9 Best National Parks in California

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best national parks in California
Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay copyright 2018

A park is a piece of natural, partially undeveloped, or planted land set aside for recreational purposes, the protection of wildlife, or both. The intended use and target audience, as well as the available land qualities, impact the park business.

1. What Are National Parks?

A region set aside by a government at the national level for the preservation of the environment. A national park may be preserved for the purposes of public enjoyment and leisure or due to its historical significance or scientific value. Many of these wonderful marvels and their flora and animals in a national park are placed in their native state. The preservation of “wild nature for posterity and as a symbol of national pride” is a shared principle, regardless of how different nations designate their own national parks.

The various types of parks differ significantly in the following ways:

  • Urban parks are exclusively located near cities for recreational purposes.
  • Green spaces like national parks are used for recreation in rural areas.
  • Green spaces used for recreation in the states and provinces include state parks and provincial parks.


9 best national parks in California
Image by đź‘€ Mabel Amber, who will one day from Pixabay copyright 2018

Western states in the US include California. On September 9, 1850, it was officially admitted as the 31st state to the union, and by the 1960s, it had overtaken all others in terms of population. The biggest city there is Los Angeles.

Let’s talk about the quantity of best national parks in California. The first state has the most national parks with nine, followed by Alaska with eight, Utah with five, and Colorado with four.

More than any other state, California has nine national parks, and each one draws visitors in a different way.

2. Best National Parks in California

The best national parks in California are listed below:

  1. Yosemite National Park
  2. Joshua Tree National Park
  3. Death Valley National Park
  4. Lassen Volcanic National Park
  5. Pinnacles National Park
  6. Channel Island National Park
  7. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
  8. Point Reyes National Seashore
  9. Redwood National Park

Let’s go into detail about the best national parks in California:

1. Yosemite National Park:

In the Sierra Nevada mountains of California sits Yosemite National Park. It is one of the best national parks in California. It is well-known for its enormous, old sequoia trees, as well as for Tunnel View, the iconic scene of the granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome, as well as the towering Bridal Veil Fall. In Yosemite Village are shops, restaurants, hotels, the Yosemite Museum and the Ansel Adams Gallery, containing prints of the photographer’s iconic black-and-white views of the area.

The National Park Service oversees the 759,620-acre park, located in four nations and spans them all. Yosemite National Park’s waterfalls, towering granite monoliths, deep valleys and ancient giant sequoia, groves, lakes, mountains, meadows, glaciers, and biological diversity are some of its most well-known features on a global scale.

Yosemite was established as a national park on October 1, 1890, and more than 125 years later, it continues to astound tourists. In reality, Yosemite Falls, one of the tallest falls in the world, is composed of three different falls: Upper Yosemite Fall (1,430 feet), the middle cascades (675 feet), and Lower Yosemite Fall (320 feet).

Several intriguing details regarding this park include:

  • The park has a wilderness designation for over 95% of its area.
  • Various plants and animals can be found in Yosemite, one of the Sierra Nevada’s largest and least fragmented habitat blocks.
  • The granite rock formations in Yosemite shine like fire at dusk.
  • The only national park to submit a bid to host the Winter Olympics is Yosemite.
  • Climbers have been lured to Yosemite and its towering rock formations since the 1880s. This is due to the unending range of obstacles it presents to climbers.
  • One of the rare spots in the United States where you can view a rainbow at night is Yosemite.
    A rainbow can be formed from the mist of a waterfall in the spring and early summer if the sky is clear and the moon is full. This is true magic.

2.  Joshua Tree National Park:

Joshua Tree National Park is a significant protected area in southern California. Its distinguishing characteristics are the rough rock formations and stark desert panoramas. The park, which comes from the twisting, bristly Joshua trees that grow there, is situated between the higher and cooler Mojave Desert and the cactus-dotted Colorado Desert.

The famous plants that contributed to the name of Joshua Tree National Park are actually a kind of yucca that belongs to the same subgroup as orchids and blooming grasses. It is one of the best national parks in California. One to three inches of growth per year is the fastest that these plants can grow, contributing to their 150-year lifespan. The Mormons gave the tree the name Joshua.

Providing a home to a huge variety of reptiles, insects, and birds, considerably improves the Mojave Desert’s ecosystem. The Joshua tree woodlands tell a story of perseverance, beauty born of beauty, and tenacity. For those of us who call this place home, they act as a visual cue.

best national parks in california
Image by nightowl from Pixabay copyright 2013

The following are a few intriguing details regarding this park:

  • Joshua Tree National Park is managed as wilderness in 85% of its area.
  • Within the Park, 57 Different Mammal Species can be found.
  • The Park Has 750 Different Plant Species.
  • One of the best national parks in California, Joshua Tree Park, has One of California’s Best Sunsets
    for climbers and high liners to test their prowess; Joshua Tree offers at least 8,000 routes. A rock climber’s paradise, the park.
  • The International Dark Sky Association classified Joshua Tree as an International Dark Sky Park. One of Southern California’s darkest night skies may be found in Joshua Tree National Park, providing spectacular chances to see the Milky Way.

3. Death Valley National Park:

East of the Sierra Nevada, on the border of California and Nevada, is where you’ll find Death Valley National Park in the United States. It is the nation’s hottest, driest, and lowest park. Death Valley is a place of extremes because of the ongoing drought and the severe summer heat. Each extreme, though, has a startling contrast. Towering peaks are blanketed with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring colossal wildflower fields. Rich oases provide a haven for animals, people, and little fish. Despite its terrifying image, the Death Valley is home to a diverse range of life.

Pioneers who got lost there gave Death Valley its name. One of the men in the group gave the place the term Death Valley due to their near-death experience. It is one of the best national parks in California. Death Valley, the largest national park south of Alaska, is renowned for its extremes.

With the lowest elevation on the continent—282 feet below sea level—it is the hottest and driest place in North America, with less than two inches/five centimetres of rainfall annually and a record high temperature of 134°F. With more than 3 million acres of wilderness and hundreds of miles of backcountry roads, Death Valley is a very large national park.

best national parks in California
Image by kaaathi from Pixabay copyright

Several intriguing details regarding this park include:

  • The record for the hottest location on earth belongs to Death Valley.
  • The lowest point in North America is in Death Valley.
  • The Charcoal Kilns are a historical artefact from the park. Today, guests are welcome to tour the kilns and learn about the people who constructed them.
  • Death Valley is a terrific site to marvel at the Milky Way’s vastness, view the moon’s finer details, and experience some of the country’s darkest night sky.
  • Death Valley is the largest national park in the United States and the fifth-largest in the world.
  • In Death Valley, a volcanic explosion left its mark. From a parking lot on its rim, visitors may see the entire crater, but further investigation on paths reveals other smaller craters and the intriguing results of erosion.

4. Lassen Volcanic National Park:

Lassen Volcanic National Park can be found in Northern California. The park’s most notable feature is Lassen Peak, the largest plug dome volcano in the world and the southernmost volcano in the Cascade range. One of the best national parks in California, Lassen Volcanic National Park is one of the few places on earth where all four types of volcanoes—plug dome, shield cylindrical cone, and stratovolcano—can be found. It is full of hydrothermal sites, such as the huge field of bubbling mud pots at Bumpass Hell.

best national parks in california
Image by Steen Jepsen from Pixabay copyright

Lassen Volcanic National Park is home to boiling fumaroles, meadows freckled with wildflowers, pristine mountain lakes, and several volcanoes. On August 9, 1916, Lassen Volcanic became a national park. The Pacific time zone corresponds to Lassen Volcanic National Park. The American black bear, bobcat, mountain lion, raccoon, coyote, fox, weasel, and skunk are among its members. There are also lesser-known species like the American marten and ringtails. Lassen Park is the largest of more than 30 volcanic domes that erupted during the past 300,000 years in northern California’s Lassen Volcanic National Park.

5. Pinnacles National Park:

East of the Salinas Valley in Central California, a mountainous region is protected by Pinnacles National Park, a national park in the United States. One of the best national parks in California, Pinnacles was originally established in 1908 by the President and re-designated as such in 2013. The national park’s East and West Divisions are only connected by walkways and are divided by rock formations.

Water and shade are on the east side, while tall walls are on the west. Granite climbers are drawn to the stunning pinnacles that the rock formations create. The best seasons to visit Pinnacles are spring and fall due to the intense heat in the summer. One of the least appreciated national parks is this one.

  • You Can Explore Bat-Filled Caves
  • Bear Gulch Cave and Balconies Cave, home to bat colonies, are two of Pinnacles National Park’s main attractions. Talus caverns are located here.
  • The newest national park in the United States is Pinnacles.
  • In Pinnacles National Park, there is the greatest variety of bee species.
  • Pinnacles are only 42 square miles in size, but it is home to more than 400 different kinds of bees. This makes the National Park home to the greatest variety of bee species.

    9 best national parks in California
    Image by PollyDot from Pixabay copyright 2014

6. Channel Islands National Park:

Of the eight Channel Islands off the Pacific coast of California, five are environmentally rich islands that makeup Channel Islands National Park. The islands have been comparatively undeveloped despite being near the shore of the heavily populated state.

Anacapa, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, San Miguel, and Santa Rosa are the names of these five islands.

On “Anacapa Island,” trails lead to Inspiration Point, a clifftop lookout point with a 1932 lighthouse. Along with seals, sea lions, and thousands of seabirds, this area is also home to tidepools teeming with aquatic life, including sea stars and urchins. Additionally, Anacapa is renowned for having some of the best kayaking and diving in the entire globe. It is regarded as one of the best national parks in California because of its extensive features.

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The enormous Painted Cave is one of the numerous sea caves on “Santa Cruz” Island. In addition, Santa Cruz is home to the rare island scrub jay, one of 387 bird species in the park, which draws birders from all over the world. An island fox, roughly one-third the size of a regular fox, can also be seen.

Unusual Torrey trees can be found on “Santa Rosa” Island. Santa Rosa Island, a rough and mostly unexplored 53,000-acre wilderness paradise, is arguably the most underappreciated of all the Channel Islands (which is saying something). Thousands of seals congregate at Point Bennett on “San Miguel” Island.

Seabird nesting isle “Santa Barbara” in the south attracts them. The smallest of the Channel Islands, Santa Barbara Island, is uninhabited and one square mile in size. Like Anacapa, it has rocky cliffs, lots of opportunities for birdwatching, and good kayaking and diving.

7. Point Reyes National Park:

Point Reyes National Seashore spans an area of 71,028 acres (287.44 km2). Ten Mile Beach, an iconic stretch of the coastline, the Point Reyes Lighthouse, and epic hiking trails are just a few of the attractions in Point Reyes National Seashore. The coastline at Point Reyes is stunning!

Along the western United States’ dwindling undeveloped coastline, Point Reyes National Seashore was created to preserve and protect wilderness, natural ecosystems, and cultural heritage. The second foggiest place in North America is Point Reyes. Point Reyes offers visitors over 1500 kinds of flora and animals to discover, from its thunderous ocean surges breaking against rocky headlands and wide-open sand beaches to its open grasslands, brushy hillsides, and forested summits.

You may find beaches like Wildcat Beach and Almere Falls on the cliff here. The Post Reyes Lighthouse, built in 1870 on a rocky headland, serves as a lookout point for migrating grey whales. Undoubtedly, it is ranked as one of the best national parks in California. Numerous routes in the Phillip Burton Wilderness lead through fir and pine forests, past grasslands, and Mount Wittenberg’s summit.

8. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks  

In the two parks, the giants mentioned are the sequoias, the tallest trees in the world, located east of Fresno. Sequoia National Park, which covers more than 631 square miles, was created in September 1890, and Kings Canyon National Park, which covers 722 square miles, was created 50 years later, in 1940. Since 1943, the two parks have been managed in tandem. They cover 1,353 square miles altogether (3,500 km2).

In the southern Sierra Nevada, East of Visalia, California is where Sequoia National Park is located. The first park established to safeguard a living thing was Sequoia. On the eastern edge of Sequoia National Park and Inyo National Forest is the 14,494-foot-tall Mount Whitney.

best national parks in California
Image by Simon from Pixabay copyright 2016

Kings Canyon National Park is situated next to Sequoia National Park in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. The deepest canyon in the United States is in Kings Canyon National Park, which has a landscape similar to Yosemite Valley.

These national parks in Sequoia and Kings Canyon are mostly wilderness. The parks’ incredible elevation variation ranges from 1,300 feet in the lowlands to 14,494 feet in the high Sierra, resulting in a topographic diversity of over 315 different animal species throughout elevation zones.

Peregrine falcons, black bears, and even western and mountain bluebirds are a few of these magnificent creatures. These are two of the best national parks in California. Five of the ten biggest trees in the world, including the General Sherman tree, can be found in the Giant Forest. The parks also have some of the most diverse collections of pine trees, including the enormous sugar pine, ponderosa pine, high-elevation foxtail, and whitebark pines.

9. Redwood National Park:

The northernmost portion of California in the United States is home to Redwood National Park. It was established in 1968, with a border revision in 1978, and was named a World Heritage site in 1980. Redwoods have a 4,000-year lifespan. Redwoods look out for one another. They produce rain. In their branches, entire ecosystems are found. Here, wild creatures can thrive. Redwoods stand up to climate change.

The Redwoods are one of Earth’s most gorgeous and durable creations, some of which date back to the Roman Empire and have been growing for thousands of years. Redwood National Park is one of the best national parks in California while discussing the best parks. Prairie and oak woodlands, powerful rivers and streams, and 37 miles of unspoiled Pacific shoreline make up the mosaic of habitats that make up Redwood Park. Redwoods, which tower over their bewildered and awed visitors, provide a look into the past even as they continue to get bigger and taller into the future.

North Coast region contains roughly 400 extremely uncommon Ghost Redwood trees. These trees, which have lost all of their colours, live by removing toxins from the soil and obtaining the necessary sugars from more robust Coast Redwoods. The Roosevelt Elk, which can grow to a length of 10 feet and a weight of 1,100 pounds while living amid the Redwoods, is the largest mammal. It may be found at Redwood National Park.

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