No USA travel bucket list would be complete without a visit to the grand National Parks of California!
Home to famous cities like Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco and popular attractions such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, Napa Valley and Universal Studios Hollywood, California has always appealed to US visitors with charismatic sights. However, the Golden State is far more diverse than classy cities and delightful attractions. This incredible US State has the maximum number of stunning national parks each showcasing an amazing variance in landscapes and wildlife. Here’s what these national parks have to offer you on a US holiday.
- Joshua Tree National Park
Located in the Southeast of California, Joshua Tree National Park displays a craggy landscape dotted with a diverse ecosystem of desert plants and pale rough mountains and boulders. The national park’s fascinating assorted landscape is the result of the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert merging together. A stretch of more than 700,000 acres of land brimming with Joshua trees, striking geological features and remarkable wildlife, Joshua Tree National Park offers its visitors amazing ways to explore its natural scenic beauty. The national park gives you opportunities to take a scenic hike or a horseback riding tour to explore its wilderness and spot wildlife. Adventurers can opt for rock climbing experiences on its steeply vertical boulders and enjoy mountain biking thrills. This national park is a charming place to spend the night camping under the starry California sky.
- Yosemite National Park
Tucked away in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, Yosemite National Park is one of the popular places to visit in California. The national park is renowned for its beautiful waterfalls, mainly the Horsetail falls which glow intensely as the sun rays set the cascade ablaze giving you the illusion that a stream of lava is gushing out of the rocks instead of a water stream. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this immense landscape is loaded with beautiful vistas of glaciers, clear water brooks, plunging waterfalls, giant granite cliffs, deep valleys and a vast collection of geological splendours and wilderness. Explore these nature’s treasures on hiking trails, biking trips, tram tours and equestrian tours. Take in the awe-inspiring panoramas on a rafting experience on Merced River. Winters in Yosemite National Park transform it into an icy wonderland and an outdoor playground for adventure enthusiasts who can enjoy the thrill of Skiing, Snowboarding, Ice skating and Cross-country skiing.
- Redwood National Park
Set along the northern coast of California, Redwood National and State Park is a cluster of stunning nature reserves of gorgeous assortment of lush forests. Among these nature parks, Redwood National Park is a prominent California tourist attraction for its colossal old-growth coastal redwood forests which are considered as the world’s tallest trees. Hiking and walking through tall redwood trees soaring endlessly into the sky and lush foliage peppered in misty ambiances are invigorating experiences. A trip to Redwood National Park lets you take a pause from real life chaos and reconnect with nature’s splendor and solace. The wildlife consists of rare and exotic species such as tidewater goby, northern spotted owl, black bears, sea lions, seals, river otters, great blue herons, osprey, and red-shouldered hawks. You can enjoy the wondrous wilderness of Redwood National Park through scenic drives, kayaking tours and ranger walks.
- Death Valley National Park
Located in the Sierra Nevada, the Death Valley National Park is one of the largest US National Parks. Spanning over 3 million acres of land encompassing an astounding selection of geological wonders, Death Valley National Park offers you an extraordinary fusion of dramatic topography and climate. Bordering the states of California and Nevada, Death Valley National Park amazes you with superlative elements such as singing sand dunes, textured salt flats, colourful badlands, sculpted boulders, weathered canyons, multi-hued volcanic terrains and desert oasis. This California state park has the lowest, hottest, and driest place in the US. As unnerving as it sounds, Death Valley National Park is far from being an oblivious experience. Some of the highlights not to be missed at this national park is the Badwater Basin- the lowest point in the USA, Dante’s view, Mosaic Canyon, Zabriskie Point and Devil’s Golf Course.
- Channel Island National Park
Comprising of five picturesque islands cast away from the Californian mainland, Channel Island National Park offers a perfect blend of pristine wilderness and serene ambiance. Absolutely untouched by civilization, you will not find any kind service on the islands apart from camping sites. The five islands of Anacapa Island, Santa Cruz Island, Santa Rosa Island, San Miguel Island and Santa Barbara Island together form the Channel Island, National Park. There are plenty of things to do here if you are an avid nature lover or an outdoor adventure seeker. Spend the day wandering around the island on hiking tours pausing to click postcard perfect pictures. Swimming, kayaking, and diving are also popular at these islands. An island hopping tour of the national park is the ideal way to discover its natural charms.
- Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
Shrouded in giant Sequoia Trees, towering mountains, rolling hilly terrains, torrential rivers and steep canyons, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park are two different national parks in California set end-to-end at the southern part of Sierra Nevada. These national parks encompass some of the highest peaks and deepest canyons in the USA. But what really allures tourists is its super-sized Sequoia Trees which was the main reason for the formation of this nature preserve. The national park was declared as a protected reserve to save these rare trees from logging as these ages-old trees only grow in exclusive weather conditions of western Sierra. Here, standing in front of a Sequoia Tree makes you realize nature’s grandiose. Don’t forget to visit the oldest and grandest living organism of this national park – the General Sherman Tree which is 275 feet tall and 36 feet in diameter making it probably the largest tree in the world by volume. The park is bursting at the seams with stunning scenic beauty and multifarious wildlife. With over 800 miles of nature trails, this spectacular national park is sure to take your breath away with fantastic nature panoramas at every curve and turn.
- Pinnacles National Park
Formed due to volcanic eruption over millions of years ago, Pinnacles National Park is mostly mountainous landscapes with rugged cliffs, rock formations, caves and canyons located at Salinas Valley in Central California. Pinnacle National Park is popular among rock climbers, hikers, and backcountry campers. For nature lovers, spring is the best season to view the landscapes covered in colourful wildflowers. Explore the stellar Talus Caves which are chasms carved out on giant rocks by flowing water currents. Once the sun goes down, the national park is a treat for stargazers who can marvel at millions of shimmering speckles on the starkly dark sky. A fascinating fact about the Pinnacles National Park is that every year it is slowly moving six centimeters towards the west coast of California.
- Lassen Volcanic National Park
Another nature reserve formed due to volcanic activity, Lassen National Park’s landscapes are filled with hydrothermal sites. Teeming with raging fumaroles, boiling pools and mud pots accentuated by jagged craters and lava peaks peppered with pine and fir forests, Lassen Volcanic National Park offers a contrasting blend of nature’s elements. The national park also has crystal clear lakes, deep valleys, and grasslands weaving through the expansive landscape. Gear up for a hike to the Lassen Peak to admire the beauty of Lake Helen. Spend some time at Manzanita Lake and enjoy kayaking and camping. Explore the Bumpass Hell which is literally acres of land filled with boiling mud pots and boiling pools. A caution for safety is recommended as there have been nasty accidents to visitors who strayed off the well-marked trails. The volcanic terrains get covered in powdery fine snow in winters which makes it a great outdoor playground for winter sports enthusiasts.
This is the best aspect of taking a trip to California on your US holiday. You can enjoy the best of both worlds – the contemporary life and famous California sightseeing as well as nature’s scenic splendours found in abundance in the Golden State. In future, if you have your US visa sorted and holiday planned to visit California, head to one or more of these fantastic national parks to immerse in the quietude and beauty of nature.