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  1. Default x'mas trip planning, need help

    we are in southern CA, planning a trip on xmas break(about 4 days). destination needs to be within 10 hours' driving range. so, we are thinking about yosemite. (do you have other suggestions?) i got a couple of questions to ask:
    1, should we stop by death valley np or kings canyon np? will they be similar to yosemite? even we stop by, we won't spend more than 1 day. will this make the tour exhausted?
    2, is it a good time to visit yosemite? we do not want to ski this year, but we prefer to see some snow and feel cold. will a lot road's closing make the trip boaring/not worth going?
    3, we are thinking to tour mono lake or mammoth lake. which is better? if not skiing, is that worth going?
    4, where is better to lodge? any suggestion? do we definitely need to reserve in advance? anyway to save $$, like bid online? we do not even mind to stay a little far from the park...

    sorry we are not American and have not been here very long that's why we need help. this is our first time trip planning. so...
    appreciate all your help. please help

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Pick a side

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    One big thing to keep in mind is that in December, Tioga Pass will be closed, which will severely limit your ability to cross the Sierras.

    Yosemite would be a great idea, but if you go that route, you will be limited to things on the east side of the mountains, like Sequoia/Kings Canyon. I will say that Sequoia/Kings Canyon has some similarities to Yosemite, but they are both spectacular.

    If your looking at Death Valley, Mammoth Lake, etc, then you'll probably need to stay West of the Sierra, which is fine, it just means you really wouldn't be able to do the Yosemite Valley.

    I would certainly start looking at reservations. Holiday is a peak travel time, and you really can't start looking too early if you want to stay inside the Yosemite Valley. There are also a number of small villages outside the park, within about an hour of the valley, that also have motels, but those likely also fill up quickly during this time of year. There are a whole variety of places online you can look to compare prices and availablity, including the Travel Reservations Section of The RTA Website.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default Big differences


    With just 4 days you should limit yourself to one or two places at most.

    First, Yosemite and Death Valley are a different as a cup and a saucer. Yosemite valley has steep canyon walls, waterfalls, rivers, and trees. Death Valley has broad desert landscapes with unique salt deposits, sand dunes, and starkly beautiful hill/mountain formations.

    Depending on your taste and where you come from, you might prefer one over the other.

    Yosemite gives you the best of dramatic mountain scenery. But, visiting Mammoth and Death Valley gives you a little of both environments. The lakes at Mammoth are more typical in that they have trees and mountains around them. Mono Lake is very different in that it has few trees, and is in a wide open area. And it is almost too far north to visit on a 4 day trip.

    Reservations in Yosemite are very difficult to get during the holidays so try now to see if you can find a room in the park. If not, one of the motels outside the park. There are several, and some aren't that far away.

    In either case, you'll spend most of a day from LA to the park and another getting back, so you'll only have two days to explore and enjoy the many attractions either place has to offer.

    Happy holidays,

    Craig Sheumaker
    co-author of the travel guide: America's Living History-The Early Years

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