Do you know how many national parks there are in the state of California? 8! For an outdoorsy person and for someone who loves nature, that’s 8 little pieces of heaven right there! If you intend on exploring the grand outdoors, here’s a list of the outstanding national parks in California which you should visit to have a time of your life.
1. Yosemite National Park:
Spread across nearly 1,200 square miles, the enchanting Yosemite National Park
is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. One of the best national parks in California, it was declared a protected reserve in the year 1864. The national park is famous world over for its cascading waterfalls, its giant sequoias and its beautiful meadows. An all season park, the Yosemite National Park can be visited in any season; besides, every season has its own charm and beauty that enthrals visitors. Trivia- Did you know that the Yosemite National Park is the birthplace of the modern conservation movement? Do explore this wild beauty on your trip to California.
Activities: Backpacking, hiking, bicycling, bird watching.
Must See: Lower Yosemite Fall and its frazil ice, Half Dome, El Capitan Meadow, Mariposa Grove, Glacier Point.
2. Channel Islands National Park:
Made up of 5 islands, the surreal Channel Islands National Park is one of the largest national parks in California. Anacapa, Santa Barbara, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz and San Miguel are the islands that make up this ecologically rich and diverse park. The marine life at the park is diverse in nature and you might even get to spot a blue whale! To preserve the ecological balance, there are no services such as eateries and gear rental shops present within the Channel Islands National Park and thus you’ll have to organize such things on your own.
Activities: Boating, camping, hiking, snorkelling, kayaking.
Must See: The Visitor Centres, Inspiration Point on Anacapa Island, Cavern Point on Santa Cruz Island, Torrey Pines on Santa Rosa Island, Point Bennett on San Miguel Island.
3. Joshua Tree National Park:
The unique and amazing Joshua Tree National Park is where two distinct desert ecosystems meet- the Colorado and the Mojave. If you are wondering where in USA will you get to see a night sky made up of a million stars, this is the place to head over to! The landscape of the Joshua Tree National Park consists of rugged mountains made up of rock, granite monoliths and a variety of plants and animals. Trivia- The park is named so because of the presence of plenty of Joshua trees within its premises.
Activities: Camping, picnicking, stargazing, photography, hiking, horseback riding.
Must See: Skull Rock, Keys View, Black Rock Canyon, Cottonwood Spring Oasis, Wonderland of Rocks.
4. Lassen Volcanic National Park:
A unique place on the national parks in California list, the Lassen Volcanic National Park is home to many volcanoes! The landscape of this national park is made up of steaming fumaroles, serene lakes, intimidating peaks, lush green meadows peppered with vivid flowers and mud pots. Note that due to the volatile nature of volcanoes, you are to stay on established trails and boardwalks, please do not be an explorer and go off track! It is for your own safety. Trivia- the Lassen Volcanic National Park is home to the largest plug dome volcano in the world. Definitely a fabulous place to plan a trip to, don’t you think?
Activities: Hiking, exploring the hydrothermal areas.
Must See: Lassen Peak, Bumpass Hell, the variety of butterflies that the park is home to.
5. Sequoia National Park:
Nicknamed ‘The land of the giants’, the Sequoia National Park is named so because of the numerous gigantic Sequoia trees that are found here. Boasting of a diverse landscape, you will get to see huge mountains, deep canyons, never-ending caves and of course, the famous trees on your visit to this charming national park. Established in the year 1890, the Sequoia National Park is also home to massive exposed granite walls, thus making it popular with rock climbing enthusiasts.
Activities: Backpacking, photography, rock climbing, picnicking, horseback riding.
Must See: General Sherman Tree, Visitor Centre and Museum, Crystal Caves.
6. Death Valley National Park:
One of the largest national parks in USA, the Death Valley National Park
is spread across an area of 5,270 square miles. The hottest national park in the nation, the landscape is made up mostly of sand dunes, canyons, valleys and salt-flats. Being one of the driest national parks, summer is probably not the best season to visit the Death Valley National Park and its best to avoid planning a visit then. A land of contrasts, this arid park turns into a snow-covered wonderland during the winters.
Activities: Backpacking, mountain biking, camping, hiking.
Must See: Golden Canyon, Artist’s Drive, Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Scotty’s Castle, Darwin Falls.
7. Kings Canyon National Park:
The enthralling Kings Canyon National Park shares its borders with the Sequoia National Park on the north. Covered in dense vegetation, if you are a nature lover, you should definitely explore this park on your visit to the state of California. Trivia- Did you know that the Kings Canyon National Park is home to one of the world’s largest living trees? The General Grant Tree is so huge that it is almost impossible to capture it in one frame on your camera!
Activities: Hiking, camping, rock climbing.
Must See: General Grant Tree, Gamlin Cabin and the Fallen Monarch, Visitor Centre and gift shop.
8. Redwood National Park:
Having a landscape made up of soaring redwoods that seem like they don’t have an end, the Redwood National Park is probably where fantasies and fairytales meet mankind! Boasting of a topography that consists of dense forests and pristine beaches, this national park in USA offers visitors the best of both worlds! While on one hand you can explore the lush green wilderness in all its elegance, you can also hit the coastal area and go Gray whale watching.
Activities: Hiking, camping, kayaking, scenic drives, bird watching, coastal walks.
Must See: Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Centre, hamlet of Klamath, High Bluff Overlook, Hidden Beach.
While visiting any of the national parks in California, please carry plenty of food and drinking water with you. Packing a bug repellent is always a good idea. Also, please ensure that you don’t disturb the delicate ecosystem of the national parks by littering around or by plucking flowers and breaking branches. For your own safety, please do not go off the designated tracks. We hope you have a magnificent time exploring the wilderness of California. Do let us know how your experience was by commenting below.
Do check out: