I visited Yosemite and Death Valley National Park in April and loved them both. I really recommend them both but it pays to do your research before you go. Yosemite is 3000 kmsq but Death Valley is 13,500 kmsq (which is huge! About the same size as the Bahamas, or Luxembourg and Lebanon put together). Yosemite is lush and green, with mountains, waterfalls, and walks, Death Valley is hot with desert, dunes, and a borax museum (if you’re interested!).
Here are some of my top tips if you’re planning to visit to Yosemite or Death Valley:
- Check the season! Yosemite is still in ‘winter’ until mid-April at the earliest which means that the main road through the park is closed until then when they plough the remaining snow. You can still visit Yosemite Valley, however, which is what we did.
- Check the weather! Related to my first point but it’s important to know what weather to expect. Yosemite might have been in ‘winter’ still but Death Valley was over 100 F in April. Take layers of clothing in Yosemite as the temperatures can change, and sun block and water to both Yosemite and Death Valley. Facilities are separated by huge distances so make sure you take water everywhere!
- Check your car! I don’t drive so I can’t give car advice but check the engine/battery/brakes/fuel etc before you set off. Make sure you fuel up before you enter the parks, there are fuel stops but they’re miles apart and breaking down in Death Valley in particularly could actually get you killed as you are forced to walk miles in the sun looking for help.
- Take a map! And I mean a paper map! Although sat nav or a phone map might be preferable you can’t rely on internet and phone signal or your sat nav to work properly.
- I feel like I might be scaring you off! Here are some of the good things you can see: Tunnel View, Yosemite falls (in spring) and the little walk to Mirror Lake (which is beautiful) at Yosemite. And Badwater Basin (the lowest point in North America) and the incredible scenery in Death Valley.