Camp Dates: April 24-27, 2015
Site(s): 234, 236 and 500
Campground(s): North Pines Campground in Yosemite
Where’s it at? Yosemite Valley near the base of Half Dome.


North Pines Campground is the northernmost of the campgrounds within the Yosemite Valley. Within minutes of the sites becoming available on December 15, 2014 I was able to book 3 of them in this campground. I planned a trip with one of my hiking groups and had sites 204, 206, and I stayed at site 500 with some friends. In all there were 14 of us, plus 4 people staying at the tent cabins in Curry Village that joined us for dinner one night and had planned to do hikes with us on Saturday and Sunday but mother nature (MoNa) had other plans. I personally like North Pines the most for a few reasons: 1) It’s on the confluence of Tenaya Creek and the Merced River, 2) It’s right near a shuttle stop and the Mirror Lake Trailhead, 3) It is a bit smaller and more secluded than Upper Pines without the hustle and bustle of the Happy Isles trailheads and Curry Village cabins and shops.

This trip was great and a much needed escape for me! We went up early Friday with three in the car and literally packed to the BRIM with gear. We couldn’t have fit an extra swiss knife even! I rented a Jeep Patriot for this adventure mainly because I knew it wouldn’t fit in my car and it’s just nice to try new vehicles sometimes.

We ate like kings…thanks mainly to Kristin with some help from my new buddy John who is a great person to camp or backpack with. He is not only a campfire culinary master but is good with building furniture and cauldron holders out of logs. Kristin and I prepped a meal of fresh pasta with sauce made from fresh tomatoes and spices, garlic bread, and meatballs. There was even a gluten free option and a vegetarian option as there were one of each on the trip. Needless to say wine and other libations were flowing freely.

While we’d all watched the weather forecasts like hawks, the worst we expect was a couple snowflakes but far more likely rain. We were wrong! The first night after we went to bed it snowed like crazy. So much so it partially collapsed my tent and Kristin and I were sure that the snow falling and collapse was caused by the bear outside the tent. When I finally went to check and fix the tent I noticed at least 5 inches of snow. It ended up snowing and raining all day on saturday for the most part, which changed our plans but I won’t say it put a damper on them. We’d been planning to hike the Mist Trail/John Muir Trail to Vernal and Nevada Falls on saturday and to Upper Yosemite Falls on Sunday, but due to the dangerous rock staircases and cliffs on the mist trail and beyond, we changed it up and did the Yosemite valley Loop Trail / Snow Creek Trail / Mirror Lake Trail loop for about 5-6 miles as an estimate, on Saturday. It was great. The snow really added to the experience and the visibility was a nice mix of fog and clouds with occasional clearing. It was a great hike. The following day we hiked up to Nevada Falls and made it a loop by doing the Mist Trail up and John Muir Trail down. Excellent hike…perhaps one of my favorites. I’ve done it many, many times. This was one of the more moist adventures to the trail that I’ve personally had though. The snow from Friday night had mostly melted but the waterfalls were flowing like crazy. We all drank a lot on Sunday night (too much, really) and had a slow and painful packing on Monday before heading home. We were packed to the brim on the way back, too! I was happy to have had a visit from my good pal Andy who is a ranger at Yosemite but unfortunately didn’t get to hike with him. Next time. I highly recommend the North Pines Campground but select your site carefully. Generally the outskirts are the better of the sites, with the few beyond site 500 being among the best.

Photos from Camping at North Pines Campground (click to enlarge)

Camping at North Pines Campground Site 500 in Yosemite National Park Camping at North Pines Campground Site 500 in Yosemite National Park Camping at North Pines Campground Site 500 in Yosemite National Park
Camping at North Pines Campground Site 500 in Yosemite National Park Camping at North Pines Campground Site 500 in Yosemite National Park Camping at North Pines Campground Site 500 in Yosemite National Park
http://timsartoris.com/blog/camping-at-north-pines-site-500-in-yosemite http://timsartoris.com/blog/camping-at-north-pines-site-500-in-yosemite http://timsartoris.com/blog/camping-at-north-pines-site-500-in-yosemite
http://timsartoris.com/blog/camping-at-north-pines-site-500-in-yosemite http://timsartoris.com/blog/camping-at-north-pines-site-500-in-yosemite http://timsartoris.com/blog/camping-at-north-pines-site-500-in-yosemite
Camping at North Pines Campground Site 500 in Yosemite National Park Camping at North Pines Campground Site 500 in Yosemite National Park Camping at North Pines Campground Site 500 in Yosemite National Park
Camping at North Pines Campground Site 500 in Yosemite National Park Camping at North Pines Campground Site 500 in Yosemite National Park Camping at North Pines Campground Site 500 in Yosemite National Park
  Camping at North Pines Campground Site 500 in Yosemite National Park  

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Written on April 24th, 2015 in Camping, The Whole Thing
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