The vibe at Tamarack Flat Campground
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This is a GREAT camp group. We loved it! Lot's of trees and privacy (very quiet). The hike to the top of El Capitan starts from this camp group, and it's a great hike (LONG-16.8 miles), but awesome, totally worth the views. On the way we saw a black bear and her cub, which the rangers said was a rare sighting. It was scary, but awesome! The only drawback to this campsite is the entrance, you have to come down a steep dirt road with a lot of bumps, we drove our (new) Prius and we made it pretty good (no scratches), but an RV would be almost impossible. Other than that it was great!
Perfect for last minute risk takers with no reservation. Large camp, and yet miraculously quiet. Good for groups. Delighted to find both campfires and puppies were allowed. Bring your own wood in, because the land has been picked clean of kindling. We drove a Prius in too! Felt a little yuppie, but hey, there's a lot of Yosemite to explore and not a lot of gas options.
As of June 2016, the road was paved and in excellent condition, although there is still a sign that says RV's not recommended. I don't enough about RV's to confirm this. I rolled in on the Monday after Memorial day at eleven AM and campers were clearing out. Spots 1 and 2 are the quietest, with the rest of the campsites being pretty close to each other. El Cap is a solid hike out of the area, around 16.8 miles. Camp was filled for the night, so I'd recommend getting in at or before noon. There is a nice river for water that should be purified/boiled. Highly recommended spot