First Time Camping in Yosemite National Park, CA

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This was my first time camping out in a tent and I had a wonderful experience, especially the part where I slept under millions of stars. I was staying in Hogdon Meadow Campground. This site is near the west entrance to Yosemite, which makes it convenient for traveling from CA’s west coast. The campsites are close together, but if you are used to camping in CA state parks, it is totally normal. Maybe for out of state people or first timers it seems cramped.

Camp location:

Hogdon Meadow Campground

What to expect for the camp?

  • No cell phone reception.
  • Vehicle parking by the campsite. Parking is convenient to these sites but still 40-50 yards away depending. Bring good storage containers to limit your trips to packing and unpacking.
  • Bring enough wood, sleeping bags, blankets and warm clothes it gets cold around 3 am and stays cold till 7 or 8 am. Even in the dead of summer.

Things they provide:

  • Bear box (plenty of room in the bear boxes for all of our food and toiletries.)
  • Firepit
  • Table Bench
  • Bathrooms (well maintained with a LOT of toilet paper all the time.)

List of what to bring:

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bags / sleeping pads / air mattresses (& pump) + pillows
  • Multi-tool / knife
  • Mallet or hammer for tent stakes
  • Headlamps + flashlight (with extra batteries)
  • Folding chairs
  • Clothing and footwear (make sure dress properly for the season, it’s still going to be chilly at summer night)
  • Toiletries
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Bug repellent (very important!)
  • Wet wipes
  • Small Towel (you can wash your face and brush your teeth in the bathroom)
  • First aid kit
  • Fuel
  • Matches/ lighter
  • Cooking / kitchen utensils (if you do plan to cook on the campsite, otherwise there are some food places inside the park are driving distance)
  • Cooler + ice
  • Water bottles or you can refill your water gallon in a place nearby
  • Camera + memory card + extra batteries
  • Binoculars
  • Maps
  • Guidebook
  • Campsite reservation confirmation
  • My best favorite things to bring is: SMORES! 😉

Beautiful Scenery of Yosemite

Hike to Vernal Fall

Distance: 2.4 mi (3.9 km) round trip (via Mist Trail)
Elevation gain: 1000 ft (300 m)
Difficulty: Strenuous
Time: 3 hours

I can say that trying to get to the top of Vernall Fall was a life or death experience for me. We parked a little bit far from the start point of the hike, so I can say maybe 6 miles round-trip in total. I had to go through giant-staircases, also steep and rocky switchbacks. I can say I’m not very good at hiking and still haven’t get used to altitude (short breath and headache effect) so this hike was really challenging.  I was giving up to whole time to get to the top and took many stop (my legs was already sore for falling so many times of snowboarding in Mammoth before this trip so going for a hike is insanely sore), but Tyler was patiently waiting for me and pushed me to get to the top.

I drank 2 bottles of water and it wasn’t enough. This is the recommendation for the amount of water: Vernal Fall Footbridge (1 quart/liter), Top of Vernal Fall (2 quarts/liters), and Top of Nevada Fall (3-4 quarts/liters). At some spot, there should be a drinking fountain but yesterday it was out of service. 

Getting closer to the Mist Trail, get ready to get wet from the Mist of the waterfall. It was refreshing and cold at the same time, however, I was soaked wet so I have to protect my camera and my backpack. Since we hiked pretty late on our way back it was pitched black, I was afraid that we could be eaten alive by some wild animals. My legs were really sore but still trying find a way to get back to the parking lot. 

Some tips that I wish I have known before the hike:

  • Wear a good hiking shoes
  • Stretch muscle or warm-up
  • Stay out from dehydration
  • Bring an extra jacket when the day is getting dark as it gets cold also get wet from the mist
  • Bring Headlamps / Flashlight

How is your Yosemite experience?




  1. Tori Lavan
    July 26, 2017 / 10:08 pm

    These pics make me want to go there.

    • Milka Amanda
      July 26, 2017 / 10:46 pm

      I was going to say we can do Yosemite trips with APU, but then I realized you just graduated 🙁

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