national parks

California’s national parks represent the diversity of the state’s landscapes. From the high summits of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the below-sea-level salt flats of Death Valley, these extreme locations are breathtaking. There are several national parks to visit in California, some with soaring mountains and babbling streams, others with towering waterfalls and desert-like terrain.

The best national parks in california

the maze loop

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

Joshua Tree National Park is a rare blend of two desert ecosystems: the Mojave and the Colorado Desert. It is well-known for its rare Joshua trees.

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK

Yosemite is undoubtedly one of America’s most well-known national parks. Glaciers, waterfalls, mountains, alpine lakes, and more can be seen.

DEATH VALLEY

Death Valley is the lowest point in North America, and the hottest and driest. Never-ending salt flats, mountain-sized sand dunes, and vivid Mars-like canyons cover 3.3 million acres.

Sequoia National Park

SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK

You’ll see the gigantic red sequoia trees (the world’s tallest trees) that surround the park, as well as a variety of other sites such as the Kings Canyon Byway with spectacular views.

5 other best california national parks

  1. Point Reyes National Seashore – With over 1,500 types of plants and animals known to inhabit the region, this stunning nature park covers 80 miles of coastline and is a sanctuary for wildlife.
  2. Channel Islands National Park – The park covers five islands off the coast of Southern California and has seals, sea caves, nesting seabirds, camping, and hiking. It must be reached by ferry.
  3. Lassen Volcanic National Park – This national park is stunning, including volcanoes, hydrothermal zones, alpine lakes, and wildflower meadows. This is a national park unlike any other, formed by volcanic activity generated by the Lassen Peak volcano.
  4. Pinnacles National Park – Trails wind around dome rocks that rise from the earth, passing through caverns, canyons, and woods. The park was formed by the remains of a volcanic event that happened around 23 million years ago.
  5. Redwood National and State Parks – Big Basin Redwoods State Park (California’s oldest state park) and Humboldt Redwood State Park, are home to the world’s oldest growing redwood trees, are both must-sees.