Yosemite is a protected wilderness area and one of the first national parks in the world. It has mountains, rivers, waterfalls and giant sequoia woods. The giant sequoia is the largest, heaviest tree on earth and definitely impressive if you want to take a look. Yosemite is mostly known for Yosemite Valley, a valley created by glaciers with granite walls. The two most recognizable walls are called Half Dome and El Capitan (a name which you may recognize from the MacBook software update).
Located only 5 miles from the west entrance of Yosemite National Park is the Yosemite Lakes RV Resort. The Tuolumne River runs through this campsite, where you can swim and fish. If you camp with a tent, there are special boxes for your food to keep the bears away. Yes bears, your read that right. You have to be really careful with your food in Yosemite, as there are hundreds of black American bears in this area that have a big appetite. Hide your food, not only for your own safety but also for the bears. If bears get human food often, they lose their fear of people and often have to be killed to protect people.
There is a lot to do in Yosemite. Most people visit Yosemite Valley, where you can bike, swim, hike, climb and make beautiful photos. Hike the popular but short Mist Trail to the Nevada Falls or go hiking all day and pick a day-trail, whom mostly lead to waterfalls. If you’re into horses your can go horseback riding and if you don’t want to move much, you can go picnicking at one of the many picnic tables (but watch out for the bears)!
While the Bryce Canyon is maybe a bit less famous then the Grand Canyon, it’s just as beautiful. Bryce Canyon is known for its geological rock formations, also called Hoodoos. It’s because of the freezing and unfreezing in the winter that these beautiful rock formations arise. There is nothing like Bryce Canyon, and you have to see it with your own eyes. Despite its name, Bryce Canyon is not a canyon but a natural occurring amphitheatre. The colours are mostly orange, red and white with dark green trees. There’s a visitor centre where you can find information, maps, souvenirs and books about Bryce Canyon and watch an award-winning short movie of 22 minutes.
Queens Garden hiking trail
If you are staying for just one day, you can stroll along the rim or hike a short trail into the canyon. Going in gives you the opportunity to see the rock formations and beautiful colours up close. You can really experience Bryce Canyon when going in. Another option is driving to a viewpoint like Sunrise, Sunset, Bryce or Inspiration to see some dramatic views.
Ruby’s Inn RV Park and campground is located less than a kilometre from the entrance of the National Park if you want to stay more then one day. There is tons of things to do in and around Bryce Canyon. You can spend a day driving to Rainbow Point and stop at 13 viewpoints on your way back. Take a guided ATV tour, rent a mountain bike, take a run along the rim or visit the Rodeo just outside the camping. If you have some money to spare, you can book a helicopter flight over the canyon. Bryce Canyon is also very magical when snow covers the orange-red rocks in the winter. You can always come back for Bryce Canyon in your Christmas break.
The Grand Canyon is probably one of the most famous phenomena in America. You can imagine what it looks like or look at photos, but that’s nothing compared to the real thing. The Grand Canyon is a very broad and deep canyon, created by the Colorado River running through it for millions of years. The Colorado River erodes approximately 16 cm per 1000 years. You can imagine how much time it took to form a canyon so deep. The deepest parts of the canyon are located around 1.8 kilometres below the edge.
After you’ve taken in how big the Grand Canyon is, you’ll notice the colours. The primary colour of the canyon is reddish, but if you look close, you can see green, grey, brown, violet and even delicate pink. The best time to take in all these colours is therefore after sunrise or at sunset. Ten-X campground makes it easy to check out the sunrise or sunset, laying only 6,5 kilometres from the south rim of the canyon. This is a perfect place to stay the night with your RV or tent.
You can rent a horse to get down the canyon.
One of the Havasupai Falls.
If you want to see more, you can go down into the canyon to Havasupai. An Indian American tribe called the Havasupai (meaning: people of the blue green waters) has been living here for over 800 years. They are the original guarders of the Grand Canyon and live in the Supai Village, close to the Havasupai falls: five beautiful blue and green coloured waterfalls plunging from the red walls of the canyon into a pool below. To get to Havasupai you have to hike 16-kilometre down the canyon and it’s not easy, but it’s totally worth it. Take your own camping gear with you or make a reservation at Havasupai lodge. You sleep amongst the tribe in this lodge, but you have to book months in advance.
Two totally different deserts come together in Joshua Tree National Park, which is what characterizes this piece of nature. In the southeast lies the low-laying Colorado Desert while the higher and colder Mohave Desert lies in the west. There are not many areas that illustrate the contrast between high and low desert like this National Park. Not like the name does occur, a Joshua tree is actually a plant from the Yucca family. The Joshua tree is very characteristic; it’s almost 900 years old and it can get pretty high (12 metres).
Besides the Joshua tree, the park is also known for its big solid rocks, which are fragmented in separate pieces. If you like to do a bit of rock-climbing or bouldering, there’s more then 8000 climbing routes in this park! If you’re not the rock-climbing type, go to the Black Rock Canyon area. Multiple hiking trails go from here, like the Hi-View Nature Trail. Try to spot some wildlife; mountain lions have been spotted in this area.
You can drive your RV or take your tent to the Joshua Tree Lake RV and Campground to stay the night. The campground lies just above the west side of the park and offers “panoramic views of the North face of Joshua Tree Park, exceptional desert vistas and spectacular night skies”. But it’s not only this campground where you can gaze at the stars. The night sky above Joshua Tree Park is a stunning one. Many people see the Milky Way for the first time in their lives here. “It’s a glittering dome peppered with stars, planets, and passing meteors,” says the National Park Service.