The Secret is Out

posted Apr 18, 2019, 8:08 AM by Paul Wagner
For a generation or more, Camp4 in Yosemite Valley has been a bit of a secret.  Mainly used by rock climbers, it often allowed you to find a place to camp right in the valley--one not filled with RVs and generators, but sometimes filled with young people and parties.

That's over.  Apparently, normal campers have discovered what is available at Camp 4...and the rules are changing.  Here's the release from the NPS:

Camp 4 daily lottery to go into effect beginning on Tuesday, May 21, 2019


Yosemite National Park announces that a new pilot lottery program for Camp 4 Campground will launch on Tuesday, May 21, 2019. This daily lottery system will be operated through Recreation.gov and will help improve the visitor experience at Camp 4 Campground.

Camp 4 Campground is a walk-in campground and the only first-come, first-served campground in Yosemite Valley. Visitor demands for a camping space at Camp 4 have been increasing over the past decade and the current registration system no longer serves the public and meets the needs of current campers. Under the current system, campers have to line up and wait for a first-come, first-served camping space to open. In order to wait for one of the available spaces to open up, campers line up all day, and sometime the night before, with the hopes of getting a camping space. This system is inefficient and has contributed to wildlife issues due to improper food storage, out of bounds camping, and conflicts between campers.

To help resolve these issues, Yosemite National Park is going to test a new pilot program from late May to early September, using a daily lottery system similar to the Half Dome daily lottery. Visitors interested in staying at Camp 4 will enter a daily lottery managed by www.recreation.gov. The lottery opens at 12:01 am pacific time the day before your intended arrival date. The lottery is open until 4:00 pm pacific time. The lottery automatically matches applicants with the number of open camping spaces. All people who enter the daily lottery will be notified by email on the results of their lottery application.

This new pilot program will run through the busy summer season and will be evaluated fall 2019. For more information on Camp 4 Campground, please visit: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/camp4.htm. For information in general on camping in Yosemite National Park, please visit https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/camping.htm.
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