watch the sunset on the face of Half Dome, as the valley begins to quiet down around us. When we're good and relaxed, we head back to the campsite, light a fire and make a hearty meal over it in or cast iron. 

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