- Published: Thursday, 15 March 2018 13:43
- Written by Alpenglow Lights
Soaring mountains. Blazing deserts. Lush forests. California has more national parks than any other state in the country. In the third largest state, you will find ancient forests with trees you wouldn’t see anywhere else on the planet as well as some of the country’s most scenic beaches.
It would be impossible to get to all of these wonders of nature in a single visit, so to narrow down your choices, here’s a list of the best national parks in California. Many of these parks are great places to visit in your RV and don't forget to upgrade your interior overhead lights before you hit the road.
Yosemite National Park
Located 200 miles east of San Francisco, Yosemite National Park houses the tallest falls in North America, the Yosemite Great Falls, which is a huge attraction, especially in the spring when the water flow is at its peak.
Each year, over 4 million tourists visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site, and for a good reason. Yosemite National Park is internationally appreciated for its waterfalls, granite cliffs, clear streams, lakes, glaciers, giant sequoia groves, mountains, and biodiversity.
This national park is open year-round through the management of the National Park Service. It offers several outdoor activities such as rock climbing, bike rentals, rafting, horseback riding, nature walks, hiking, fishing, and wildlife watching.
Death Valley National Park
Sprawling the border of California and Nevada, the Death Valley National Park protects the northwest corner of the Mojave Desert and contains a diverse desert environment of sand dunes, canyons, valleys, salt-flats, badlands, and mountains. As the hottest, lowest, and driest national park in the United States, Death Valley has been declared as a UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve.
Also in this national park, you will find Badwater Basin, the lowest elevation in North America at 282 feet below sea level.
Dante’s View offers one of the most exceptional features of this park — the opportunity to see the highest (Mt. Whitney) and lowest (Badwater) points in the contiguous 48 states.
Death Valley National Park attracts more than a million visitors each year.
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Situated 50 miles east of Redding, CA is Lassen Volcanic National Park, which features the Lassen Peak, the largest plug dome volcano in the world. This volcano is one of the few areas in the world where all four types of volcano can be found — strato, cinder cone, shield, and plug dome. It is still active and surrounded by mud pots, putrid fumaroles, and bubbling hot springs.
Along with the Asian volcanoes Pinatubo in the Philippines, Krakatoa in Indonesia, and Mt. Fuji in Japan, Lassen is part of the Ring of Fire, a significant area in the Pacific Ocean where a large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur. But that’s not what Lassen Volcanic National Park has to offer.
This national park is a perfect destination for hiking, cross-country and backcountry skiing, and camping. You can also sign up for photography, geology or birding workshop through its seminar program.
Channel Islands National Park
Consisting of five of the eight Channel Islands in California, this national park is home to a wide variety of significant cultural and natural resources. More than 2,000 species of plants and animals can be found within Channel Islands National Park.
Though it is one of the more challenging places to reach, Channel Islands still appeals to over 300,000 visitors per year. This island destination off the coast of Santa Barbara, CA offers world-class kayaking, hiking, snorkeling, bird watching, and photography.
Sequoia National Park
Located east of Visalia, CA, Sequoia National Park contains among its natural resources, Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the neighboring 48 United States at 14,505 feet above sea level.
This national park is known for its giant sequoia trees, including the General Sherman tree, one of the largest trees on the planet which can grow up to over 250 feet high.
Each year, over a million tourists visit Sequoia National Park for its attractions that include hiking, camping, fishing, and backpacking.
Redwood National Park
Headquartered in Crescent City, CA, Redwood National Park along with the other state parks in the complex protects 45 percent of all remaining cost redwood old-growth forests. These trees are the tallest and one of the largest tree species in the world.
This national park not only offers these massive trees, but it also has the Klamath River Overlook which is a prime spot for watching migratory gray whales. Also, you can also enjoy biking, hiking, camping, and picnicking in Redwood National Park.
California protects national parks the size of West Virginia. Indeed, you will never run out of amazing places to visit in the Golden State.