Disclosure: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means – at no additional cost to you – we earn a commission if you make a purchase using our links. We only link to products and companies we use and recommend. The income goes toward supporting the free content on this site. Read the full disclosure here
Yosemite Lakes RV Resort is located in Groveland California about 5 miles west of Yosemite National Park’s Big Oak Flat entrance. This Thousand Trails RV Resort is open year-round and just under 400 sites for RV and tent campers along the banks of the South Fork Tuolumne River. Our Yosemite Lakes RV resort Campground review covers all aspects of this huge RV resort perfect for visiting Yosemite National Park.
RV campers have their choice of wooded campsites or open grassy sites with full hookups and all of the campsites are equipped with picnic tables and fire rings. The campground amenities include restrooms with showers, a country store, laundry room, Wifi and satellite TV, a gas station, and a propane depot. And dogs are permitted too. Reservations are highly recommended because this campground fills up fast. However, tent sites are walk-in only.
How far is Yosemite Lakes Campground from Yosemite National Park?
Located only 5 miles from the west gate of the Yosemite National Park, Yosemite Lakes RV Resort is one of the most convenient private campgrounds for accessing the wonders of Yosemite. The Yosemite Valley is approximately 30-45 minutes from the campground, making it an easy day trip.
Are Reservations Needed for Yosemite Lakes Resort?
The Yosemite area is one of the most popular National Parks in the USA to visit year round. Campsites within the park can be very hard to obtain, and there are no hookups of any kind at Yosemite. There are also very few spots that can accommodate larger rigs. All of these factors make campgrounds an excellent option for many travelers.
With 490 sites at Yosemite Lakes RV Resort, your chances of getting a campsite are much higher than within the park. It is still a good idea to make a reservation in advance, especially over weekends or during the busy summer season.
Yosemite Lakes RV Resort is a Thousand Trails campground, so if you have a membership, this is a great place to stay. Campers without memberships are also welcome to stay at the campground.
Are There Hookups at Yosemite Lakes Campground?
254 of the 490 campsites at Yosemite Lakes RV Resort and Campground have full hookups. Since hookups are not available at any campground in Yosemite National Park, Yosemite Lakes RV Park is a great option for travelers looking for this convenience.
What Amenities Available at Yosemite Lakes?
For RVers looking to enjoy the beauty of Yosemite with all the amenities that a private campground has to offer, Yosemite Lakes Campground is a perfect fit.
The campground has a clubhouse, camp store, and laundry facilities. Satellite TV is available, and campers have access to picnic and BBQ areas as well as restrooms and showers. Pets are welcome at Yosemite Lakes Campground too.
In addition to RV campsites, Yosemite Lakes RV Resort also offers tent sites along with cabins and yurts. The variety of accommodations makes this a good campground for people meeting up with friends or family at Yosemite.
Is Yosemite Lakes RV Resort in Bear Country?
Yes, Yosemite Lakes RV Resort is in bear country. But, according to the National Park Service, Grizzly bears have not lived in the area around the park since 1895. Black bears live throughout the Yosemite area, and you are likely to see one during your visit.
Interestingly, most of Yosemite’s black bears are actually brown or reddish brown. The rangers will remind you that there has never been a fatal bear attack in Yosemite’s history. Proper precautions must be taken to prevent an altercation with a bear.
The most important thing is to store your food safely. Food in your hard-sided travel trailer or RV is permitted, but there should be no food in any tents or vehicles.
Keep in mind that these precautions are taken to protect the bears and prevent them from becoming used to human food. Negative interactions between bears and humans are extremely rare in California. If you are concerned, speak with the camp host when you arrive regarding bear activity in the area.
What is the Weather Like at Yosemite Lakes and Yosemite National Park?
During the spring and fall, temperatures around Yosemite can range from lows in the 30s to highs in the 60s. In the summer months, it can get hot, especially in the valley. Summer temperatures range from the mid-50s to 80s and 90s.
If you plan to venture into the park, keep in mind that Yosemite covers a large amount of terrain at different elevations. The weather can be very different from one area to the next. Be sure to check the weather forecasts for the area of the park that you plan to visit. Rangers are very helpful with this information. Weather and road conditions are also posted in the Visitor Centers each day.
In the higher elevations, snow can fall as early as September and as late as of May or even June. The best advice is to check the weather just before your visit and prepare yourself with clothing for a variety of conditions.
Best Times to Visit Yosemite National Park
You can visit Yosemite Lakes RV Park year round, but during the winter much of Yosemite National Park is inaccessible, and snow chains may be required to travel in the area.
The summer months bring the crowds, so timing your visit between the snow and the crowds is a good approach. May and September are considered the best times of the year to visit the area. If you want to see the waterfalls, definitely visit in the spring.
For more info about camping in and around Yosemite National Park check out our article called Best RV Camping In and Near Yosemite.
Things To Do Near Yosemite Lakes RV Campground
One of the great things about Yosemite Lakes RV Resort is that the South Fork of the Tuolumne River runs right through the campground. Campers have excellent access to swimming, fishing and even panning for gold! Tubing and swimming in the river are also popular activities at the campground.
Other onsite amenities at Yosemite Lakes RV Resort include a clubhouse, basketball courts, a game room with billiards, shuffleboard, mini-golf, volleyball, and horseshoes. There is also a playground for the kiddos along with tetherball and croquet.
Popular Day Trips from Yosemite Lakes RV Resort
Most visitors to Yosemite Lakes RV Resort have one major destination in mind and that is Yosemite National Park! There are so many scenic areas, trails, waterfalls, and places to explore in Yosemite that it is a challenge to see everything in one trip. Here are our recommendations on what to see during your stay.
The Yosemite Valley Loop
If you have a day or less to spend in Yosemite, this is where you should start. The valley loop will take you by all of the major viewpoints and sights of the valley. You can complete the loop in a variety of ways.
The Yosemite Valley shuttle makes 19 stops throughout the park. The shuttle operates year round from 7 am to 10 pm. I highly recommend the shuttle because it’s a low-stress way to see the park without having to worry about parking at each location. You can hop on the shuttle from any of the parking areas in the Yosemite Valley.
You can also drive your vehicle throughout the park. There are limited spots for RVs to park, so consider this method only if you have a tow vehicle or truck. You can park in designated parking lots or alongside the road.
It can be difficult to find parking in Yosemite National Park at any time of year. Therefore, we don’t recommend this method if you plan to make multiple stops. It’s a great way to see the valley and get a feel for the park and what you would like to do during your stay.
If you enjoy biking, Yosemite is a recreational biker’s dream come true. A 12-mile, mostly flat trail loops the valley and takes about 2 hours to complete. Much of this trail is quiet and away from crowds, which makes for a unique experience. Bike rentals are available throughout the valley if you do not bring your own.
You can also hike all or part of the valley loop. Hiking the full loop takes about 5-7 hours, stopping at various viewpoints and sites along the way. It is 11.5 miles round trip. The half loop is a bit shorter at 7.2 miles, and you can complete it in about 2.5-3.5 hours.
Happy Isles Art and Nature Center
Happy Isles refers to a pair of islands in the Merced River near the Pines campgrounds. A short trail will take you to the art and nature center, where painting classes and activities take place each day. The nature center is kid-friendly with art-focused activities about the park. And it also offers adults some fun activities too.
Visit Glacier Point
The view from Glacier Point is one of the most stunning in the world. From here you can view Yosemite Falls, Vernal and Nevada Falls, Half Dome and the entire Yosemite Valley. It is well worth the drive from the valley.
Glacier Point also features exhibits on the geology of the park along with a gift shop, picnic area, and restrooms. During the summer you will need to park along Glacier Point Road at the Badger Pass Ski Area and take the free shuttle to the top. During the spring and fall, you can drive to Glacier Point, weather permitting.
Hike Through Mariposa Grove
The Mariposa Grove of sequoias is home to some of the most massive trees in Yosemite (and in the world). It was recently renovated to improve accessibility and offers several loop trails that allow visitors to check out the big trees.
Walking the loop is a must, and there are great opportunities to take pictures alongside the amazing sequoias. Be sure to check out the Mariposa Grove gift shop located near the shuttle pick up location.
To get to the grove, you will need to park at the Mariposa Grove Welcome Center near the park entrance at Wawona and take a shuttle to the grove. There is no parking at the Mariposa Grove itself unless you have a valid disability-parking placard.
Wawona and the Pioneer Yosemite History Center
Wawona is located near the Mariposa Grove and is a great place to stop for a meal or provisions. While there, you can check out the Pioneer Yosemite History Center, which features historic buildings relocated there from throughout the park along with a covered bridge. During the summer season, you can even take a ride in a horse-drawn wagon through the old cabins and buildings.
Visit Tuolumne Meadows
For a beautiful drive with lots of vistas and hiking trails along the way, take the drive from Crane Flat to Tioga Pass and on to Tuolumne Meadows. Scenic views, lakes, and great picnic locations abound in this part of the park. It is also typically less crowded than the Yosemite Valley. There is a visitor center with ranger activities and information as well.
Check Out Hetch Hetchy
At just over an hour drive from the Yosemite Valley, Hetch Hetchy is a beautiful place for hiking, birding and experiencing a less crowded Yosemite. From lakes to canyons, there is something for everyone in this protected area. There is no public transportation to Hetch Hetchy, which makes it less crowded. But this also means you will need to take your vehicle to this area. The road to Hetch Hetchy is the only road in the park that is not open 24 hours so be sure to check the schedule before venturing out to this area.
How Much Does it Cost to Camp at Yosemite Lakes RV Resort?
As of 2019, full hookup sites are $75 per night during the busy summer season. This fee may be lower during other times of the year. For up to date pricing information, enter your travel dates on the campground website. Thousand Trails members with the Southwest Zone camping pass can camp at Yosemite Lakes at no charge.
RV Camping Tips for Yosemite Lakes
- Check-in time is noon, and check out is 11:00 am.
- For the best campsites, ask for a spot along the South Fork of the Tuolumne River where there are great views and peaceful sounds of the river at your back door.
- Cell service is limited on all carriers in Yosemite National Park and the Yosemite Lakes campground. You can access Wi-Fi at the clubhouse or pay an additional fee to have Wi-Fi at your site.
What is the Best Way to Get Around Yosemite National Park?
If you want to avoid the hassle of finding parking within Yosemite, try the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS). It operates a bus service from areas outside of the park to popular destinations inside the park. There is a bus stop at Yosemite Lakes, making this very convenient. Once you are in the park, you can take the Yosemite shuttles to get to where you would like to go.
YARTS is a great option for RVers who do not want the hassle of parking their RV in Yosemite. You can also bring your bikes on the bus! Tickets range from $8-30 depending on your starting location and destination. Park admission is included with your ticket.
For a really great article about RV parking in Yosemite National Park check out our article called The Complete Guide to RV Parking in Yosemite.
Yosemite Lakes RV Resort Reviews
Most RV Campers agree that the campground is conveniently located within 15 minutes from the entrance to Yosemite National Park. There is a bus stop right at the campground so you can leave your RV at the resort and take the shuttle through the park The RV Resort has plenty of amenities and activities too.
The only negative I have s=read about or heard is that the price is a little steep if you aren’t a Thousand Trails member. But hey, you’re 15 minutes from the entrance to Yosemite National Park. And the location is everything.
Check out our other articles on RV Camping at or near Yosemite National Park below:
- Best RV Camping In and Near Yosemite
- The Complete Guide to RV Parking in Yosemite
- The Best RV Camping In (and Near) Yellowstone
- The Complete Guide to RV Parking in Yellowstone
- Why Are RV Park Rates So High?
- The Complete Guide to RV Parking in San Francisco
Where is your favorite place to stay in or near Yosemite National Park? Please leave your comments or suggestions below!