For any Yosemite National Park  campground, make reservations early! All the major campgrounds fill up from spring through fall, and reservations can be difficult to come by.
Consider making your Yosemite campground reservation at least six months in advance to get the campsite you want. To make a reservation, go to www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit  or call 877/444-6777.
In Yosemite Valley , the campgrounds at Upper, Middle, and Lower Pine (reservations required, 375 campsites, $20/day) allow trailers and RVs, and you can bring your dog camping here with you. Upper Pine is open through the winter. Camp Curry offers plenty of food options within walking distance, and showers are available nearby.
Camp 4 (near Yosemite Lodge, no reservations required, 35 campsites, $5) stays open year-round. Yes, you can camp in the snow! Bring a tent—no RVs or trailers are allowed at Camp 4—but you’ll find showers nearby and lots of food and groceries at Yosemite Lodge.
To the south, you can camp at lovely forested Wawona (one mile north of Wawona , reservations required Apr.–Oct., 93 sites, $20) year-round. RVs are welcome, though there are no hookups on-site. If you want to camp with your horses, Wawona offers two horse sites. The small grocery store in town can provide a few basics, but most services (including showers) can’t be found closer than Yosemite Valley .
For a more picturesque southern Yosemite camping experience, check out Bridalveil Creek (Glacier Point Rd., no reservations required, 110 campsites, $14/night). You can reserve one of three horse sites if you’re traveling with your mount. Mechanical beasts of burdens (RVs) are welcome as well.
Yosemite  visitors who favor the high country tend to prefer to camp rather than stay in a lodge. Accordingly, most of Yosemite’s campgrounds sit north of the valley, away from the largest tourist crowds (excluding the High Sierra Camps, which are also up north).
Tuolumne Meadows  (Tioga Pass Rd. at Tuolumne Meadows, reservations suggested, $20/night) hosts the largest campsite in the park, with over 300 individual campsites, plus four horse sites. Expect Tuolumne to be crowded for the whole of its season (July–Sept.). Tuolumne is RV-friendly and has most necessary services, including food and showers available at the Tuolumne Meadows Lodge.
Other good-sized campgrounds off Tioga Pass  include Crane Flat (reservations required, 166 campsites, $20/night, RVs ok, open mid-June–mid-Oct.), White Wolf (no reservations, 74 campsites, $14/night, open July–mid-Sept.), and Hodgdon Meadow (reservations required high season, 105 campsites, $20/night, open year-round) at the west edge of the park.
If you’re looking to ditch the RV traffic and crowded central visitor areas, head for Yosemite Creek (no reservations, $10/night). This tents-only campground boasts only 40 campsites on a first-come, first-served basis from July through September. The creek flows right through the campground, perfect for cooling off on a hot day, and you can even drink the water if you first treat it properly. Yosemite Creek offers few amenities—no groceries, showers, or on-site potable water. It’s just what many outdoorsy visitors want!
Another option is Tamarack Flat (Tioga Pass Rd., no reservations, 52 campsites, $10/night). Here you’ll be closer to Yosemite Valley  but still in a more primitive environment.
The High Sierra Camps at Yosemite  offer far more than your average backcountry campground. Rather than carrying heavy packs filled with food, tents, and bedding, multi-day hikers can plan to hit the High Sierra Camps, which provide tent cabins with amenities, breakfast and dinner in camp, and a box lunch to take along during the day. Choose from among the Merced Lake, Vogelsang, Glen Aulin, May Lake, and Sunrise Camp—or hike from one to the next if you get lucky.
Why do you need luck? Because you can’t just walk up to a High Sierra Camp one weekend at random and expect to find a bed. In the fall, a lottery takes place for spots at High Sierra Camps through the following summer. You’ll need to submit an application if you want to join the lottery, (check out the website for instructions on how to apply for the High Sierra Camps ) and even if you get a spot there’s no guarantee you’ll get your preferred dates. You can check in at the website during the camping season (June–Sept.) to see if any dates are available.
The bottom line? If you want to take advantage of the Yosemite  backcountry, plan for a summer when you can be flexible in your dates, and start making your arrangements a year in advance.