In March, B and I had the privilege of camping in a yurt near Yosemite National Park for two nights. I had never stayed in a yurt before and had no idea what to expect. However, to my surprise, staying in a yurt near Yosemite was one of the best ways to camp there in winter! Keep reading if you are interested to find out how we liked our stay!
Yurt Near Yosemite
Before Christmas last year, B and I saw an email come in to both of us from Travelzoo. If you don’t know what Travelzoo is, do yourself a favor and look it up. It’s a fantastic website that shows you travel deals around your area, as well as areas you might be interested in. Well, this email that came was for a campground and yurt near Yosemite National Park called Yosemite Lakes RV Resort and Campground by Thousand Trails. I have heard of Thousand Trails campsites before, so I was interested. Both of us clicked on the link and immediately knew we had to book it!
Yosemite Lakes RV resort and campground is pretty normal as far as campgrounds go. There are RV sites and different cabins to stay in. The most interesting thing on this deal, though was the yurt camping! These yurts looked so cool! They were set in the trees, had all the amenities that we would need, and even had a cute stove heater for winter! B and I love camping and exploring Yosemite National Park. However, we had never been camping there in the winter when the snow covers the ground in a magical white. So, we booked the yurt near Yosemite to go experience it in winter!
If you don’t know how much B and I love camping, check out this post! Over the past year, we have tried to camp in several National Parks such as Death Valley, Joshua Tree and Sequoia/King’s Canyon. Even though we love tent camping, we love trying different experiences as well. So, we were stoked for this yurt!
Another Yosemite Trip?!
Now, if you have read my other blog post on our three-day trip to Yosemite in June, 2017, you will remember how crazy busy we were! The drive from Southern California takes us anywhere from 6-8 hours depending on traffic. I told myself and B that we would not do another three-day trip because it is just too much driving and too much hassle. Yosemite is crowded in the summer and the amount of people and cars makes getting around take much longer. However, since this would be winter and barely anyone goes to Yosemite National Park in the winter, I told B it would be okay to do a three-day weekend just one more time.
Disclaimer: we are done with three-day weekend trips to Yosemite! Hahaha! The 8 hour traffic drive back home was awful!!!
We took off early in the morning and somehow got to Yosemite in 6 hours! Yay for no Saturday morning traffic! Since we could not even check into our yurt yet, we decided to take a different way into Yosemite besides Tunnel View and explore a little. The colors were so different than they are in summer. However, they were gorgeous! I think the browns, greens and whites were such an amazing combination of colors for winter!
We were lucky not to have snow in the Valley Floor so we didn’t need chains. Taking a quick drive around the Valley Floor loop presented us with great views of Yosemite Falls and Half Dome.
Around Yosemite Falls, we got out and walked around a little bit. The weather was not too cold, so we took a lot of pictures. Taking pictures is one of my favorite things, so I took a TON! My favorite camera to use while camping is my GoPro Hero5 Black! It’s so tiny and yet can fit huge, gorgeous scenes all in one picture! I took tons of pictures of the Valley Floor and all the cool scenes.
Afterwards, we drove to our yurt to check in. We did not want to be driving those mountain roads in the snow and the dark. On our way up to the campground, it started to spit snow. B decided to put the chains on the car before it really started. Funny thing is, we only got a mile down the road and the park ranger told us we might as well take them off! We wouldn’t need them going over the pass. Good thing we got some practice though! The picture above is what it looked like the next morning when we needed them!
The campground is located in Groveland, CA just outside the Big Oak Flat Entrance to Yosemite. From the resort to the Big Oak Flat Entrance, the drive is 9 minutes. The drive from the campground to the Valley floor takes about 50 min depending on traffic. Luckily in the winter, we had no traffic, just a slow speed limit and snow. It is only 30 miles to the Valley floor.
Arriving at Yosemite Lakes RV resort and campground was impressive. It was surrounded by gorgeous forest and land. Check-in went smoothly and the staff was courteous and helpful. Once we checked in, we drove down the road to the cutest place I’ve ever stayed!
Yurt Near Yosemite
Yurts are amazing. And these were no exception. We were lucky enough to get one with a bathroom inside. Some of them have community bathrooms you have to walk to. This wouldn’t be a problem in summer, but in winter it would be cold!
If I had to compare a yurt to something, I would say it would be a studio cabin with canvas walls. The first thing you notice when walking in is a kitchen table and chairs next to a sink and stove with some cabinets. Everything needed to cook food was included in the kitchen. There was a coffee pot, a cooking pot and all the utensils you would need. For dinner the first night, we cooked spaghetti and did not have a problem. All we brought with us was our cooler, our food, and my mason jar cold brew awesomeness!
The yurt is one big circle with the bed and futon on one side, the kitchen on the other and the bathroom in the back. Included in the bedroom furniture is the bed, futon, dresser, and chest. Linens are included. The bed was comfortable and we were warm throughout the night. Next to the bed was an electric “wood” stove. In order to change the temperature, we just adjusted the wall thermostat. However, the look of the stove was so cute and romantic! Even if it wasn’t “authentic.”
A door separates the bathroom from the rest of the yurt. In the bathroom there was a toilet, sink, shower, and closet for storage. Toiletries were included. It was very convenient having the bathroom inside.
Overall, we were very impressed with the way the yurt looked and how warm we stayed at night. It was very helpful to cook our own food due to the lack of restaurants nearby. At night, we took a walk around the grounds and saw the river running through. Once we got back to the yurt, it started raining and the sound was so pretty! After a couple of hours, it even started to snow! Imagine my surprise in the morning when the snow was all over the porch! It was gorgeous!
Yosemite In Winter
The next morning, we were on our way back to Yosemite to explore! You can read about our winter Yosemite trip here. Luckily, we learned how to put on chains the day before because once we got to the Big Oak Flats Entrance, we had to pull over and put them on. After a full day exploring Yosemite in the winter, we drove back to the yurt.
The second night in the yurt was just as good as the first! We were able to relax after hiking and exploring in Yosemite. If anyone is planning a trip, I would definitely recommend this campground with the yurt near Yosemite! It was such a fantastic place to stay during our trip!
Got any fun places that you have stayed in Yosemite besides the Valley Floor? Let me know in the comments so we can check it out!