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“Fine first-time experience”

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Hodgdon Meadow Campground
Reviewed 7 August 2013

My son and daughter-in-law are experienced campers but this was my first time tent camping. Somehow my son got a reservation just a week before we visited Aug. 3; probably a last-minute cancellation. Site 92 had a gentle slope for the tent and the campground host's trailer was just across the road, the bathrooms were close, and surrounding campers all were there to eat, sleep and get up early to explore the next day. That made for convenience and quiet. Birds, but no bears when we were there. It gets really cold at night, so plan for that. Weather sites for Yosemite don't specify where the temp data is taken, but it was allegedly 39 F. overnight. I would guess closer to 45 F. at Hodgdon. Very friendly hosts and fellow campers. Many children. Everyone was considerate of their neighbors and by 10:30 p.m., place was absolutely quiet. Nobody seems to mention it, but because of the fragrant conifers, the air smells wonderful all the time. Definitely would do it again.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank Lynn S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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35 - 41 of 76 reviews

Reviewed 19 June 2013

After reading a number of negative reviews, we (our couple friends from Germany, my husband, myself, and our 19 month old daughter) headed toward Hodgdon Meadow, with low expectations and an inability to pronounce its name.

LOCATION - We lucked out with a great site (#42) that is in the outermost ring. Its boundary to the east is woods, and the meadow is a short walk past site 33. We shortcut through the woods to get to the meadow, which is beautiful and has a nice trail through it. We spent quite a bit of time at camp, going for walks around the campground to meet people, exploring the woods and climbing on fallen trees. The terrain is steep in places, but toddlers are fine if they are somewhat surefooted and kept in sight. We enjoyed the drive into the Yosemite Valley, and liked being an hour closer to home in the Bay Area when it was time to leave.

THE SITE - Both tent spots were level enough; we just slept with our heads slightly downhill (we find it makes for a better night's sleep). People observed quiet hours, which were enforced early on by rangers coming through sites. That was cool by us since we were all either jet-lagged or the parents of a toddler. The site itself is shady most of the day, has a long picnic table, big bear box, and a fire ring with grill. We had to park our car in a shared lot by the road, but that worked out fine for us; it was nice not having it around. The bathrooms were clean and well-stocked with TP. No shower, soap or paper towels so bring your own. There is a sink outside at the bathroom with potable water, but you must wash dishes at camp. This makes for clean sinks, which I appreciated. We kept meals simple to reduce cleanup at camp.

NOTE: This is not glamorous camping - There are probably some sites that aren't as pleasant as ours was. Other people may have different circumstances that affect their experience. We just found that we were in this spectacular place with people we loved; could it get any better?!

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with family
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10  Thank qoolgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 June 2013

Camped here with my husband in May, 2013. Campsite was packed although never more then 1 other person in the bathroom. Bathrooms were clean and well stocked. The campsite itself was average at best. There was no flat area to actually pitch the tent so we chose the area with the least slope, which was not very comfortable. Not much privacy is observed between the sites either. However, we were simply cooking and sleeping so we didn't spend that much time in the campground.

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Funkybuns514
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 August 2012

Hogdon Meadow is one of the outlying campgrounds to stay at when you can't get a space in Yosemite Valley.

The Bad: A poorly organized and maintained campround with campsites that are extremely close together. Do not expect any privacy. Most sites are on a hill side although a few are level. We had site 68 which was fairly level for one tent but was surrounded by other campsites. Basically, avoid any campsite with shared parking as these sites are very close together. Parking is very tight. As a man, the bathrooms were filthy! I don't expect much but there is just too many people using them and they are only cleaned once a day. Everywhere you step, there will be a cloud of dust; just like walking on the moon. Everything will get dirty and you will breath dust the whole time you are there. If you don't breath dust, you will breath campfire smoke. The campground is not ADA accessible in any way. My wife is mobility challenged and it was difficult for her to get around and walk to the restrooms.

The good: You are staying within the boundaries of Yosemite and the drive to The Valley is not too bad. The park staff and hosts are friendly and helpful. You will meet interesting people from all over the world who are camping in the dirt and not complaining about it. It is located near the information center and the Crane Flat grocery store is on the way to The Valley so you can pick up a few items either on the way in or back out. There is a neat little swimming hole in the creek just a few miles away. Leave the park and take Evergreen RD towards Hetch Hetchy. Go down the hill and stop at the first bridge. There is a picnic area with access to a creek and little swimming holes. It is nice way to beat the heat.

Room Tip: Tent sites 14-32 are down a steep hill from the parking area. Some people might like the uniqueness...
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  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with family
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9  Thank watchman01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 July 2012

Of course if you could get a site in the valley you wouldn't be looking here. But that said as a back-up site it could be much worse.

The bathrooms are very old and not cleaned much considering there are ONLY a total of 6 stalls for the women in the entire campground, don't wait until the last minute to pee or you'll be sorry. Its obvious they put all of the park money into the valley.

Don't believe the campground map, some sights are much more of a walk to the bathrooms than you expect and others are really much closer together. But that said it was a nice tent campground considering how full the valley was. And we got into the valley at least 2 hours earlier than most of the crowd did. Our first night was in #50 close to the bathrooms basically that entire inner loop of sites are touching one another not like its shown on the map and barely a flat spot to be found. Then we moved to #27 which at least had a flat area for the tent.

Room Tip: Pick the outer ring of sites and plan for more of a walk to the bathrooms
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  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank TravelerWithFour
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 July 2012

I am not the sort of person who writes these knit picky reviews – I honest want to help other travelers. With that being said Hodgdon Meadows would be my last choice to camp in Yosemite. I have camped all my life, all over the US, and Hodgdon Meadow is not only the poorest layout/design for a campground, it was also in the most disrepair I have visited. It was as if someone just drew a circle for the campground layout without regard for topography, put the road there, and tried to find a way to place camp sites on the inside and outside of the circle. They put two bathrooms in the middle of the circle with no entry way, you actually have to walk through someone else’s campsite to get to the bathrooms. As is noted elsewhere, the sites are not very flat, but for the most part if you have a smaller tent, it is manageable. For “walk in” tent sites, the sites are very close. I was in site 65, and I had the two adjoining sites picnic tables within 20’ of my table. Sound seems to travel through the forest here at night, so it was pretty noisy. Bathrooms were functional, but is it too much to ask to clean the floors and walls once in a while. I mean the brown “filth” on the walls and floors was really too much. I liked the plywood toilet tank cover to replace the obviously broken porcelain one, nice touch that they painted it white… Most of the roads in the campground are completely crumbling.

So if you have no other options (which is likely the case given how hard the valley campgrounds are to get into), here are a few good facts to know:

1. Plan for a 40 minute drive to the valley. If you get an early start – before 8:30 – you will have an easy drive into the valley with parking not an issue – even in early July. I would recommend parking at Curry Village, and using the shuttle system to get around.
2. You are close by Hetch Hetchy, and you will want to take a hike there. If you don’t mind moving your campsite, and a bit of a walk in with only backpacking tent sites, get a permit to do an overnight hike into the area. Even if you don’t use the backcountry permit, the permit allows you to use the backcountry campground at the Hetch Hetchy trail head on the night before your trip and the night after. There are about 20 sites, most with commanding views down the valley from Hetch Hetchy – awesome sunsets. On the weekend before the fourth of July, only one site was taken on a Friday night.
3. On the way to Hetch Hetchy, you pass by the “town” of Mather. The general store has everything you need there + ice cream stand. The town is essentially a resort that looked pretty nice on a short stop. It might be possible to take a shower here. I used the bathroom, and the showers were empty, so it would seem possible you could pretend to be a guest and just use the showers…
4. There are two nice day use area’s outside the park on the way to Hetch Hetchy on the Tolume river. Nice place to cool off in the river, or try and catch some trout. Once again, on the weekend before fourth of July, I only saw fishermen at these day use area’s - not crowded at all.

In the hopes that the Park Service does read reviews, here is my recommendation for this campground – start over. There was large area’s around the actual campground that had nice flat terrain. You could re-layout this campground adding more sites that are actually nicely spread out, and flat. I know you have extreme budget issues, but it is a crime in my opinion that the wealthiest country on earths crown jewel of the park system has a campground as poor as Hodgdon Meadow.

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with family
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14  Thank azbadger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 July 2012

We felt that we lucked out with many different factors with this campground. We blindly chose a campsite from the website shortly after they opened the reservations for our time period. Which, I'm glad we did, because the campground was sold out by the time we were getting things ready for our trip.

Our site was one of the tent sites, back from the road. It seems the camper sites are along the road and the tent sites are behind them, so you have to park your car along the road and walk a little bit to get to your site. One of the reasons we lucked out, was that we had some trees and bushes which created nice privacy for our tent. We also lucked out to have a pretty level area for our tent. MANY of these campsites have VERY unlevel ground. I felt bad for the people who had to pitch their tent on a slope. Even though the description of our site on the reservation website said "unlevel," we has one place that was perfect for our tent.

The bathroom was also a trek to get to. Uphill with no clear path, everyone walking everywhere and ankle breaking hills. It didn't bother us too much, but I could see people with very young kids having more trouble.

It is a park campground, so the sites are very close to each other. You will get to know your neighbors. Another reason we lucked out, the first night the site next to us remained empty over night and the whole next day. The next night our neighbors arrived after we had went to sleep and were very quiet setting up their tent.

The drive into the Valley, wasn't bad at all. It is a beautiful drive, went by quickly and we appreciated being outside of the madness of the Valley.

Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
2  Thank LifeOfTrip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hodgdon Meadow Campground

Address: Just past south entrance off Highway 120, Yosemite National Park, CA 95389
Region: United States > California > Yosemite National Park
Hotel Style:
Ranked #22 of 23 Speciality Lodging in Yosemite National Park
Number of rooms: 105
Also Known As:
Hodgdon Meadow Campground Hotel Yosemite National Park

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