About California National Parks
California National Parks are the perfect amalgamation of natural wonders and history. Most of these parks are well known among local as well as international tourists, not only because of their sweeping sceneries but also for being symbols of the great American nation. Each year, thousands of visitors make a trip to these parks and marvel at their unique landscape and the view from the top.
Several recent surveys have indicated that most American families want to visit at least one national park in their lifetime, and many choose California as their destination.
National parks are protected areas, on which the government spends a lot of money for purposes of preservation.
List of National Parks in California
|1||Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP)||112,618 acres (45,575 ha)||1. Jan. 1968||Humboldt County & Del Norte County, California, US|
|2||Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area||203,587 acres (82,389 ha)||8. Nov. 1965||Shasta County & Trinity County, California, USA|
|3||Lassen Volcanic National Park||106,452 acres (166.331 sq mi; 43,080 ha; 430.80 km2)[||9. Aug. 1916||Shasta, Lassen, Plumas, and Tehama Counties, California, USA|
|4||Golden Gate National Recreation Area ||80,002 acres (32,376 ha)||27. Oct. 1972||San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA|
|5||San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park ||50 acres (20 ha)||27. Jun. 1988||San Francisco, California, USA|
|6||Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park||145 acres (59 ha)|| ||Shipyards of Richmond, Richmond, California|
|7||Yosemite National Park||747,956 acres (1,168.681 sq mi; 302,687 ha; 3,026.87 km2)||1. Oct. 1890||Tuolumne, Mariposa, & Madera counties, California, U.S.|
|8||Sequoia National Park||404,064 acres (631.350 sq mi; 163,519 ha; 1,635.19 km2)||25. Sep. 1890||Tulare County, California, United States|
|9||Kings Canyon National Park||461,901 acres (721.720 sq mi; 186,925 ha; 1,869.25 km2)||4. Mar. 1940||Fresno County & Tulare County, California, USA|
|10||Death Valley National Park ||3,373,063 acres (5,270.411 sq mi; 1,365,030 ha; 13,650.30 km2)||Feb. 11, 1933 (Monument), Oct. 31, 1994 (National Park)||California and Nevada, US|
|11||Mojave National Preserve ||1,538,015 acres (622,413 ha)||31. Oct. 1994||San Bernardino County, California, USA|
|12||Joshua Tree National Park ||790,636 acres (319,959 ha)||31. Oct. 1994||Riverside County and San Bernardino County, California, United States|
|13||Channel Islands National Park||249,561 acres (100,994 ha)||5. Mar. 1980||Santa Barbara County & Ventura County, California, United States|
|14||Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area||156,670 acres (63,400 ha)||10. Nov. 1978||Santa Monica Mountains; Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, California, U.S.|
Things to Do in National Parks
1. Rock Climbing
Yosemite National Park is just one of the best places to go rock climbing, either alone or better yet with friends and family. It is a dream destination for anyone who has a yen for mountaineering, especially those who like a challenging climb. Scaling Yosemite is a great way to get a natural high, and the reward at the top is by far the best thing you can expect from a visit to a National Park.
2. Horseback Riding
A number of national parks have excellent trails for horseback riding, and it is an experience not to be missed. Families and kids, in particular, would very much enjoy the scenery while riding on the back of a well-trained horse. Hours will pass by very quickly when horseback riding and a perfect California sunset is just icing on the cake.
Traditional family outdoor adventures are never completely without a night or two at a campsite. Most kids who were raised stateside have at least one or two memories of tending a campfire while making smores and trying a hand at telling horror stories.
4. Wildlife Watching and Nature Trips
Such places as Point Reyes national seashore and Sequoia and Kings Canyon are excellent choices for observing and appreciating California wildlife as well as pristine flora. Point Reyes is one of the few unspoiled Californian beaches and is perfect for finding a little peace and quiet. It is also home to exotic nesting birds, seals, and raptors, all of which are protected by local as well as national environmental laws.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon are great for tree lovers who have an innate affection not only for nature and history. This is where you can find the largest tree in the world (see Guinness book of world records), and some of the best dirt trails that are great for biking adventures.
Top 5 National Parks in California
Whether you are looking for great looking valleys, mammoth granite, or just the most majestic view, you can never go wrong with the Golden State's best feature, Yosemite national park.
2. Death Valley
Despite its ominous and seemingly foreboding name, Death Valley is by far one of the most sought after destinations in California. This place is a veritable visual wonderland with its surface colors shifting, depending on your vantage point. The heat is trying in Death Valley as it is one of the driest places on Earth, but it is worth every drop of sweat.
3. Lassen Volcanic National Park
While Yellow Stone in Wyoming is more popular, Lassen Volcanic Park is no less than incredible. It is a geology buff's greatest dream to be within a few meters of geysers and massive rocks that have been ejected from the volcano. The view is quite stunning and you can spend hours just admiring the vast expanse of the park.
4. Pinnacles National Park (formerly Pinnacles national monument)
The aftermath of two volcanoes splitting caused by the San Andreas fault encompasses most of the Pinnacles National Park. The canyons are just as devastatingly wondrous as the Grand Canyon, but with a hint of mystery that you cannot seem to forget even days after your visit.
5. King Range National Conservation Area
California is now known for its surfing culture, especially among youngsters. For those who can appreciate (and prefer) wild beaches, this is the place to spend an entire weekend.
Facilities and Services
All National Parks in California have their own dedicated facilities and services provided for by the federal government and the state. Rangers are assigned to these parks in order to enforce the rules and uphold the laws in place to protect these sanctuaries. Some of the most common facilities include RV parking, emergency centers, law enforcement outposts, and camping sites.
Best time to Visit
For places like Death Valley, it is highly recommended to opt for a winter visit so as to avoid heat stroke. For all the other national parks, Summer and Spring are the best times to take friends and family. There may be special weather considerations to factor in when planning your visit, so it is best to check the National Park Service website for specific and timely information.
Ticketing and Planning
It is best to secure tickets months in advance in order to ensure a smooth and hassle-free trip. Certain permits may need to be obtained weeks in advance so planning ahead and checking schedules is always advised.
Last Updated Date: February 21, 2020