Traveler Lifes

Browse Traveler lifes Travel to get information about the world's most popular places, tourist Attraction, holiday destinations, vacation spot, historical places, where to go, places to visit, things to do, best places to stay, top hotel and restaurant, Activities, adventure, tourism information, travel tips and travel guide with expert advice...

Monday, December 25, 2023

National Parks in California - location, information, how to get there and where to stay

  Rajesh Kumar Rana       Monday, December 25, 2023

California, the Golden State, is a land of staggering natural beauty, and its national parks are a testament to its diversity. From towering redwood forests to sizzling deserts, volcanic peaks to island archipelagos, California's nine national parks offer adventures for every nature lover.


National Parks in California

California National Parks are some of the most impressive natural attractions in the state of California in the United States. We love US national parks in general and California parks in particular, so we always visit these natural wonders on our trips around America. 

Good to know : Two of California's national parks (Yosemite and Redwood) are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. And the very first national parks in California were Sequoia, Yosemite and Lassen Volcanic.

In this article I will tell you  most beautiful National Parks of the State of California, photos, short background information and i will also share important information on how to get to these parks, where they are located and where it is better to stay nearby. 

Nine most beautiful National parks in California

Here are all nine California national parks:

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

1. Yosemite National Park

Probably the most beautiful park in California, which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. It is famous for its waterfalls and granite monoliths, towering a kilometer above the surface of the park. 4 million visitors a year - the numbers speak for themselves, the size of the park is about 285 thousand hectares.

Yosemite lies on the Nevada border in northeastern California.

You can read more about Yosemite Park in the article: Yosemite national Park | history, facts, map, Attractions, hotel and tourist information

National Parks in California - location, information, how to get there and where to stay
Yosemite National Park

• Distance from Los Angeles - 450 km. Or 4.5 hours on the way

• Distance from San Francisco - 265 km. or 3 hours on the way

You can get to Yosemite in the following ways:

  • On Route 41 from Fresno, Kursgold and Oakhurst.
  • On Route 140 from the city of Merced and Mariposa.
  • Route 120 from Sonora, Jamestown, Groveland and Buck Meadows.
  • Route 395 from Mammoth Lakes and Lee Weining over the Tioga Pass, which is closed during the winter. This entrance is located in the northeast of Yosemite Park, on the east side of the Sierra Nevada.

2. Joshua Tree National Park

National Parks in California - location, information, how to get there and where to stay
Joshua Tree Park

This quaint park is located in the Mojave Desert in the very southern state of California, 2 hours from Los Angeles. The site is located at an ecological crossroads between the High Mojave Desert and the Low Colorado Desert. The result is an amazing flora of the desert, namely wonderful trees, a variety of yucca called Joshua Tree. The sunsets are especially bright here - at this time the desert is especially beautiful.

• Distance from Los Angeles - 200 km. or 2 hours on the way by car.



3. Redwood National and State Parks

In this park, even a giant will feel like a dwarf, moreover, quite lonely. These are the feelings that gigantic red trees, the size of skyscrapers, evoke. A journey through this park begins at the Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center  - there are five such centers in total, this one is the largest.

The Redwood National park is located on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. In addition to red trees, the park is famous for the fact that near the village of Klamath, at an altitude of 200 meters above sea level, there is an observation deck from which it is convenient to watch migrating gray whales. The best time for whale watching is from month of December to April. There are many walking and car routes in the park - I recommend taking a map of the park in the visitor center, it's free.

Of the easy hiking trails, I can recommend the Yurok loop that goes by the secret beach - the length of the trail is 4 km. and the 2 km Lady Bird Johnson Grove loop.

You can get to Redwood National Park from San Francisco, driving 500 km north on Route 101. The main visitor center is located at the north entrance to the park, in Crescent City. There is also an office in the town of Auric, in the south of the park.

National Parks in California - location, information, how to get there and where to stay
Redwood Park, California

Campgrounds for tent lovers or RV travelers are located in both state parks and Redwood National Park. But there is one important feature that you should know about in advance if you are going to go there with an overnight stay. Roads are paved only to campgrounds in state parks, which means that you can safely drive up to your place there. But to spend the night in a tent in Redwood National Park, you have to walk with a tent.

Hotels near Redwood Park in California can be found in the cities of Trinidad, Orick, Klamath or Crescent City.

4. Death Valley National Park

National Parks in California - location, information, how to get there and where to stay
Death Valley National Park

The largest national park in the United States outside of Alaska - 1.34 million hectares. A park of extremes, which is the norm here, starting from the name. The Valley of Death is just a reflection of the history of the end of life of those brave souls who decided to cross this place on foot. Sand dunes, singing stones, sandstone canyons, extreme elevation changes - the lowest point is 86 meters below sea level, and the highest is Telescope Peak at 3368 meters above sea level. The temperature in summer is the same extreme of the park as the height difference, in summer it is up to 50 degrees Celsius, with minimal rainfall.

Usually, rental offices are allowed to ride in Death Valley only on asphalt, but the most interesting thing is on unpaved roads. If you are careful, then it is quite possible, proved and verified. Just take water with you and do not stay until dark.

Summer is not the best time to visit Death Valley, preferably spring or mid-autumn. At least the whole day in time, but it is better to stay overnight - there is a lodge and a hotel on the territory near the Visitors Center.

You can get to Death Valley by different roads:

  • Highway 190 runs through Death Valley from west to northeast.
  • Highway 178 is convenient for entry from the south of Shoshone from Las Vegas.
  • from highways 395, 168 and 95 you can get to Death Valley by dirt roads (it is recommended to do this in a car with four-wheel drive) from the north-west, north and north-east, respectively.
  • Death Valley from Las Vegas is 140 km (before the entrance to Death Valley Junction), and from Los Angeles - 420 km.


5. Channel Islands National Park

The Five Islands off the coast of Southern California are one of America's most remote and wholly magical national parks. You can get to the islands by boat, which departs from the cities of Ventura or Oxnard. You can also get there by a small plane.

No housing, shops, and even less restaurants. These islands are created to disconnect and be at one with yourself and admire nature, flora and fauna.

• The distance from city of Los Angeles to the cities of Ventura or Oxnard is 107 kilometer or 1 hour by car, then another hour by boat.

National Parks in California - location, information, how to get there and where to stay
Channel islands national park

On the islands, they go on foot, watch the migration of whales and explore the surroundings by kayaking. You can also stay overnight in a tent camp, as there are no traditional hotels here.

6. Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

The Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park is located near the Yosemite and Death Valley parks, just 400 km. from Los Angeles. Considering the quality of American highways, this is close by - 4 hours drive. The main object is giant sequoias, which impress not only botanists both literally and figuratively.

National Parks in California - location, information, how to get there and where to stay
Sequoia Park in California

In addition to sequoias, there is one of the deepest canyons in the United States - Kings Canyon and Whitney Peak - the highest in the States (4417 meters).


7. Pinnacles National Park

National Parks in California - location, information, how to get there and where to stay
Daniel Hartwig / Flickr

The newest California national park - Pinnacles National Park - is a cliff and cave formation above which California condors soar.

Pinnacles  Park is divided into two parts: east and west. There is no through passage by car, but you can walk the route - about 8 km.

The western side of the park is accessible from highway 101 in the Soledad area of ​​the city, before entering the park from the city, you need to take highway 146 to the very entrance to the park. The west side gate is open from 7:30 am to 8:00 pm daily. You can leave after 8 pm, but you cannot enter.

From the east side, the park can be reached by highway 25, the entrance is approximately 48 km away. south of the town of Hollister and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is a camping, a visitor center and a shop.

There is a camping in Pinnacles National Park. There are no lodges. The nearest hotels are located in Monterey, Marina, Salinas and King City.



8. Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park is located in the most sparsely populated part of northern California. One of those places where you can watch the effects of volcanic activity. The last time the volcano came to life back in 1914, in May. The height of the volcano is 3187 meters and now it behaves quite calmly and seems to have completely died out.

In addition to the volcano, the park has several beautiful peaks, picturesque rocks, forests and lakes.

National Parks in California - location, information, how to get there and where to stay
Lassen Volcanic National Park

It is easier to get to Volcanic Park from San Francisco - 400 km. or 4 hours drive., from Los Angeles - more than 900 km.

9. Point Reyes National Seashore

National Parks in California - location, information, how to get there and where to stay
Point Reyes National Seashore

Point Reyes National Seashore
 - a piece of land on the Pacific coast looks like it is coming off the mainland. It is located just 50 km. north of San Francisco, an hour and a half drive including the city exit. Being in this city, the place is an absolute must visit to visit.

The park stretches for 130 km. more than 1,500 animal species live along the coastline, on this land area and in the coastal zone. There are a lot of semi-secret deserted beaches, hills in the morning fog that are allowed by local elks. The best for beach walks is the 18 km Great Beach or the small, almost intimate McClures Beach.

The centerpiece of the park is the Bear Valley, from where the exploration of the park begins. From January to mid-April, you can watch whales from the observation deck and elevation of the park.

There are 4 campgrounds in the park, to spend the night it is enough to make a reservation in one of them. To explore the park, take a schematic map, there will be no problems with navigation.

Annual pass to US National Parks:

The entrance to the national parks of California in the USA is paid. Prices in each park are different, in the most popular of them - usually about $ 30 per car. In 2020, talk began again about the need to increase ticket prices during the high season of summer holidays.

Therefore, when entering the first park on your way, we advise you to immediately buy for $ 80 an annual pass to all US national parks - the Annual Pass . It will definitely be beneficial for you if you plan to visit at least 4-5 parks or more. The annual pass is valid for 1 year from the date of purchase. You can buy it at the entrance to the national park.

Planning Your California National Park Adventure:

California's national parks offer unforgettable experiences year-round, but remember, each park has its own unique climate and seasonal variations. Research weather conditions and plan accordingly. Choose your park based on your interests, whether it's hiking amidst towering redwoods, exploring vibrant deserts, or gazing at star-studded skies. Book campsites or lodging in advance, especially during peak season. Respect wildlife and park regulations, and leave no trace behind.

With its diverse landscapes, rich history, and abundant wildlife, California's national parks offer something for everyone. So lace up your hiking boots, pack your sense of adventure, and get ready to discover the magic of these natural wonders. Let the Golden State's wilderness become your playground, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Remember: This is just a starting point. Each park deserves its own deep dive, with specific recommendations for trails, campgrounds, and things to see and do. Feel free to ask

Share this article with your friends on social networks so they also know the nine most beautiful National parks in California.


Thanks for reading National Parks in California - location, information, how to get there and where to stay

« Prev Post