Visit National Parks on trips to California
Trips to California are so common as prizes listed on AussieContests that we thought we need to share some holiday ideas to make the choice easier. Usually, national parks are not the main destination in these US trips but if you get to stay in places like Hollywood or Las Vegas there is many parks worth visiting relatively nearby.
- Yosemite National Park Yosemite Valley is a great national park that you can reach by car from Los Angeles, San Francisco or Las Vegas. The big attractions are giant rock formations, clear rivers and enormous trees. Not the tallest in North America (those are further in in Northern California) but really quite impressive red woods. One thing you should not miss is the warning signs regarding the water. It looks really fresh but the park is known for having some bacteria even in flowing water that makes drinking it a hazard. The other thing is Half Dome. This a a huge mountain of monolithic rock that has the shape of half a pumpkin and towers of the other rock formations in the park. You can climb it in different ways. For real mountaneers you take it head on but for the rest of us there is a still challenging trail that is cable-protected and takes a full day to master. One is about 7 kilometers in length but it goes up all the time really. Once on the top you get rewarded with views of El Capitan, Sentinel Rock and Cathedral Spires, the other big rocks. You also get to see the Nevada and Vernal Falls during the climb. Alterntatively, you can drive up Glacier Point with your own car and take in the scenary from there. By the way, Yosemite is pronounced Yoh-seh-meh-tee, do not make it sound like Vegemite.
- Grand Canyon The Grand Canyon is not too far from Las Vegas. In fact competitions with trips to Vegas as prize often include a helictopter flight or other excursion to the Canyon. And indeed it is a spectacular sight from the air. One of the most dramatic formation is the North Rim's Cape Royal. A giant natural arch of stone that is on top of a bend in the Grand Canyon. From Cape Royal you get a fantatstic view of the layers of different red and yellow stone into which the Canyon was carved over ten thousands of years. The South Rim is the southern part of the 115 kilometers long Grand Canyon. It is much lower and has less greenery than the North Rich which is forested and a place to see wild flowers blooming in spring and summer. If you happen to get on a trip to Las Vegas that does not include a visit of the Canyon already you should organize this lifetime experience yourself.
- Death Valley With your own transport you can visit this park on the way from Hollywood to Las Vegas or vice versa. The main road is just a straight stretch that crosses the entire length of the Valley. Bring lots of water both for yourself and for the radiator of your car as it will get hot. The Valley spots one of the hottest spots on earth. Contrary to first impressions Death Valley is actually not dead. There is reptile and insect fauna and whenever there is water the desert floor also turns into a flower bed. To see any of the creepy creatures you just need patience. Most of them are harmless but mind the rattle snakes. A lot of early settlers on the way to the Californian coast got lost in and around Death Valley which is a reason for its unfriendly name. One group got saved when a Joshua tree showed them the way out. With some fantasy branches of this tree do look like the arms of a man and the tree got its name after the biblical Joshua who the pious settlers believed showed them the way out. There is a Joshua Tree national park as well but you can see this species on the fringes of Death Valley as well.