California is the third largest state in the U.S. and in this beautiful state you can find all kinds of different natural wonders. California borders the Pacific Ocean on it’s West Coast and is home to deserts and cacti as well as beautiful mountains, valleys and unique trees like the California Redwoods. California has the most national parks in the U.S. as well with nine total and also offers great state parks. Here are some of the best national and state parks to visit in California.
Best National Parks in California
Yosemite National Park is located 200 miles east of San Francisco in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It’s one of the most notable national parks in the U.S. due to its beautiful 300-year-old glacier-sculpted granite cliffs, wildlife and its hiking and climbing opportunities. Yosemite is very popular for its rock climbing of the granite walls and great sight seeing and hiking that brings in more than 4 million visitors per year. Yosemite is a year-round attraction for visitors with hiking, rafting and fishing in the summer months and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing popular in the winter months. Hike up to Glacier Point, one of the highest and most popular spots in the park for sightseeing or explore the Half Dome, another very popular spot in the park especially for experienced cable climbers. There are endless natural wonders to enjoy in Yosemite National Park.
Death Valley National Park is located in Eastern California and stretches over the border of Nevada. It’s a rugged desert region of California that can be very hot in the summer months, making the spring and fall times or even the winter the best times to visit. Dante’s View is the most popular spot in the park, located on the north side of Coffin Peak in the Black Mountains that offers the best view of Death Valley from nearly 1,700 meters up. There are stunning viewpoints throughout the park of the desert valleys like Zabriskie Point as well and make sure to check out Titus Canyon, Artist’s Drive, the Ubehebe Crater, Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Mosaic Canyon and more. It’s truly a great natural wonder and worth checking out.
Lassen Volcanic National Park boasts a beautiful volcanic park in California where the famous Lassen Peak is located, the world’s largest volcanic dome at 10,462 feet. The volcano erupted in 1915, and since then the park was created to preserve the area for future study and exploration. There are over 150 miles of trails where visitors can explore the grounds of the hardened lava and many volcanic features. It’s popular in the winter among those who enjoy snowshoeing and cross country skiing as it’s subjected to large snowfalls. If exploring the trails, make sure to check out features like the Sulphur Works and the Bumpass Hell Trail, active hypothermal areas of the park. There are all kinds of expeditions and excursions to go on in the summertime and definitely take advantage of the special opportunities offered by the park.
Sharing a border and just southeast of Yosemite are Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks where you can visit both at the same time. The parks are some of the most unique and amazing sights in the world known for the world’s largest trees and vast mountains, deep canyons and caverns as well. Sequoia holds five of the 10 largest trees in the world by volume, but not as tall as the Redwoods. Get lost in the Giant Forest where you’ll encounter huge trees including the General Sherman, with it’s trunk having a diameter of 25 feet. Also check out Mount Whitney, which runs through both parks and can be explored on the John Muir Trail. In Kings Canyon, you’ll find the Kings River and the south fork of the San Joaquin River as well as Kings Canyon, which is one of the deepest in North America and it offers great views from the surrounding cliffs and peaks.
Pinnacles National Park, protecting a stunning and unique mountainous region in Central California, was formed 23 million years ago after erupted volcanoes shaped the peaks and valleys of the region. Visitors find amazing, picturesque rock formations and rock walls in this beautiful landscape. Hikers can travel through the grasslands, woodlands, canyons, caves and the amazing natural rock formations offered by the park. In the park, visitors can also view stunning bird wildlife as the Pinnacles are home to endangered California Condors, Peregrine Falcons and Golden Eagles. Aside from exploring the caves, there are also 32 miles of hiking trails to explore as well, making the Pinnacles a great destination site for any lover of the natural world.
The Redwood National and State Parks in Northern California are home to the world’s tallest trees and are an amazing, once in a lifetime sight to see. You can see the Hyperion, the world’s tallest living tree at nearly 380 feet tall. You can explore all kinds of trails through these forests, the most notable trails are the Ladybird Johnson Grove trail and Tall Trees Grove trail which are walking trails where you will probably spend most of the time looking straight up at the stunning trees in front of you.
This article was written by Cameron Lafontaine.