Curry Village or Camp Curry is a unique and historic accommodation in the heart of Yosemite Valley. What started as a small enterprise of seven tents by Jennie (Mother Curry) and David Curry in 1899 has grown into a small village of over 400 canvas tent cabins, 18 standard motel rooms, and 60 cabins with shared or private baths. Out of these, the tent cabins remain the most popular option as they retain the essence of the original Curry Village tents offering affordable park accommodations. These tents lie in between a campground and a lodge on a scale of comfort and facilities. This post will tell you everything you need to know to have a memorable stay in these tents under the incredible views of Half Dome and Glacier Point.
My favorite thing about Curry Village is the elevated camping experience it offers in the middle of nature. You just need to step out of the cabin to see the iconic granite cliffs and mountaintops that define Yosemite. The iconic Half Dome sunset view is less than a 5-minute walk away and you only need to crane your neck to see the surreal, glittering night sky. It doesn’t get any better than this!
I sighted a pair of shining green eyes (most likely belonging to a coyote) in the nearby woods while heading to the restroom in the darkness. The next morning, my husband and I saw a coyote trotting up the mountain behind our tent. Another time, we woke up to a Curry Village employee making noise to send a bear back into the forest. All of these are important reminders that even though you might be in one of the most developed parts of Yosemite National Park, you are still on the edge of the wilderness.
An added appeal of staying in Curry Village is the community vibe. I had more interactions with my neighbors than I would in a traditional hotel. When you share meals in a large communal pavilion and gather in the same spaces, there are more opportunities to engage with fellow travelers. You learn to offer and ask for help without inhibitions in such a setting which deepens your travel experience. Conversations were organic and easy while waiting for food, giving directions, or sharing trail recommendations.
Here are 13 frequently asked questions about staying in Curry Village based on my recent experience. I hope these will help you decide if this place is the right fit for you to explore Yosemite National Park.
What types of accommodations are available in Curry Village?
There are three main types of accommodations in Curry Village – canvas tent cabins, wooden cabins, and standard motel rooms. None of the rooms have TV or phones allowing us to disconnect and immerse ourselves in the natural surroundings.
Tent cabins – The tent cabins are made of wooden frames covered in canvas and feature wooden floors and doors. You can get heated or unheated tents. Heat is turned off the Friday before Memorial Day and turned on the Tuesday after Labor Day. The beds come in various combinations like 1 double bed, 2 single beds, 1 double plus 2 single beds, and 1 double plus 3 single beds to accommodate anywhere from 1-5 guests. The showers and bathrooms are shared.
Standard Rooms – Standard rooms at Stoneman Cottage come with private baths, daily housekeeping, lighting, and heating. They consist of one or two double beds.
Wooden cabins – Wooden cabins come either with a private or shared bath option. The bedding options include 1 double bed, 1 double bed plus 1 single bed, or 2 double beds. They have heating, lighting, and an outdoor patio or deck area.
I loved staying in a heated tent and highly recommend it. These tents are slightly more expensive than their unheated counterparts but still remain one of the most affordable park lodging options. They have an electrical outlet that comes in very handy to charge your electronics for multi-day stays. Here’s the link to book Curry Village lodging.
Can I select my tent in Curry Village?
No, you cannot select the exact tent for your stay. However, you can share your preferences during check-in. The staff is super friendly and will try to accommodate your preferences, if possible, based on availability. We were able to get a tent on the outskirts away from the hubbub of the main dining area by waiting a bit longer. It’s worthwhile to review the Curry Village map and familiarize yourself with the layout in advance.
What does a canvas tent in Curry Village provide?
A Curry Village canvas tent includes everything you need for a simple and comfortable stay in Yosemite Valley. Bear lockers are located right outside the tent to store all your food and scented items. The tent is made of canvas and wood with small, adorable windows cut out in the cloth. These can be opened and closed by pulling on attached ropes. There’s a small light bulb in the center of the ceiling.
The beds feature metal frames with comfortable spring mattresses, bedsheets, and warm blankets. Additional linen can be requested at the front desk. Towels are provided in the room as well as at the shower houses.
The heated tents come with an electrical heater that is very helpful on cold mountain nights (runs from Labor Day to Memorial Day). It also features an electrical outlet that you can use with a USB charger cube to charge multiple small electronics.
Metal shelves and hooks allow you to comfortably unpack and store your clothing. Wooden chairs are also provided inside the cabin.
Does Curry Village have showers?
Yes, Curry Village has shared showers for its residents. There are three shower houses, one next to the swimming pool, another in the 500s area, and a third in the 1100s area. The showers are equipped with body wash and a shampoo-conditioner combo so you don’t need to carry any toiletries if you prefer to travel light.
The showers are closed for cleaning twice a day but the cleaning times are staggered so you always have access to a shower house. Mornings and evenings are usually peak times for showers.
Do you need sleeping bags for Curry Village?
It depends on the time of the year and whether you opt for a heated or unheated cabin. We stayed in a heated cabin at the end of September and didn’t need any sleeping bags. A bed sheet and a blanket were provided for every bed. Additional blankets and linen are available on request. The heater and blanket were more than sufficient for keeping us warm on the cool nights and mornings. However, if you are taking an unheated cabin in fall, winter or spring then it would be good to bring one along.
What is the size of the bear lockers in Curry Village?
Every tent cabin has a bear locker located right outside it. The size of the locker depends on the size of the cabin. The smaller tents of 3 or fewer people have a locker that is 20.5 inches deep by 35.5 inches wide by 23 inches high (52 cm x 90 cm x 58 cm). The larger tents have a locker that’s 20.5 inches deep by 47.5 inches wide by 23 inches high (52 cm x 120 cm x 58 cm).
Remember to store not just your food but any scented items like toiletries, coolers, and trash inside the locker at all times. The locker needs to be closed, latched, and preferably padlocked.
Are there electrical outlets in a Curry Village cabin tent?
The heated cabins come with one electrical outlet as I’d mentioned earlier. I’d highly recommend getting a USB multi-port power plug that allows you to charge multiple small devices like phones, kindles, and cameras at the same time. If you are staying in an unheated tent, head over to the Guest Lounge which features ample seating and electrical outlets.
What should I bring to Curry Village Yosemite?
I’d recommend bringing the following items along to make your stay more comfortable:
Flashlight or headlamp – It gets really dark after sundown so you will need a flashlight or headlamp to make your way to the restrooms or showers.
Earplugs – Noise travels easily through the cloth tents, especially in the quiet nighttime. Quiet hours are between 10 pm and 6 am, but you want to be prepared for some level of noise, especially on weekends and during peak season.
Sandals – Waterproof sandals are a wise choice during showers and walks to the restroom and around the village.
Padlock – Bear lockers need to be closed and latched properly at all times. It is helpful to use a padlock for additional protection from bears and for the safety of your personal belongings.
Multi-port USB charger – This was one of the most useful purchases we made prior to the trip. A multi-port charger allows you to use the same electrical socket to charge more than one item.
Reading material – Evenings in Curry Village are a relaxing and usually quiet time, especially during the off-season. The lack of internet connectivity is an opportunity to go old school and engage in some deep reading or journaling. Be sure to load your e-readers with digital copies or carry books as a fun way to spend your evenings.
Cards or board games – Groups and families might enjoy playing a game or two when you’re not exploring the outdoors. Please keep the quiet hours in mind (between 10 pm and 6 am) to avoid disturbing your neighbors while you’re having fun.
Hiking gear – Yosemite National Park has incredible beauty and one visit to the park is enough to know why it is such a popular destination with national and international tourists. Riding the shuttle or driving around in a car gives you a feel of the park, but there’s nothing more satisfying than exploring it on your own two feet. Don’t forget to bring appropriate footwear like hiking boots and poles to walk along stunning trails, including a few at a walking distance from Curry Village.
Water containers – There is potable water throughout Curry Village including the bathrooms so you can refill your bottles anywhere. There are water refill stations like one located right next to the grocery/gift shop. Make sure to bring reusable water bottles and hydration packs that you can carry along on your hikes.
Is there Wifi and cell coverage in Curry Village?
There is very limited cell coverage in Yosemite National Park. Remember to carry maps, paper reservations, and other planning material with you rather than relying on online information. The Guest Lounge is supposed to have Wifi but it was pretty spotty. We had more luck connecting to the Wifi near the Front Office where you check in.
Where do I keep my valuables in a Curry Village tent?
Every tent includes a safe but it is currently deactivated as they are in the process of getting replaced. In the meantime, you can store any valuables in your room and lock the room when you’re away.
What are the dining options in Curry Village?
There are a good number of dining options available in and around Curry Village. Start off the day with a hot breakfast of eggs, pancakes, oatmeal, or croissants at the Seven Tents Pavillion. Pair that with a freshly brewed Peet’s coffee. Grab-and-go lunch is available here from 11 am to 3 pm. The pavilion remains open during dinnertime so you can bring your pizza or bar food and enjoy the spacious communal dining hall experience. There’s also a separate Peet’s coffee corner open from 6:30 am to 11 am if you’re only looking for a caffeine fix in the mornings.
One of my favorite restaurants in all of Yosemite is the Pizza Deck located right in Curry Village. You can opt for a signature pizza with preselected toppings or build a custom pizza of your own. The crust is perfect, not too thick and neither thin. It is crisp at the bottom with a well-raised top.
Meadow Grill next door offers sandwiches, burgers, and salads including vegetarian options. They close after summer for the year so we didn’t get a chance to try them at the end of September.
Bar 1899 offers unique cocktails, beers on tap, wines plus a small but delectable selection of food plates. The vegetarian tacos and chicken wings were very flavorful and well-spiced.
The Ahwahnee Bar and Dining Room are an easy 30-minute walk away from Curry Village if you are looking for a more upscale experience. Other options in the Valley include the Base Camp eatery food court, Degnan’s Deli and Loft, Mountain Room, and Village Grill.
Where can I buy groceries and supplies in Curry Village?
The Curry Village Gift and Grocery Store is located right next to Meadow Grill and carries a wide variety of snacks, ready-to-eat meals, firewood, and beverages. You can also shop for souvenirs like postcards, jewelry, t-shirts, and magnets at this store. There is an aisle of medicines and toiletries so you don’t need to worry if you’ve left something behind.
One great offering of this store is that it has a microwave and hot water dispenser near the entrance. Cooking is not permitted in Curry Village. So, purchasing some ready-to-eat meals, heating them up right there, and enjoying them on the deck outside is a great alternative to keep costs down.
What are some other amenities in Curry Village?
Visitors can enjoy a swimming pool in the summer months and an ice rink in the winter months in Curry Village. The Guest Lounge has a wrap-around porch with beautiful rocking chairs and an indoor area with a foosball table and a 4-in-a-row connect game. There is a bike rental to explore the valley on two wheels, a mountain shop for last-minute gear purchases, and a mountaineering school for climbing lessons and guided hikes.
That covers all the highlights and FAQs for an amazing stay in Curry Village. We just returned from our week-long stay and the place far exceeded my expectations. It certainly helps to visit Yosemite Valley outside of the peak season when there are fewer people. You don’t spend time standing in lines or maneuvering your way around crowds and instead, get to soak in all the spectacular beauty of the park.
What are your thoughts on Curry Village? Please don’t hesitate to ask anything else you’d like to know about the place. I’ll do my best to answer them.
Stayed once. Never again. Was told quite time at 10:00pm till 7:00am. Rangers actually enforced the 10:00pm but somehow they were not around at 4:00am when the hikers going to Half Dome decide to leave making sure everyone knows they are leaving.