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  1. #1

    Default Quick question on camping

    Hello to everyone! Thank you for the valuable information that I have read from everybody. It has really been great.

    I am in the beginning process of planning my trip (approx 51 days - from Toronto, across the US and back -- May and June).

    My question is on camping. It's the national parks pass that I was thinking of. That's the one that gives you free entrance to national parks for a year. I was talking to a friend who said that I must go to Yosemite. It was already on my list, but he said to get better lodging that he had. He was in a tent, but the campgrounds aren't the same as up in northern Ontario. He described it as "tent city" or like a subdivision of tents, one after the other. In northern Ontario, we can just reserve a campground and it's usually a lot of space where you aren't exactly near anyone.

    Are all campgrounds in the US similar to a tent city? Or is it just the major ones (yellowstone, yosemite).

    Please forgive me if this is a ignorant question. If anyone has any suggestions or opinions on the matter, they would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 12-07-2005 at 07:04 PM. Reason: Sentence correction

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Simple answers can be tricky

    Quote Originally Posted by roadie4
    ..He was in a tent, but the campgrounds aren't the same as up in northern Ontario. He described it as "tent city" or like a subdivision of tents, one after the other. In northern Ontario, we can just reserve a campground and it's usually a lot of space where you aren't exactly near anyone.
    It is a matter of where in the park you are. If you plan on camping in the Yosemite Valley in the middle of summer, it is going to seem like you are in the middle of a tent city compared with just anywhere in northern Ontario. On the other hand, it is very easy to walk less than an hour from any road in Yosemite and see almost no one -- but you will see bears... Same thing with Yellowstone NP -- the easy-access, car-oriented campgrounds will be busy in the summer months.
    Are all campgrounds in the US similar to a tent city? Or is it just the major ones (yellowstone, yosemite).
    Well, there are literally thousands of campgrounds in the United States. Some will be very structured with several amentities -- others are more primitive. It all depends upon what you are seeking. This article gives a good overview of the types of vehicle-accessible campgrounds you can find.
    Please forgive me if this is a ignorant question.
    That is one of the reasons why this Forum exists. I hope it is helpful to you.

    Mark

  3. #3

    Default Info was great

    Thank you very much for the info and the link. I still have a ton of planning to do, it seems.

    I noticed that many people speak about Bryce Canyon, Arches, Zion and Canyonlands parks. I went to the nps.gov website and checked out those sites and was totally floored. Those places are incredible. I was wondering if those parks would be considered "tent city" parks as well? If this isn't the place to as, I apologize. I am just trying to gauge on what to expect.

    We would be at those parks in the later part of May (between the 20th and the 30th). Water hookup isn't necessarily important because we'll try to alternate camping and motels each night.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default

    My question is...does it really matter?

    When I camp, I prefer privacy myself. But I'm thinking about the types of camping trips where you stay for a few days, lounge around, build a campfire, and just veg out and enjoy the scenery. Play a little chess and backgammon. Read. Maybe a few little day hikes, swimming, whatever tossed in for good measure.

    However, when you're in places like Yosemite, Zion, Bryce, and the Grand Canyon, are you really gonna spend a lot of time just sitting around your campsite? Or are you gonna be off exploring most of the time? I can't imagine going to any of these places and sitting around my campsite.

    When I was in the Bryce, I tent-camped at Ruby's, a resort just outside of the entrance to Bryce. Even though this is a resort complex with hotels, restaurants, and a campsite, my tent campsite was very peaceful. Most folks go the RV route. There were only about 5-6 tents in an area that could have packed in about 30-40 tents easily. We were spread out and I had a pleasant, quiet evening. Yeah, I could see the sea of RVs but they were far enough away for noise to not be a factor. And I was on the edge of a wonderful pond. It wasn't remote but it was sublime.

    I think it's a given that any popular national park will be crowded, unless you go in the off-season. But I really wouldn't let that effect my trip or change my plans.

  5. #5

    Default

    You are right in the fact that I will spend the entire day exploring these cool places. It's just that my friend got me a little concerned with his comments about when he stayed in Yosemite. It was more that he couldn't get any sleep because there were always people running around his tent going places and he couldn't get any sleep. Having a little more of a buffer zone between campsites would probably alleviate any disturbances. Or else I could just go into a motel or something if it really bothered me. Camping will help stretch the dollars though.

    I was just trying to figure out what to expect. With your comment about campsites and places outside the park, this gives me greater assurance that there will probably be a few choices in where to stay.

    Thank you for your comments. All the help has been very much appreciated.

  6. #6
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default

    Occationally you'll end-up in a 'crossroads' campsite where its very close to the point of entry/exit. If at all possible, get a site towards the back of the loop. I have camped in a variety of parks, and can tell you that very few would follow under your term 'tent city' (in the land of Arpaio in Arizona, 'tent city' has a much much different meaning).

    In my experience, the level of solititude tends to directly follow the level of services... a more primitive USFS campground with vault toilets will usually draw a quieter crowd (at night especially), those with showers and other 'luxuries' will bring more families with children, and consquently, some of those will be louder. That's just been my experience anyway.

  7. Default

    Your friend probably stayed at Curry Village, which really is a tent city. It's not really a campground, but more like a miners camp or a lumberjack camp if you can picture that. It's large semi-permanent canvas tents set up on wooden platforms, more for people who don't want all the hassles of camping, but still want to feel like they're staying outdoors. They've got hot showers, vending machines, cafeterias, restrooms, everything you could ever need. Unless you really don't like camping near other people, it's not that bad. You can meet people from all over ther world staying there, it's quite an adventure.

    There are normal campgrounds in Yosemite, but those tend to be just as crowded. Reservations can be made up to six months in advance on the 15th of every month, but unless you call within about 15, don't expect to get a weekend reservations. Yosemite is probabaly the busiest park in the world, so finding a time when you'll be alone is not going to happen. Your best bet is to go on a weekday, where there will be less people, but still enough that you won't feel alone. One of the best kept secrets used to be Hetch Hetchy, right outside of yosemite, all of the beauty, less that .1% or the crowds. Too bad you can't camp there anymore.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Curry Village

    Quote Originally Posted by LA Native
    Your friend probably stayed at Curry Village, which really is a tent city. It's not really a campground, but more like a miners camp or a lumberjack camp if you can picture that. It's large semi-permanent canvas tents set up on wooden platforms, more for people who don't want all the hassles of camping, but still want to feel like they're staying outdoors.
    Good catch! I should have remembered that -- I have never stayed there, but Megan has and she enjoyed the novelty of it all. Yeah, it would look like a tent city.
    You can meet people from all over ther world staying there, it's quite an adventure.
    That is true -- it is kind of a communal free-for-all at times.
    One of the best kept secrets used to be Hetch Hetchy, right outside of yosemite, all of the beauty, less that .1% or the crowds. Too bad you can't camp there anymore.
    Yeah, now it is the primary water source for San Francisco. Exactly like the water-grab that Los Angeles made of Owens Valley... (Actually every major metropolitan city in America has done this).

    Mark

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Editor
    Good catch! I should have remembered that -- I have never stayed there, but Megan has and she enjoyed the novelty of it all. Yeah, it would look like a tent city. That is true -- it is kind of a communal free-for-all at times. Yeah, now it is the primary water source for San Francisco. Exactly like the water-grab that Los Angeles made of Owens Valley... (Actually every major metropolitan city in America has done this).

    Mark
    I was wondering if roadie4's friend camped at Curry Village or at Camp4 where it's a walk in first come first serve in Yosemite Valley. I've never camped there but it always looks so crowded...worse than the other campgrounds.

    If you go to the national park reservation campground web site http://reservations.nps.gov/ you can see a diagram of each campground and the campsite numbers. There are several campsites on the back loop in Upper Pines Campground where you only have to worry about the campers next to you because there is no one behind you. Campsites like 211, 213, 216, 218, 220, 226, 228, 230 and the rest on the outside of that loop. Be careful because campsites like 73, 74, 75, 109, 110 etc. are close to the shuttle bus route and so you get the noise from those until late evening.

    As far as the other National Park campgrounds. Zion has close campsites, but not as bad as Yosemite in some places. Zion is one of those kinds of places that we go to, to just relax and enjoy the scenery. During the day everyone is GONE so we usually have peace and quite and the scenery! The evenings aren't bad. Watchman campground has electrical hook ups so there are NO generator running!

    Arches the campsites are not that close. Most of the campsites have fantastic views! In Canyonlands there are only 12 campsites in the Island in the Sky District and they aren't that close together. In the Needles section there are more campsites and some are pretty isolated. In the Moab area there are plenty of BLM campgrounds up and down the Colorado River east and west out of Moab.

    Capitol Reef is one of our favorites. Beautiful setting with shade trees. Campsites are close but people are pretty quite. I think a lot of older people frequent here.

    Hope that helps.

    Utahtea

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