California National Parks Map

Get mesmerized by the most iconic views and landscapes on the planet by visiting the national parks in California. There are 9 national parks in the state, which is more than any other state in the US. Each of them has its unique beauty and significance.

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Description:Map of California showing the locations of national parks of the state. Disclaimer

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National Parks in California

California National Parks are the perfect amalgamation of natural wonders and history. Most of these parks are well known among locals as well as international tourists, not only because of their sweeping scenery 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.

How many National Parks in California?

There are 9 national parks in California. If we include the national memorial, trail, preserve, and historical site, the total number of national parks will increase to 28. Around 39,620,672 people visit these parks every year. There are 3 world heritage sites in California. 14,157 acres of Federal lands have been transferred since 1948.

California National Parks List

S. NoNameAreaEstablishedLocation
1Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP)112,618 acres (45,575 ha)1. Jan. 1968Humboldt County & Del Norte County, California, US
2Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area203,587 acres (82,389 ha)8. Nov. 1965Shasta County & Trinity County, California, USA
3Lassen Volcanic National Park106,452 acres (166.331 sq mi; 43,080 ha; 430.80 km2)[9. Aug. 1916Shasta, Lassen, Plumas, and Tehama Counties, California, USA
4Golden Gate National Recreation Area 80,002 acres (32,376 ha)27. Oct. 1972San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA
5San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park 50 acres (20 ha)27. Jun. 1988San Francisco, California, USA
6Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park145 acres (59 ha) Shipyards of Richmond, Richmond, California
7Yosemite National Park747,956 acres (1,168.681 sq mi; 302,687 ha; 3,026.87 km2)1. Oct. 1890Tuolumne, Mariposa, & Madera counties, California, U.S.
8Sequoia National Park404,064 acres (631.350 sq mi; 163,519 ha; 1,635.19 km2)25. Sep. 1890Tulare County, California, United States
9Kings Canyon National Park461,901 acres (721.720 sq mi; 186,925 ha; 1,869.25 km2)4. Mar. 1940Fresno County & Tulare County, California, USA
10Death 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
11Mojave National Preserve 1,538,015 acres (622,413 ha)31. Oct. 1994San Bernardino County, California, USA
12Joshua Tree National Park 790,636 acres (319,959 ha)31. Oct. 1994Riverside County and San Bernardino County, California, United States
13Channel Islands National Park249,561 acres (100,994 ha)5. Mar. 1980Santa Barbara County & Ventura County, California, United States
14Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area156,670 acres (63,400 ha)10. Nov. 1978Santa Monica Mountains; Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, California, U.S.

Best National Parks in California

  1. Yosemite National Park:

    This national park is also a World Heritage site, is one of the crown jewels of the US national park system. It is located 200 miles east of San Francisco.

    This national park is known for its stunning glacier-sculpted geology, wide-array of vibrant wildlife, and world-class recreational opportunities. Yosemite Valley has come up as a preferred location for big-wall rock climbing, wildlife watching, hiking, rafting, and fishing.

  2. Joshua Tree National Park:

    This national park is known for its otherworldly charm and dynamic flora. It is dotted by an unusually tall species of yucca, fantastic rock formations, and glittering crystal boulders that glitter under the sun. It is best for camping, rock climbing, hiking, and meteor shower watching.

    Don’t miss the rewarding hike to the Lost Palms Oasis and the ancient Native American footpath taking you to the deep hidden cool oasis in a boulder canyon.

  3. Death Valley National Park:

    This national park is the biggest and the hottest of them all in California. This vast and rugged area of land in east California is brutally hot. The best time to visit this national park is winter or early spring.

    You’ll be awestruck by the desert’s vivid colors and surprisingly beautiful and vibrant place. A 135-mile race across the vast valley, called Badwater Ultramarathon, is held in mid-July.

  4. Channel Islands National Park:

    This national park consists of 5 remarkable islands. They are thrived by unique flora, fauna, and archeological resources, which remained isolated for thousands of years.

    This national park houses a rich diversity of islands, an ocean environment, and a wealth of natural and cultural resources. You can experience coastal southern California as it once was thousands of years back.

  5. Lassen Volcanic National Park:

    This national park consists of geysers, steaming fumaroles, numerous volcanoes, clear mountain lakes, and meadows freckled with wildflowers. It is located around 50 miles east of Redding. The world’s largest volcanic dome, a 10,462-foot Lassen Peak, caps the park.

    You can visit this national park in the summer for hiking, bridging, camping, and photography. Lassen Volcanic National Park is a popular place of visit for backcountry/cross-country skiers and snowshoers. At Manzanita Lake, you can get 8 seasonal campsites and rustic cabins.

  6. Mojave National Park:

    This national park is spread across 1.6-million-acres. The park encompasses a large forest of Joshua trees, carpets of spring wildflowers, mountains, canyons, cinder cone volcanoes, singing sand dunes, mesas, and lots more. If you are looking for serenity and solitude from the hustle-bustle of your mundane metropolitan life, Mojave is the best destination for you.
  7. Pinnacles National Park:

    This national park is known for its dramatic cliffs, located 40 miles southeast of Salinas. Its spectacular walls have become a major attraction for rock climbers.

    This unique landscape consisting of chaparral, oak woodlands, and canyon bottoms have become a major draw for hikers and travelers. Pinnacles National Park consists of towering rock spires, a popular destination for birders. They throng these places to watch prairie and peregrine falcons, golden eagles, and California condor.

  8. Redwood National Park:

    This national park houses the tallest trees on earth, Redwood. You can enjoy the protected prairies, wild riverways, oak woodlands, and rugged coastline that is 40 miles long. It has become a popular destination for Redwood canopy tours, hiking, and camping.
  9. Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park:

    This national park boasts of a dramatic landscape. It includes huge mountains, deep canyons, rugged foothills, vast caverns, and a forest of the largest trees. Its sheer size, beauty, and diversity will mesmerize you. The parks are situated side-by-side in the southern Sierra Nevada, which is located to the east of the San Joaquin Valley. Wide variation in the weather, ranging from 1,370' to 14,494', is found in this national park.

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.
  3. Camping: Traditional family outdoor adventures are never complete 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.

Best time to Visit

For places like Death Valley, it is highly recommended to opt for a winter visit so as to avoid heatstroke. 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.

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