My family and I camped in Junction campground for three nights in July just off Tioga Road in Inyo, less than a quarter mile from Tioga Lake, less than 2 miles from the eastern Yosemite entrance. Site # 9 was amazing - shaded by trees during the day, set atop a small hill about 50 ft from the parking area with the latrine nearby at the bottom of the hill. Elevation is around 9000 feet, so daytime temperatures were mid to upper 80's and dry, but nightime temperatures dipped to low 40's / upper 30's. Tioga Pass and this area of Inyo N.F. and the eastern Sierras is truly amazing, a quiet serene escape from the summer masses inside Yosemite.
We first spent the night at Lakeview Lodge in nearby Lee Vining. I drove into Yosemite to Tuolumne Meadows campground, got in the first-come/first-serve camping line at about 9AM, and was eventually 10th on the waiting list for a campsite. I was told that all of the first-come/first-serve campsites had been taken and to come back at 2PM with the possibility that more campsites would be available if enough people checked out after 11AM. I ventured around Tuolumne campground to scope things out - campsites were very close, and being July it was VERY dense and noisy with people.
A little discouraged, I drove back out of Yosemite toward Lee Vining and decided to check on the availability of campsites within Inyo NF between Yosemite and Lee Vining. To my knowledge, all or most of the Inyo NF campsites are first-come/first-serve, so I drove into Junction campground looking for open sites. After finding #9 open, I immediately set up the tent to claim the site and spoke to the camp host to make our reservation official. The gentleman was extremely kind and helpful.
We were so pleased with the location and campsite in Junction that I didn't go back to Tuolomne Meadows at 2PM to see if they had a site available for me. The only "drawback", for some, could be that Junction and the rest of the Inyo NF campgrounds in the area did not have running water or conventional toilets, just pit latrines. Not particularly ideal for an RV or those who absolutely need modern amenities when camping. Also, it was roughly a 1 hour drive to go visit Yosemite Valley....a little inconvenient, but a relief to leave at the end of the day. I would definitely visit Tioga Pass and camp in Inyo NF again.
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