I loved Yosemite and Death Valley, they’re both huge National Parks, with lots to see, so I thought I’d do a comparison post with some of their key differences.
Firstly the weather! We visited both parks in April only a few days apart but the temperature was so different you feel like your in another country. In Yosemite we could only visit Yosemite Valley in the centre of the park as they don’t start clearing the snow from the main road through the park until mid-April. There were still mounds of snow on the side of the road as we drove through, but it was actually a really nice sunny day about (20 Celsius/ 68 Fahrenheit I’m guessing). Death Valley, however, was at least 38 Celsius/ 102 Fahrenheit. Definitely no snow!
It would be disingenuous to say there was nothing growing in Death Valley, there are pupfish in Salt Creek that you can take a peek at, as well as scrubland in most places. But nothing to compare to the giant Redwood trees in Yosemite. Yosesmite is lush, beautiful, and green, Death Valley has a vast desert landscape that’ll knock your socks off.
We had a car and basically just drove through Death Valley, there are very few stopping of places to get drinks or more gas, so you have to take advantage of them when you get there. You definitely don’t want to break down in DV as there is no way you could walk to shelter before, you know, dying. In Yosemite, we could only visit the valley as the other road wasn;t open but we still have plenty to see and there were a few little shops and an Ansel Adams museum. Adams was an amazing photographer who championed the National Park system.
And my final difference is the topography…I mean the hilliness…Yosemite is full of mountains which Death Valley was flat. Well it’s not exactly flat but I remember lots of flat open expanses. And Badwater Basin is the lowest point in North America at 282ft below sea level (that’s me there with the sign).