5 National Parks in California

March 10, 2023

national parks in California

Whether you are looking for something as remote as Death Valley or as dramatic as Yosemite, California has a national park waiting for you. These coveted destinations are the perfect blend of nature and history.

The state’s most recent addition, Pinnacles National Park, has some of the nation’s finest spires and canyons. The giant rock walls are a favorite among hikers and climbers alike.

Redwood National Park

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Redwood National Park is home to the tallest trees in the world. It also preserves a variety of other habitats including prairie and oak woodlands, rivers and 37 miles of pristine coastline.

The park is a great place for hiking, exploring tidepools and taking in the coastal cliffs. It's also a popular film location, with scenes from Star Wars and Jurassic Park filmed here.

The first stop should be the visitor center where you can pick up a map and get tips on what to see and do. Another fantastic spot to stop is Lady Bird Johnson Grove, where you can stroll through the oldest groves of redwoods and weave above and below fallen trees on the 1.4-mile scenic trail.

Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles National Park is one of California's newest national parks, signed and protected in 2013. It's home to the endangered California Condor, prairie falcons, bats, mountain lions, wild pigs, and more.

The park's unique geological features make it a popular destination for hikers and rock climbers alike. More than 30 miles of trails connect geological formations, spectacular vistas, and wildland communities.

Visitors can enter the park from the east or west entrances. The two sides do not connect by roads, so you'll need to plan which side to explore.

Lassen Volcanic National Park

If you’re a nature lover looking for an experience unlike any other, then you’ll fall in love with Lassen Volcanic National Park. Its stark beauty, exciting hydrothermal features and activities for all seasons make it a must-visit destination!

Located only four hours from San Francisco, this California national park is home to all of the planet’s different types of volcanoes. Boiling mud pits, steam vents, roiling hot springs and bubbling sulfur mines are just some of the enticing geological wonders that await you here.

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park

With their soaring peaks, sandstone canyons and miles of caves, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are some of the most breathtaking natural wonders in California. Together they encompass 1,353 square miles of pristine wilderness and are the perfect place to reconnect with nature or escape the frantic pace of life in the city.

The parks protect one of the world's largest groves of giant sequoia trees, as well as other incredible features like deep canyons and towering mountains. There are also countless caves in the park that were formed by underground water flowing over millennia.

Point Reyes National Seashore

Located one hour north of San Francisco, Point Reyes National Seashore encompasses a watery utopia of beaches, lagoons, estuaries and ponds. Here, breakers pound remote beaches, wisps of fog wash over coastal hills, elephant seals brawl on the sand and tule elk roam in wild meadows.

Featuring evergreen forests, mountains and thousands of acres of coastal prairie, it’s also home to freshwater marshes, saltwater estuaries, wild surf and calm bays. Its diverse ecosystem is a huge draw for wildlife enthusiasts and natural history buffs alike.

The park’s unique topography is a result of the influence of the San Andreas Fault. It’s a fault that separates the Pacific Plate from the North American Plate.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is a world-famous destination that is one of the most iconic national parks in the United States. Its 761,000-acre wilderness features deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoia trees and incredible granite peaks.

The park’s natural wonders have been documented by countless artists and conservationists, including early explorer John Muir. Today, visitors from all over the world come to see this majestic and unique natural paradise.

Hiking is an excellent way to experience the beauty of the park. There are many different hiking trails that range from easy casual strolls to strenuous climbs on famous rocky mountains.


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