Bots prompted improvements, campers still scramble for Yosemite sites

Yosemite National Park and the California Parks System have both taken action to make their campsite reservation process more fair after getting complaints in recent years about the system being rigged by tech-savvy bookers, making it hard for campers to get a reservation.

Reservations for Yosemite campsites sell out immediately online five months in advance.    

Tuesday, reservations were opened up for 450 campsites on the Valley floor and they sold out immediately for the new dates in September and October.

Yosemite Park officials, along with the California State Parks system, both say they've made changes in recent years after people illegally used computer programs to snag reservations, only to sell them later.

"It became increasingly more problematic that people were doing computer programs, these bots, that they were buying up campsites when they became available," said Scott Gediman, Yosemite National Park Spokesman.

Even with new measures in place for the past three years, Gediman says the “reservable” campsites still book up immediately however now he says it's legitimate and simply because of the park's popularity.

"The demand for campsites in Yosemite far exceeds the supply," said Gediman.

Gediman says there are some first-come, first-serve spots that open up for campers more flexible with their dates, saying mid-week is in less demand than the weekends.