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On line Natl Park Reservations


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This may be more for the Travel Forum, but it involves a lot of electrical/ computer, therefore, Technical Tips as well.

 

I was making reservations for Yosemite Valley (most popular in park) Campgrounds the other day. The earliest the on line resvn system (or phone in as I understood) would allow for Sept 24 arrival was May 15 and I learned midnight May 14 didn't get it either lol The earliest on May 15 was at 10:00 AM and by 10:15 AM May 15 ABOUT ALL SITES RESERVABLE IN YOSEMITE SEPT 24 WERE FULLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

 

I pretty well got when and where I wanted, but it took some fast n fancy keyboarding as fast as they were filling:

 

TECHNICAL TIPS

 

1) Know the exact date and time the web site or phone in takes reservations for your trip (my Sept 24 arrival booked May 15 at 10 AM)

2) Have both your preferred campground and preferred sites all lined up and ready to book (and dates of course)

3) Have your Recreation.Gov and/or Reserve America ID and Passwords and Credit Card all ready because once you "book" you only

have x minutes to complete the transaction before you loose it.

4) Have backup campgrounds and backup dates and preferred campsites handy and ready in case your first attempt is already booked

5) Have your Senior Pass or Access Pass in front of you with its ID number

6) Do your homework and know what type and class and facilities and limitations and size limits (especially RV length) can fit in what

camp sites so youre not browsing where you cant get in regardless. YOU HAVE NO TIME TO WASTE 15 minutes all were full

7) Research for differences in Phone versus On Line reservations, one or the other may work best or faster???

 

 

NOTE study the web page or phone info page because you can select things like size limits and number of persons and preferred loops or even exact site numbers and then do a SEARCH FOR AVAILABILITY and be ready to click on BOOK because they were dropping like flies the other day lol. That's why you need to do your homework FIRST to know what campgrounds and what loops and what sites work so you're ready to click BOOK NOW then don't dilly dally or hum haw around because you have x minutes or you lost it and when you go back and start over MOST SITES MAY BE GONE BY THEN. You basically have only one chance so be ready and dont blow it lol (don't ask how I know grrrrrrrrrrrrrr lol)

 

Sure, the less popular locations and camps don't fill as fast, and sure some camps are NON reservable, and sure some are first come first served (arrive early is my advice) . This is ONLY if you want a reservable site for certain dates in a popular location. Often we DO NOT RESERVE but there are times its best for our trip. I love the less popular parks with smaller crowds.

 

On Line, Phone, first come first served, reservations or none, its your trip and your choice, but this was my experience yesterday

 

John T

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Here at Bass Lake just below Yosemite you need to book as soon as you can also I believe the site is RECREATIONRESOURCES.COM but IF A SITE YOU WANT IS NOT AVAILABLE BE SURE AND CHECK BACK DAILY BECAUSE WE HAVE PEOPLE CANCEL AT THE LAST MINUTE CONSTANTLY... oops sorry for the caps

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John T, I've been there - done that with Indiana's reservation system (Reserve America), and Florida's (Key's) reservation system. Got burned on both sites, because I didn't have everything required in front of me. That is an excellent write-up. In fact, where we're going for Memorial Day is our 2nd choice state park. Our first filled within 10 minutes of the reservation system opening.

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Ray, one glitch I had was I didn't have my Recreation.gov info (ID and Password) handy so MISTAKENLY GRRRR tried to log as a new customer which then kicked me out because my e mail was previously registered, but then by the time I got back to re log as an existing account, the reservation timed out and the site was taken grrrrrrrrrrrrrr

 

If I would have wrote this first and followed it I would have been okay lol but thought it was good info to pass on to others.

 

John T

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Yep, a real challenge and great tips on getting everything all lined up and ready. We do the computer, and the phone, all at the same time, double teaming!!!

 

We recently 'helped' the new concessionaire for Grand Canyon's Trailer Village. We knew it was peak spring break time, but decided to see if we could get in by snagging a cancelation as they came thru. We were flexible on our time and date, and with a max going out about three weeks. I'd check several times each day, looking for available within search criteria. The Catch 22, is you must go all the way thru, and then check to see the info about 'Your Room' (They recently took over, and have tried to integrate the RV park into the Hotel's reservation system...) to then see the 'Max size'. I tried this for about 3 to 4 days, and each time I found one that would pop up as available, after about another 45 seconds of garbage, I'd then find that they were always 15' and under. I finally called their phone system, and started asking questions. Was first blown off, but being persistent was able to 'help' them determine that they had a problem... Seems the sites always came back Max 15'... Don't know if they've corrected this yet, but it was one of those start up problems that ended up with us skipping the Grand Canyon on this outing.

 

We'll be at the Yosemite Lakes 1000 Trails in June, meeting many family members. Then over for a week to our spot at Park of the Sierra's. (We're going to decide if we're going to retain the site or not. Love it, like the location, like the people, and such a unique park. But, we are now SD residents, and need to be out of California for the legal amount of the time required. With our 'vacation home' in California, and needing to check in on MIL for health reasons frequently - we use most of out time in California doing this...)

 

Best of luck on getting a spot ahead!!

Smitty

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I use a utility called LastPass to automate much of what most people type. I have an Identity for Reserve America and Recreation.Gov. (Windows, Androis, & Apple compatible.)

 

Basically you populate fields in LastPass with info required by these sites, then when required you just do a "fill form" from the proper identity. I have a Password site form all primed to login to Reserve America with just 1 click (No typo's or errors ever). You are vunurable to the webmaster changing the login protocall but those issues are rare. Sure reduces the stress level when time is limited.

 

10-4 on doing needed research first.

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We take a slightly different approach to getting campsites in places like Yosemite Valley. We just can't, or don't want to, plan far enough ahead to make reservations when they first open up. We've camped in Yosemite Valley several times by just snagging cancellations when they pop up. We position ourselves in Coursegold at either the SKP park or boondocking at Chuckchansi Casino. Chuckchansi allows overnight RV parking, is one of the nicest Indian casinos we seen, and has a great buffet that is also a great value - especially on the the meals that have the senior discount.

 

We hang out in Coursegold while checking the reservation website early every morning when they post new openings that become available due to cancellations. We've always been able to snag a site for a few days within one to three days of arrival in Coursegold. From there it's a short drive to Yosemite Valley. Also, we've almost always been able to stay the 7 day limit either through the above method or by snagging additional days later by getting in line real early at the reservation office in Curry Village where they almost always have additional sites that become available on a day by day basis.

 

---ron

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We take a slightly different approach to getting campsites in places like Yosemite Valley. We just can't, or don't want to, plan far enough ahead to make reservations when they first open up. We've camped in Yosemite Valley several times by just snagging cancellations when they pop up. We position ourselves in Coursegold at either the SKP park or boondocking at Chuckchansi Casino. Chuckchansi allows overnight RV parking, is one of the nicest Indian casinos we seen, and has a great buffet that is also a great value - especially on the the meals that have the senior discount.

 

We hang out in Coursegold while checking the reservation website early every morning when they post new openings that become available due to cancellations. We've always been able to snag a site for a few days within one to three days of arrival in Coursegold. From there it's a short drive to Yosemite Valley. Also, we've almost always been able to stay the 7 day limit either through the above method or by snagging additional days later by getting in line real early at the reservation office in Curry Village where they almost always have additional sites that become available on a day by day basis.

 

---ron

Chuckchansi is locked up and closed down due to some ruckus they had last Summer and from the looks of things they may not be reopening.

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Ron and Elena,

 

Your method sounds like yet another fun option to seek out a campsite. I have been at parks where the Internet or reservation site PLAINLY SAYS FULL NO VACANCY but have driven up to the check in gate AND GOT A SPOT. The net only has the last or latest info that was entered into the system and its likely NOT up to the last second accurate such as a camper may have packed up and left early. I sort of enjoyed learning all the limits and flags and input variables and dates and length of stay etc etc the on line system uses and little ways to work around some of that. Its just that when you have kids or grandkids with day jobs and precise limited exact dates they can visit you that you need a specific reservation. Otherwise, I enjoy free wheeling and flying by seat of the pants. Prior to leaving I will have all the alternate Natl Forest and BLM and Army Corps and Public Lands and Casinos etc all saved as favorites in my Garmin in case I or the campground or reservation system messes up. The world will probably still go on lol

 

John T

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