Hands-down, if you want to spend time in Yosemite, you should stay in Yosemite. But I convinced myself that a long weekend at Autocamp’s new Yosemite site would be “research” on trailer living. Autocamp wasn’t really ready for prime time -- still under construction and they definitely have plenty of details to work out if they want to keep charging so much for a night at a trailer park. But my guess is that people will flock there anyway because Airstreams are adorable and also, the ‘gram.
(I kid you not: people brought their own rugs/chairs/sheepskins, etc. to set up outside the airstreams for photos. They actually staged their trailer site for Instagram. So… yeah).
Whether you are testing the waters of trailer-life or you are an tech hipster turned wannabe influencer, if you have made your way to Autocamp in Midpines, here is how I would recommend spending a weekend there:
You’re going to want to maximize your time in Yosemite where it is very, very beautiful. Bring your own big cooler of food (the trailer mini fridge is legit “mini”), your own charcoal for cooking (the bespoke burlap bag of sawdust they provide is ok for a token fire but isn’t going to cook your meat), and plan for on-the-go meals. That means you should pack tinfoil, baggies, reusable food containers; whatever you will need to bring food with you for a full day in the park. Oh, and if you are there for more than 2 days, bring your own coarse-ground coffee for the french press (the stash in the room runs out).
Speaking of s’mores, there is a microwave in the trailer. So if it happens to be raining and your hipster burlap sawdust bag doesn’t stay lit, it is 100% possible to microwave s’mores.
Coffee (in a to-go cup for the drive to Yosemite)
Yogurt, granola & berries: this travels well and makes a great trailhead breakfast if you pre-prep in mason jars the night before
1 (or 2, no judgement) sandwiches for your hikes. In my opinion can’t go wrong with salami, cheese slices, spinach and mayo on any kind of bread. But, a PB&J can also be just the right thing when you’re sitting by a waterfall. Again, prep these the night before so you don’t waste a drop morning daylight.
Toss some extra treats in your backpack for snacking (and have some in the car for after your hike): apples, oranges, protein bars, dried fruit, and jerky all taste even better at 6,000feet
For dinner, we grilled steak and veggies (toss sliced peppers, red onion, and zucchini into a cast iron pan with olive oil and salt, maybe drizzle some balsamic reduction on there. Heck yes). AND Hot tip: we also grilled a bunch of chicken that had marinated overnight in a honey mustard sauce. We sliced up that chicken and packed it into a pita with spinach and cheese for lunch the next day. Delicious.
And duh, s’mores.
Take advantage of the fact that you’re pretty much equidistant to two different park entrances! And always, sunset in the park.
We arrived in Mariposa and were able to check in around 4 which left plenty of daylight hours to get to the Valley. It was springtime, and rainstorms were adding up to some epic waterfall volume. After bouncing around to a few obligatory spots, including the always impressive Tunnel View, we caught sunset in the Meadow and then headed back to Mariposa for the evening. It felt good to bounce over to Yosemite, even for a just a couple of hours that first night because it didn’t really feel like we were anywhere too special when we arrived in Midpines (sorry, not sorry Autocamp). It took seeing the valley to feel like the weekend had really started.
And for the afternoons, while we were kicking it before sunset, we did some more casual park-exploring up at Glacier Point and around Mariposa Grove (both places which had been closed on my previous visits).
Those are my tips for a springtime weekend based in Mariposa. Take ‘em or leave ‘em but whatever you do, always be somewhere lovely for sunset.