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!
Here are my favourite five places from the last few years of traveling.
- Mljet, Dubrovnik, Croatia
The whole holiday was awesome, but the island of Mljet is particularly beautiful. Most of it is a national park so it’s very green, we rent bikes and rode around the island until we reached a swimming lake which was a lot of fun to swim in. You do have to pay for the ferry, and to enter the national park, and to rent the bikes if you want them so it did get more costly than anticipated. Still I recommend.
Categories: Barcelona, Croatia, Death Valley, Dubrovnik, Europe, la palma, Random, USA
Tags: 5 favourite places, Europe, Holiday, Travel, Traveling, USA, Vacation
These are a bunch of the postcards I’ve collected from visits to America, as well as a few I’ve received from Canada.
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.
After the beautiful Yosemite we headed South East to Death Valley. It’s incredible the difference between the two; Yosemite was lush and green, while Death Valley was hot and dry. It was very hot!
As you can see in this picture of me outside the Furnace Creek Visitor Centre which provided some very welcome air conditioning alongside the reasonably interesting displays.
It actually got to 102 F/39 C on the second day.
The scenery was spectacular and we basically drove through the park following the main road. I can’t imagine it would be possible to explore the park without a car; it’s huge at 13,500 km sq and there aren’t any buses although companies probably run daytrips. And the heat meant I really didn’t want to be out of the car for more than a few minutes, but there aren’t really any walks anyway all the sights seemed near to the road and had parking spots.
We started at Mustard Canyon where we got some food and browsed the little shop (I wanted sweets!). Then we set off again on the main road to the sand dunes where I managed to lose the lens from my camera.
Day Two was all about salt! We started with Badwater Basin which is the lowest point in North America at 282 ft below sea level. The white section in the middle is salt, I don’t fully understand where that comes from but I believe it is pushed to the surface of the soil by small amounts of water repeatedly freezing and evaporating. There definitely wasn’t any water on the ground when we were there and after a few minutes looking at the salt, and a trip to the toilet block (one of the few in the park), we climbed back into the hot sweaty car. You are advise when entering the park to turn off your aircon to avoid overheating the engine so the breeze from the windows as we drove was the only cool air we felt.
We also went to the ‘Devil’s Golf-course’ which is another build up of salt but in such large, hard chunks that it resembles a gold-course that only the devil would play on. I think Death Valley was incredible and unique and I’m glad I went there.