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Yosemite Lodging: Staying Inside or Outside the Park

Yosemite lodging runs the gamut from basic tent cabins to the deluxe accommodation offered at the Ahwahnee hotel, catering to every taste and budget.


Yosemite Lodging

by Steve Theunissen

About Yosemite

Yosemite is the most well known and frequently visited of all of America’s national parks. Covering some 761,266 acres, Yosemite is located in east-central California, south of Lake Tahoe, and east of the San Francisco Bay area. It was set aside as a national park in 1890. Yosemite offers a wealth of spectacular natural high-lights – waterfalls, meadows and forests, the spectacular Yosemite Valley, the majestic Sequoia trees and the Hetch-Hetchy reservoir. With so much to explore, one thing is for sure – you’re going to need more than a single day to explore Yosemite. Lodging, then, is going to be needed. So what sort of Yosemite lodging is available?

Staying in the Park

Yosemite Lodging is administered by DNC Parks and Resources under contract with the National Parks Service. Yosemite lodging runs the gamut from basic tent cabins to the deluxe accommodation offered at the Ahwahnee hotel, catering to every taste and budget.

The Ahwahnee is listed as a National Historic Landmark, setting it apart as one of the most interesting hotels in all of North America. The hotel has an awesome granite façade, offset by striking beamed ceilings. Inside you’ll find massive stone hearths, intricate Native American artwork and even Middle Eastern cultural influences. Don’t get the wrong idea, though. The 123 rooms have all the mod cons you expect. This Yosemite lodging offers luxury on wilderness’s doorstep.

The Ahwahnee is just one of eight Yosemite lodges that are to be found within the confines of the national park. In addition to these eight, there are numerous camp sites within the park. These are operated by the National Parks Service. Reservations for Yosemite lodging can be made 366 days in advance. It pays to book early to secure your place, as the park can get extremely busy over the Summer months.

Camp Sites

Within Yosemite national Park can be found 13 separate camp grounds. Four of them are within the Yosemite valley, with the other nine spread around the rest of the park. Some of the sites are reservable, but the majority are on a first come, first served basis. All of the camp grounds accommodate both tents and RV’s. If you are planning to take advantage of Yosemite lodging by way of camp fire, make sure that you find your self one of the established 13 camp site. Camping anywhere else will require a special permit. If you don’t have one and are discovered by a camp ranger, you are in for an expensive fine.

Staying Outside the Park

Yosemite Lodging options outside the borders of the National Park are numerous. Many small towns and private individuals offer hotel, motel, bed and breakfast, home-stay, condominium, lodge and camp site accommodations. The locals are friendly and accommodating. They’ll even give you tips on what to do if you happen to run into one of Yosemite’s infamous black bears while exploring the park.


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