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-   -   yosemite vs. grand canyon ? (https://www.fodors.com/community/united-states/yosemite-vs-grand-canyon-807714/)

Denisem03 Sep 25th, 2009 09:46 AM

yosemite vs. grand canyon ?
 
Hi I am thinking of planning a trip in the beginning of April to either yosemite or the grand canyon. I will be traveling in a motorhome and was wondering if anyone had any opinions of what would be better in April?

Denisem03 Sep 25th, 2009 09:53 AM

I should propably mention that I have never been to either place and Iam traveling with kids. Not sure if that would make any difference. Thanks

montereybob Sep 25th, 2009 10:03 AM

I don't know about the Canyon, but April is a perfect month to go to Yosemite. The falls will be full, the weather mild, and less crowds than in the summer. The Lodge in the Valley fills up months in advance --- so make reservations ASAP.

dfr4848 Sep 25th, 2009 10:19 AM

2 outstanding places, but with motorhome and kids I'd probably pick GC. Shouldn't be as crowded as early summer and you're also likely to get better weather. Yosemite in early April can be iffy with a chance of snow and not all of the entrances will probably be open, though it does vary. Not sure that's the time of year to be there will a motorhome.

PaulRabe Sep 25th, 2009 11:40 AM

Since it'll be April, I also recommend The Canyon. Weather in the Sierras at that time is still iffy, even in the Valley, and roads to two of the park's best places -- Glacier Point and Tuolumne -- will still be closed.

www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/seasonal.htm

Weather in Canyon Country, however, will be just about ideal.

Rest assured that EITHER park is a great place to go to at ANY time of the year.

spirobulldog Sep 25th, 2009 12:38 PM

Both are don't miss.
Yosemite offers far more to do however. If you don't plan on hiking, taking a helicopter tour, rafting,then there really isn't a lot to do at the GC other than a lot of overlooks. All of the overlooks are fantastic but start to look alike after a few of them. Yosemite offers much more to do in the way of hiking,driving, rafting, etc. Both are WOW factors on the view. If you have just a few days, then GC might be better choice.

janisj Sep 25th, 2009 12:56 PM

You'll be traveling in a motorhome -- from where?

Both are great but a LOT would depend on where you'd have to drive from to get there . . . . .

All things being equal - like driving distance, etc - I'd choose Yosemite simply because there is so much to see/do and the waterfalls would be massive at that time of year.

emalloy Sep 25th, 2009 01:08 PM

I'd go to Grand Canyon, when we went to Yosemite in April a couple of years ago, the roads to the upper areas were not open and all that was available was the valley and it was very crowded. You could make a loop and go up to Page, visit Antelope canyon, take a smooth water raft ride on the colorado river, check out Glen Canyon dam, Lake Powell.

Denisem03 Sep 25th, 2009 03:11 PM

We are traveling from southern california.

azzure Sep 25th, 2009 03:36 PM

High country in Yosemite will not be open; however there MIGHT still be spring skiing/snow play at Badger Pass. Valley should be beautiful and falls will be roaring.

Of the two, I much prefer Yosemite...it's my favorite NP. But GC might make more sense in April. I find it way too hot and crowded in summer.

enzian Sep 25th, 2009 07:55 PM

A couple of points---it is a lot easier to reserve a campsite for your RV at the Grand Canyon than in Yosemite Valley. Even in April, the campgrounds might sell out on the day they open up reservations, or soon thereafter. For the beginning of April, you would reserve on November 15.

Grand Canyon has, in addition to the regular campground with no hookups (Mather), a "trailer village" that does offer hookups. You reserve a spot there through Xanterra.

There are showers available for a fee at both campgrounds (in Yosemite, at Curry Village).

Yosemite is one of my favorite places in the world, but even in April it is full, especially over spring break. You can get away from the crowds by hiking, but you'll have to go several miles. And as mentioned, since the high country is not open, everyone is pretty concentrated in the Valley.

As far as weather---it can be cold and snowy at the Grand Canyon in April. The South Rim is at 7,000 feet, and April snowstorms are not uncommon. We had 6" of snow on April 10, 2007, as we were hiking up out of the canyon. It was beautiful . . . but I was glad we had a hotel room. I wouldn't want to be camping in that.

May I offer an alternative suggestion? Consider Zion. It is sort of a combination of the two---a valley like Yosemite, but smaller, and with red cliffs and rocks. It feels more "accessible" than the Grand Canyon, which is so huge it is difficult to appreciate unless you hike down into it.

At Zion, you are staying in the bottom of the canyon looking up, not at the top looking down as you do at Grand Canyon. There is a free shuttle the length of the canyon so you wouldn't be driving your motorhome around. There are lovely short walks, suitable for kids, as well as more challenging ones. Lots of wildlife--you'll see deer and wild turkeys in the morning and evening; we've also seen a condor, and a giant tarantula! For older kids, there is also a very fun walk IN the river, which may be possible in April--check at Zion Adventure Company. It depends on the water flow and whether there ha been recent rain in the country above.

spirobulldog Sep 26th, 2009 03:31 AM

Enzian has a nice idea with Zion.

Surfergirl Sep 26th, 2009 05:54 PM

I've been to both as a child (at 12) and back to Yosemite about 30 times. My husband's first trip to the Grand Canyon was a few months ago, and I warned him that it was kind of like seeing the Mona Lisa the first time. You get all hyped up about it, the splendor, the rapture, etc. But as a child, I distinctly recall going there, getting out of the car, me and my sister looking down and across the great expanse, saying oooh and ahh, then turning to my mother and saying "now what do we do?"

My husband returned to L.A. and said "you're right".

With Yosemite, however, for a kid (as well as adults), there is a LOT to do after you pass through the tunnel and get the initial ooohs and ahhhs over with, even in April, when it will be too cold to spend time swimming or rafting in the Merced. Biking (they rent bikes), hiking, walking, traveling around in the free shuttles, communing with nature, running down to the water and sticking your feet in it to see how cold it really is, watching the deer, the racoons, the bear (sometimes). Plus, it's a lot safer, I think, for kids.

roguemckenzie Sep 26th, 2009 06:09 PM

surfergirl you are so right!! We took our kids to GC in the 80's and we all looked at it and thought, yup, looks just like the postcard, got back in the car and drove away. Went back with a friend last December and we both agreed it was nice, but there is nothing else to do once you have seen it! We came home from AZ 3 days early. Yosemite is great for kids and families, so much to do!

spirobulldog Sep 27th, 2009 04:50 AM

SG and Rogue,

My parents did the same thing with me. However, I rafted the GC 20 years later and discovered there is plenty to do. Hiking down in to the canyon, even for just a mile, is different than taking a peek over the rim. That said, I totally agree with what you are saying, Yosemite has 100 options while the GC is limited with 3 or 4.

janisj Sep 27th, 2009 07:22 AM

If the GC was one small part of a larger tour of SW parks -- Zion, Bryce, Monument Valley, whereever - it would be great.

But just GC or YNP -- IMO, Yosemite would be better hands down . . .

okoshi2002 Sep 27th, 2009 08:23 AM

I am trying to remember whether I have ever seen a motorhome within Yosemite-those roads within the valley are so narrowing and winding ?

With a motorhome and young children maybe a "road" trip from south CA to GC, Zion, Bryce and maybe even Monument Valley ?
Isn't that the beauty of a motorhome-that you can move from place to place easily ?

When you are ready to pitch a tent with the kids, Yosemite, when Tioga Road is open, would be a great destination.

janisj Sep 27th, 2009 08:28 AM

Unless you are talking a massive motorhome, you'd have no trouble driving it to/in Yosemite Valley. Once in the Valley there are shuttle buses so no need to drive it around every day.

Denisem03 Sep 27th, 2009 08:38 AM

Thank You all so much for all the advice. I think we are gonna do the yosemite trip. We might just stay outside park and drive in. Still looking into that.

enzian Sep 27th, 2009 08:50 AM

The roads in and out of the Valley are narrow and curvy. Why not try for a reservation at one of the campgrounds in the Valley?

November 15 is the day the early April reservations open up. Go to www.recreation.gov now, register, and practice using the website. Then log on just before 7:00 am on November 15 and reserve a campsite--one suitable for your size motorhome.


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