I have 8 days to spend in the van in the next couple weeks. I've been just about everywhere in southern CA, but somehow I haven't been to Yosemite since I was 2. I know I can Google it, but I'd like to hear some of your esoteric SMB camping spots and hikes. I'd rather stay away from the traditional camp grounds ( not sure if they are even open or available) so I know it might be outside of the park. I'll have my trusty Honda crf250L dual sport strapped on the back as my tender while camp is set up to get to trail heads.
Access to the park is limited by a lottery day pass system. I just had to drive the long way around last week because I could not drive through.
Suggest you start by researching this aspect before you make any plans.
Skip Yosemite and do a trip up the 395 After Independence it just keeps getting prettier. Hiking, fishing, hot springs, low crowds. Camping in the park is very difficult to accomplish during the peak seasons. I Early fall/ early winter is an amazing time of year for Yosemite. Summer ( maybe not as bad this year with Covid) is like visiting Disneyland.
Head due west out of Bishop up to Sabrina Lake. It is spectacular with a bunch of options for camping and hiking. Talk to some locals in Bishop about particulars. 2X on Alabama Hills as well. Head north of Bishop to Rock Creek Canyon (turn left at Tom's place) for more of the good stuff. Plenty of great country around there without going in to YNP.
We will be at Red’s Meadow on Tuesday and in the area for the rest of the week. I tried calling the Crowley Lake Fish Camp this morning with no success, will be going to visit the columns mid week, undecided if we will rent a boat or drive. Anybody know the height of the water in Crowley Lake?
You can book campsites and trailheads ahead of time on line. Two weeks prior for national parks right now. THere's plenty of surrounding wildernesses that you can call for permits day before (day of in our case) with no issues. Beasore rd out of Bass lake will have fun dirt roads on the dual sport to explore and great trailheads into some epic back country hiking. Mosquitos are tough right now. Recommend a head net!
And if you get into yosemite I'd go somewhere nice out of Tuolomne meadows. Young lakes are nice, scenic. 10 lakes basin. Both rewarding 3 day trips. GIves you some extra time to explore the area on your bike. Yosemite Valley should also get toured. Some incredible grantite all through the area. Day hike vernal/nevada falls.