This September we embarked on a crazy new adventure by squeezing 2 families into our 9 passenger E150 Ford Club Wagon and headed to Bridalveil Creek Campground inside Yosemite National Park. We left early Thursday morning to avoid the crowds to secure a first come first serve campsite in the remote Glacier Point area.
My wife’s first cousin, Lani, along with her hubby Yammy and 3 boys were visiting us from the Philippines. This was their first camping trip in the high Sierra Mountains. Whenever we stopped, all 9 of us would get out of the van as people stared in amazement. Several people asked how we could fit our gear and 9 people in the van. It seemed crazy packing us inside the van like sardines. However, after traveling extensively in the Philippines in vans smaller than ours with twice the people, it made all the more sense. In the Philippines, a van is not full until most passengers have someone sitting on their lap.
Our van was originally configured to seat 8 passengers. My buddy “Engineer Dan” moved the mounting brackets on a 4 person bench seat that I bought on Craigslist redesigned it to fit the stock 3 seat floor mount brackets turning our van into a 9 passenger camping machine with plenty of cargo storage. We built a large platform bed in the rear cargo area that nearly doubled cargo carrying capacity. While it was not super roomy, we all had more room than a standard airline seat. It felt more like business class.
Lani’s husband Yammy and I took charge of the packing as he works professionally in the travel industry and knows how to pack a lot gear into tiny spaces. After 2 hours of packing, we had everything packed and our van had more free space than we had traveling with just 4 people.
Everyone was out of bed around 4:30 AM. I made coffee and loaded a few more items. We left our parking lot at approximately 6 AM and were cruising through Yosemite by 10 AM.
September boasts warm days and cool nights in the high Sierras. However, this was not the case for us as it was unseasonably cool with lows in the 30’s and day time highs in the upper 60’s. Regardless of the cool weather, it was comfortable.
I avoid Yosemite in the summer as it’s too crowded. Camping in September is a game changer as it’s easy to get first come first serve campsites at places like Bridal Veil Creek, Porcupine Flat. Traffic in the valley is tolerable in September. It’s always worth the time to visit Yosemite National park even if the traffic is bad,
Even though we arrived early, all campgrounds in Yosemite Valley were fully booked for the weekend. We anticipated this and decided to camp at the more quiet and remote Bridal Veil Creek campground. The campground was nearly empty when we arrived giving us adequate time to choose a campsite large enough to accommodate 9 people.
My cousin Yammy picked a large campsite that had lots of large boulders for the boys to climb and play on. Bridalveil creek ran right next to our campsite.
Upon arrival, we ate brunch consisting of home made grain free granola, chia pudding, and yogurt. This campground was so beautiful and quiet that we decided to spend the afternoon resting, reading, and eating here rather than go sight seeing.
Best Reason For Staying At Bridalveil Creek Campground
This campground beats the crowds. Even during the peak of the summer, everyone gets a fair shot to grab a site as it’s all first come, first serve. I am not a big fan of the reservation system as I like stay at a campground when all the conditions are good and move at a minutes notice if things like the weather go south. Arrive early and you are almost guaranteed getting a site.
I was happy that Yosemite Valley was full for camping as I don’t like the crowds and traffic. Bridalveil creek is closer to Glacier point and other high country sights such as Sentinel Dome trail. I took some of the boys on short hike in the surrounding area of the campground that were as beautiful as any back country trail in Yosemite.
Yosemite Is The Real Deal In Regard To Wilderness
I particularly enjoy walking through the ice cold looking granite that surround Bridal Veil Creek campground. I felt like I was on a hike in the back country. Actually, this campsite is so remote that it’s considered “back country”. It’s separated from Yosemite Valley by a 3000 foot drop and a 2 lane road. We saw small bears twice a few miles away from the campground. Remember, you are in the wilderness. Pay attention to the signs that warn you to store your food properly. The first time that I visited this park in 1985, a black bear walked right by me while I hanging my food in a tree to prevent bears from eating everything in my pack!
Everyone (except me) slept in late on Friday morning. I was up after 6 AM and did a quick 21 minute body weight work out followed by large cup of coffee. It was cold and I cheated by warming up our van and sitting inside until sunrise.
Pack Warm Clothes When Camping At Bridalveil Creek Campground
This campground is located at 7200 feet and can be cold anytime of the year. Forget camping here in the fall as it closes the 3rd weekend in September. It’s completely snowed in from November until late spring. Yeah, it’s cold! Don’t fret as summer days can be hot with cool nights.
4 Reasons Why Yosemite Is A Great Place Anytime Of the Year
Spring, summer, fall and Winter. Every season is great and the valley is open year round. I have been here during every season and it’s like going to a different park in each of the 4 seasons. Yosemite is awesome anytime of the year that you visit. We decided to visit the valley where it was warmer. I was surprised by the amount of traffic. Since it was late September, good weather still makes this park a major attraction.
I will come back to Bridalveil Creek campground again as it’s great for family camping. The sites are large, there are plenty of bathrooms, and it’s close to major attractions without being stuck in crowds.