16 Best National Parks in California to Visit in 2022

Yosemite National Park at sunset

California is home to more national parks than any other state in the United States. The state touts nine national parks, plus more national monuments, seashores, recreation areas, and historic sites. There’s no shortage of beautiful federal lands in this great state.

From majestic waterfalls to rugged mountains to colorful coastline, the national parks in California offer something for everyone. Beyond the natural beauty, California’s parks are home to some incredible feats, including:

  • The world’s tallest tree
  • The world’s biggest tree
  • The highest mountain peak outside of Alaska
  • The lowest elevation in the United States
  • The longest stretch of undeveloped coastline outside of Alaska
  • Three of the first four national parks
  • One of three tide falls in the United States

This guide covers the best national parks in California, complete with the highlights and must-see destinations.

Are you looking for more California national park inspiration? Don’t miss these posts:

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How many national parks are in California?

There are nine national parks in California, including popular parks like Yosemite, Sequoia, Death Valley, and Joshua Tree. In addition, California is home to 28 national park sites protected by the National Park Service, including national monuments, seashores, and recreation areas.

You can see a full list of all California national parks here.

Are you planning a national park trip but don’t know where to start? Get my free 28-page national park ebook where I break down everything you need to know to visit all 63 USA national parks.

Download your free ebook here.

Map of California National Parks

Before diving in, here’s a quick visual guide of the best national parks in California shown on a map. This guide’s 16 best national parks are scattered throughout beautiful California.

Map of the best national parks in California

1. Yosemite National Park

  • Nearest City: Mariposa, California
  • Size: 759,620 acres 
  • Annual Visitors: 3,287,595
  • Founded: 1890
Valley View in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is the crown jewel of California’s national parks. It is the oldest national park in the state (and second oldest in the country). While Yellowstone was the first national park, it was initially Yosemite that sparked the idea for the national park system.

The most iconic views are in Yosemite Valley, surrounded by towering canyon walls, grassy meadows, and flowing waterfalls. Granite peaks like El Capitan and Half Dome lure more than 3 million photographers and adventurers each year.

There’s no shortage of incredible things to do in Yosemite with bucket-list hikes like Yosemite, Vernal Falls, and Half Dome, and scenic drives like Glacier Point Road.

In addition to the valley, visitors can also take in the scenic Tuolumne Meadows and Tenaya Lake off Tioga Pass Road or Mariposa Grove for a change in scenery.

The best time to visit Yosemite is late spring or fall when crowds are fewer and temperatures are more comfortable. In the spring, waterfalls flow at full force. In the fall, some leaves change colors, and the meadows turn a golden hue.

Read more about Yosemite National Park:
One Day Yosemite Itinerary
20 Best Photo Spots in Yosemite
25 Best Airbnbs Near Yosemite

Best Things to Do in Yosemite National Park

  • Yosemite Falls is one of the most breathtaking waterfalls in the park. You can view the falls from a short walk to Lower Yosemite Falls viewpoint or take a longer hike to the top of Upper Yosemite Falls.
  • Vernal & Nevada Falls is one of the best waterfall hikes in the park. A short hike takes you to a viewpoint of Vernal Falls, but a more strenuous trail takes you to the top of both waterfalls in a loop.
  • Glacier Point is one of the most photographed spots in Yosemite, providing excellent views of Half Dome and Yosemite Valley.
  • Taft Point & Sentinel Dome is an incredible sunset hike off Glacier Point Road, providing panoramic views overlooking Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, and El Capitan.
  • Half Dome is one of the most challenging hikes in the park requiring adventure seekers to scale the curved rock face using cables and chains.

2. Sequoia National Park

  • Nearest City: Visalia, California
  • Size: 404,064 acres
  • Annual Visitors: 1,059,548
  • Founded: 1890
Hiker looking up at the giant sequoias on a hike in Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park is home to the world’s largest trees, the giant sequoias. Tucked away into the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Sequoia and its northern neighbor, Kings Canyon, form a joint park protecting huge trees and stunning landscapes.

The largest tree in the world, the General Sherman Tree, can be found here, measuring over 36-feet wide at its base. The Giant Forest offers plenty more massive sequoias to marvel at, from the Congress Trail to the Big Trees Trail.

In addition to massive trees, Sequoia has panoramic vistas, like Moro Rock, and the tallest point in the contiguous United States, Mount Whitney. Only a short drive away from Yosemite National Park, Sequoia is worth visiting.

Read More About Sequoia National Park:
18 Best Hikes in Sequoia
Best Campgrounds in Sequoia
Best Time of Year to Visit Sequoia

Best Things to Do in Sequoia National Park

  • General Sherman Tree is the largest tree in the world, standing at 275 feet tall and 36 feet wide. This 2,000-year-old tree weighs 2.5 million pounds and is accessible from a short hiking trail.
  • Congress Trail is one of the best hikes in the park, filled with ancient giant sequoias. This hike includes the General Sherman Tree, plus two more scenic groves named The Senate and The House, hence the trail name.
  • Big Trees Trail is another short loop through giant sequoias. The trail features boardwalk paths and informative signs on a sequoia tree’s history and life cycle.
  • Moro Rock is a challenging granite dome rock formation. Stairs have been carved into the rock, allowing for a challenging hike to spectacular sunset views of the Sierras.
  • Tunnel Log is a massive sequoia that fell many years ago to block the road. The park then carved a hole in the fallen tree that allows vehicles to drive through.

3. Kings Canyon National Park

  • Nearest City: Fresno, California
  • Size: 461,901 acres
  • Annual Visitors: 562,918
  • Founded: 1890
Trail to Mist Falls in Kings Canyon National Park

Kings Canyon National Park is one of the most underrated parks in California, with only half the visitors of neighbor Sequoia National Park. The two parks form an adjoining park unit, sharing a website and park staff!

Kings Canyon is also home to giant sequoias in the Grant Grove area, one of the best places to stay inside the park. The massive General Grant Tree is the second largest tree globally (after the German Sherman Tree!).

The iconic Kings Canyon Scenic Byway offers incredible views of the granite canyon and lush valley. This part of Kings Canyon is often called “Little Yosemite”, touting similar views without the crowds.

Read More about Kings Canyon National Park:
8 Best Hikes in Kings Canyon
7 Best Campgrounds in Kings Canyon

Best Things to Do in Kings Canyon National Park

  • General Grant Grove is home to the General Grant Tree, the second largest tree on the planet, only after the General Sherman Tree. This short loop through the grove is the perfect family-friendly activity.
  • Kings Canyon Scenic Byway is an excellent 50-mile scenic drive into the heart of Kings Canyon National Park and its iconic valley. Unfortunately, this route is only open in the summer due to heavy snowfall.

4. Redwood National and State Parks

  • Nearest City: Crescent City, California
  • Size: 138,999 acres
  • Annual Visitors: 435,879
  • Founded: 1968

Redwood National Park is one of the most serene parks in California, tucked away along the coast near the Oregon border. While Sequoia is home to the largest trees (the sequoia redwoods), Redwood is home to the world’s tallest trees (the coastal redwoods).

Unlike other national parks, Redwood National Park has partnered with three popular state parks, co-managing the area’s redwood groves.

Together, the national park plus Jedediah Smith Redwoods, Del Norte Coast, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks form the Redwood National and State Parks.

The world’s tallest tree, Hyperion, is hidden in the Tall Trees Grove, requiring a special access permit.

Beyond the mystical redwood groves, visitors can immerse themselves in the coastline with fern canyons, rugged beaches, and incredible scenic drives.

Read More About Redwood National Park:
Ultimate Guide to Visiting Redwood in 2022
25 Best Things to Do at Redwood
12 Best Hikes in Redwood
San Francisco to Redwood Road Trip

Best Things to Do in Redwood National & State Parks

  • Tall Trees Grove is a serene grove of redwoods containing Hyperion, the tallest tree in the world. Located in Redwood National Park, this hike requires a permit to access.
  • Stout Grove is a photogenic grove of old-growth coastal redwoods in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.
  • Lady Bird Johnson Grove is another spectacular redwood grove in Redwood National Park named after former first lady, Lady Bird Johnson.
  • Newton B. Drury Scenic Drive is a scenic drive in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, providing the opportunity to drive along with the redwoods and see grazing elk.
  • Enderts Beach is a popular coastal hike to tide pools near Crescent City in Del Norte Redwoods State Park.

5. Death Valley National Park

  • Nearest City: Lone Pine, California
  • Size: 3,373,063 acres
  • Annual Visitors: 1,146,551
  • Founded: 1933

Death Valley National Park is home to the lowest, driest, and hottest point in the United States. The park’s famous Badwater Basin is located 280 feet below sea level.

The arid national park is known for its hot weather much of the year, often reaching 120 degrees in the summer.

From the picturesque, rolling sand dunes at Mesquite Flats to the scenic viewpoints of Zabriskie Point and colorful Artist’s Palette, there are so many varying landscapes and attractions to see.

Death Valley is harsh for much of the year but offers incredible sunrise and sunset views when visited in the colder spring and fall months.

Spring is also the best time to catch the wildflower super bloom, typically from late March to early April. Unfortunately, the summer brings dangerous heat.

Best Things to Do in Death Valley National Park

  • Eureka Dunes sits at 3,000 feet elevation, one of the highest points in the park. This scenic dune field is the best in the park and the tallest dunes in California.
  • Badwater Basin is the lowest point in North America, sitting at 280 feet below sea level. The salt flats here are best seen at sunrise or sunset.
  • Zabriskie Point is one of the best sunrise spots in the park, providing panoramic views of the mountains surrounding Death Valley.
  • Artist’s Palette is a colorful region of the Black Mountains best seen in the afternoon. The landscape reflects beautiful pink, teal, and orange rocks.
  • Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes is another series of picturesque dunes and one of the most iconic features in Death Valley.

6. Joshua Tree National Park

  • Nearest City: Twentynine Palms, California
  • Size: 795,156 acres
  • Annual Visitors: 3,064,400
  • Founded: 1994

Joshua Tree National Park is one of the most visited parks in California, thanks to its proximity to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Palm Springs. As a result, this famous desert escape is a retreat for photographers, celebrities, and hikers alike.

The park’s boulders, namesake trees, and spiky cacti come from the intersection of two unique desert landscapes: the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert.

So while many come to see the famous Joshua Trees, the large boulders bring rock climbers.

The desert landscape comes alive at sunrise and sunset in Joshua Tree, with the unique, crooked trees casting shadows in the golden sunlight. Roadrunners, owls, and coyotes cover the park in these golden and blue hours.

As a certified dark sky park, Joshua Tree National Park is also an excellent place to visit for stargazing. You may even be able to spot the Milky Way!

Fall through spring are the busiest months in Joshua Tree. The mild temperatures make this time of year perfect for hiking and camping.

Read More About Joshua Tree National Park:
One Day in Joshua Tree Itinerary
5 Best Sunrise Spots in Joshua Tree

Best Things to Do in Joshua Tree National Park

  • Cholla Cactus Garden is one of the best places in the park to see the sunrise. These spiky, small cacti illuminate and glow magically in the morning light.
  • Hidden Valley Nature Trail is an easy hike through a valley filled with boulders and Joshua Trees.
  • Wall Street Mill is what remains of an abandoned gold mill from 1933. Joshua Tree’s iconic boulders frame this historic site.
  • Keys View is one the best places in the park to see the sunset, providing panoramic views over the valley and Palm Springs.
  • Arch Rock and Skull Rock are two photogenic boulders accessible just off the park’s main scenic drive.
  • Jumbo Rocks Campground is one of the best places to camp in Joshua Tree National Park, with campsites nestled amongst large boulders.

7. Lassen Volcanic National Park

  • Nearest City: Susanville, California
  • Size: 106,452 acres
  • Annual Visitors: 359,635
  • Founded: 1916
Lake in Lassen Volcanic National Park

In the northeast corner of California, Lassen Volcanic National Park is home to unique hydrothermal features reminiscent of Yellowstone.

Less than an hour from Redding and Mount Shasta, but a day’s drive from other major cities, Lassen Volcanic National Park offers a unique retreat unlike many others in California.

The park’s volcanic landscape makes this park a must-visit. Lassen is one of the few places where you can find composite, shield, cinder cone, and plug dome volcanoes all in one spot. In addition, the fuming hydrothermal features create a unique environment.

Beyond the volcanic features, you can relax by serene Manzanita Lake and admire the surrounding Cascade Mountains. Its more remote location means fewer crowds and plenty of space to enjoy the natural scenery.

Best Things to Do in Lassen Volcanic National Park

  • Bumpass Hell is a thermal area filled with mud pots, geysers, pools, and other sulfuric, boiling features. This area is very reminiscent of Yellowstone National Park.
  • Manzanita Lake is one of the most beautiful areas in Lassen. The mountain lake provides gorgeous views of Lassen Peak and the surrounding area.
  • Kings Creek Falls is a cascading 30-foot waterfall along a 2-mile easy hike.

8. Channel Islands National Park

  • Nearest City: Off the coast of Santa Barbara, California
  • Size: 249,561 acres
  • Annual Visitors: 319,252
  • Founded: 1980
A string of islands with yellow wildflowers growing near the viewpoint on Channel Islands National Park in California

Channel Islands National Park is one of the newer parks in California, founded in the 1980s. This chain of five islands floats off the coast of Southern California, near Santa Barbara.

The Channel Islands can only be reached by boat or seaplane, keeping crowds here to a minimum compared to other national parks in California.

Visitors can hop aboard a ferry from either Oxnard or Ventura to make a day trip to a multi-day camping trip to the islands. The largest island, Santa Cruz Island, is the most popular to visit, with hiking, camping, and kayaking that appeals to everyone.

The Channel Islands is known for its plentiful wildlife, sometimes called the “Galapagos of North America”. The islands are home to more than 2,000 plant and animal species.

Depending on the time of year, you may see dolphins, whales, elephant seals, and bald eagles around the islands.

Best Things to Do in Channel Island National Park

  • Santa Cruz Island is the largest of the five Channel Islands. There’s no shortage of incredible things to do here, including short hiking trails, kayaking, snorkeling, and camping.
  • Ferry Ride to the Channel Islands is one of the best parts of visiting! With plentiful opportunities to take in the coastline and see wildlife, the one-hour ride is well worth it.
  • Inspiration Point Trail is a short wildflower-filled hiking trail to a panoramic viewpoint on Anacapa Island.

9. Pinnacles National Park

  • Nearest City: Soledad, California
  • Size: 26,606 acres
  • Annual Visitors: 348,857
  • Founded: 2013
A colorful prairie of tall, dry grass sits between two small mountains in Pinnacles National Park in California

Pinnacles National Park is the newest park added to California’s National Park System. Located about two hours south of San Francisco, inland from the Monterey Bay, Pinnacles is known for its caves and rocky spires.

The talus caves provide plenty of opportunities for unique, adventurous hikes. The surrounding volcanic rock, called “pinnacles”, was formed by magma.

In addition to amazing geologic landscapes, the park is home to the endangered California Condor, making this an excellent park for birdwatching.

Pinnacles’ close location to San Francisco, Big Sur, or Monterey makes it an excellent place for a national park day trip.

The best time to visit Pinnacles National Park is the spring or fall when temperatures are milder.

Best Things to Do in Pinnacles National Park

  • Bear Gulch Cave Trail is a hike and cave tour to one of Pinnacles’ talus caves. The peaceful trail takes you through the park’s iconic features and along a calm creek.
  • Bear Gulch Reservoir is a scenic dam completed in 1935 and can be reached via a hike on the Moses Spring Trail.
  • High Peaks Trail is a challenging 6-mile loop overlooking incredible views of the pinnacles and mountains.
  • See the California Condor inside the park, an endangered bird species with a nearly 10-foot wingspan.

10. Point Reyes National Seashore

  • Nearest City: Point Reyes Station, California
  • Size: 71,028 acres
  • Annual Visitors: 2,738,098
  • Founded: 1962

While not an official “national park”, Point Reyes National Seashore is still one of the most visited parks in California, with nearly 3 million visitors per year. The federally protected seashore protects over 150 miles of trails along the coast about one hour north of San Francisco.

The park’s allure includes scenic forests, rugged coastline, and wildlife-filled estuaries and marshes. It’s common to see animals like tule elk, whales, and seals.

Ancient cypress trees are scattered throughout the park, best seen at the picturesque Cypress Tree Tunnel.

For a taste of the park’s excellent hiking, don’t miss Tomales Point or Alamere Falls, one of only three tide falls in the United States.

In addition, Point Reyes offers several opportunities to stay at coveted hike-in campgrounds like Sky or Wildcat if you’re interested in camping.

Read More: Northern California Coast Road Trip

Best Things to Do in Point Reyes National Seashore

  • Point Reyes Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse overlooking the Pacific Ocean, offering 360-degree panoramic views.
  • Cypress Tree Tunnel is an Instagram-worthy tunnel arch of cragged Cypress trees.
  • Point Reyes Shipwreck is an abandoned shipwreck along the scenic drive through Point Reyes.
  • Alamere Falls Trail is one of the best hikes in the park, leading to a waterfall feeding directly into the ocean.
  • Tomales Point Trail is a bucket-list hike along the coast, filled with tule elk.

11. Devils Postpile National Monument

  • Nearest City: Mammoth Lakes, California
  • Size: 798 acres
  • Annual Visitors: 145,387
  • Founded: 1911
Rock formations at Devils Postpile National Monument

In addition to the nine national parks, California is also home to several national monuments, including Devils Postpile National Monument. This small park on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains protects a rare columnar basalt formation.

This unique phenomenon occurs when thick basalt lava flows cool into hexagonal columns. The columnar basalts are exceedingly rare, with Devils Postpile serving as one of the best examples in the world and others in Ireland and Iceland.

While there isn’t much to do in this national monument aside from seeing the jaw-dropping “post piles”, a visit to Devils Postpile is well-worth the trip, especially if you are already on a Highway 395 road trip between Death Valley and Tahoe.

Devils Postpile and the greater Mammoth Lakes area get heavy snow from November to May, making summer the best time to visit this national monument.

Best Things to Do in Devils Postpile National Monument

  • Devils Postpile is the namesake feature and the only must-see in the park. It can be reached via a short, 1-mile easy hike.
  • Rainbow Falls is a picturesque 101-foot waterfall along an easy 2.5-mile hike along a river. 

12. Cabrillo National Monument

  • Nearest City: San Diego, California
  • Size: 143.9 acres
  • Annual Visitors: 683,613
  • Founded: 1913
Statue atop Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument is one of the few city parks on this list, located on the Point Loma Peninsula just outside of downtown San Diego in southern California. The historic monument honors Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who made history in 1542 as the first European explorer to reach the west coast.

Here you’ll find a picturesque state paired with panoramic coastal views overlooking San Diego. You can even see across the border into Mexico on a clear day!

In addition to incredible views, visitors can enjoy the scenic waterfront pathway and a beach filled with tide pools.

Best Things to Do in Cabrillo National Monument

  • See the Cabrillo statue that offers incredible views in every direction. It’s the perfect introduction to the park.
  • Old Point Loma Lighthouse is an abandoned lighthouse that has been restored for tourism. 
  • Bayside Trail is an excellent walking trail along the water, starting at Old Point Loma Lighthouse, offering informative signs on the area’s history.

13. Muir Woods National Monument

  • Nearest City: Mill Valley, California
  • Size: 554 acres
  • Annual Visitors: 657,722
  • Founded: 1908
Redwoods in Muir Woods National Monument

Muir Woods National Monument is the most famous monument in California. This popular park protects ancient old-growth coastal redwoods only a few miles from San Francisco, just across the Golden Gate Bridge.

The park gets its name from John Muir, the devoted naturalist who helped found Yosemite National Park and the National Park Service. 

While it is a national monument, Muir Woods is also part of the larger Golden Gate National Recreation Area that protects much of the Bay Area’s natural landscapes. 

A trip to Muir Woods is an essential part of any San Francisco itinerary.

However, for those who can’t make the 5+ hour drive to Redwood National Park in northern California, this park provides excellent opportunities to immerse yourself among the redwoods, the tallest trees globally.

Best Things to Do in Muir Woods National Monument

  • Cathedral Grove is one of the most scenic groves in the park, reached via the main loop hiking trails through Muir Woods.
  • Ben Johnson-Dipsea Loop Trail is a stunning 4-mile hike that offers views of redwoods, plus Mount Tamalpais, San Francisco, and the ocean.

14. Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

  • Nearest City: Malibu, California
  • Size: 157,700 acres
  • Annual Visitors: 830,451
  • Founded: 1978

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area offers picturesque mountain views and hikes just outside of Los Angeles, California’s most significant population center. The park stretches from Santa Monica in Los Angeles up the coast to Oxnard, hugging the coastline through Malibu. 

The Santa Monica Mountains are the perfect outdoor retreat on a day trip from Los Angeles.

The rugged waterfront mountains and rolling hills are excellent for photo-worthy hikes and camping trips. The recreation area also encompasses several state parks, including Point Mugu State Park, renowned for hiking trails.

Best Things to Do in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

  • Point Dume Nature Preserve is located along the Pacific Coast Highway at the northernmost point of Santa Monica Bay. Here you’ll find beautiful ocean views and beaches.
  • Point Mugu State Park offers the Backbone Trail System, a beautiful series of 70 miles of trails with panoramic views.
  • Paramount Ranch Western Town is located inside the park. The historic old western movie town is still used for movie production today.

15. Golden Gate National Recreation Area

  • Nearest City: San Francisco, California
  • Size: 82,116 acres
  • Annual Visitors: 13,712,614
  • Founded: 1972
Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

Golden Gate National Recreation Area is the most visited of California’s national parks, getting more than four times the visitors as Yosemite National Park each year.

This expansive park protects more than 80,000 acres in San Francisco and the Marin Headlands, to the Point Reyes National Seashore to the north.

Here you’ll find iconic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and Lands End in San Francisco. To the north, the rolling, mountainous hills in the Marin Headlands offer spectacular coastal hiking opportunities, perfect for a day trip from San Francisco.

Best Things to Do in Golden Gate National Recreation Area

  • Crissy Field in San Francisco provides excellent views of the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • Muir Beach Overlook provides excellent opportunities to spot whales on the migration from December to February.
  • Point Bonita Lighthouse is located along a rocky trail overlooking the Bay, San Francisco, and the Golden Gate Bridge from Marin County.
  • Tennessee Valley Trail is a beautiful system of trails through the Marin Headlands, overlooking the ocean and rolling hills in Marin County.

16. King Range National Conservation Area

  • Location: Humboldt County, California
  • Size: 68,000 acres
  • Founded: 1970
Pacific Ocean along the Lost Coast in California

The King Range National Conservation Area is one of California’s most remote national parks. This park protects the rugged King Range mountains that dramatically dive down to meet the Pacific Ocean. 

Here, the coastline includes the Lost Coast, the longest stretch of undeveloped coastline in the contiguous United States. This famous area is home to a renowned backpacking route, which requires a special permit and knowledge of tides to hike. 

Non-hikers can enjoy Mattole Road, a unique opportunity to see the Lost Coast by car. In addition, a trip to Shelter Cove and Black Sand Beach provides a small glimpse at the coastline in the King Range NCA.

Read More: Lost Coast Road Trip Itinerary

Best Things to Do in King Range & The Lost Coast

  • Mattole Road Loop provides an opportunity to see the Lost Coast up close by vehicle. The road starts in Ferndale and reconnects with Highway 101 in Humboldt Redwoods State Park along Avenue of the Giants.
  • Shelter Cove is a coastal resort town loved by photographers, hikers, and anglers. It’s an excellent peaceful retreat with several lodges, restaurants, and hiking trails.

Frequently Asked Questions about National Parks Near California

What are the names of California’s national parks?

The nine national parks in California, ranked from best to last, are:

  1. Yosemite National Park
  2. Sequoia National Park
  3. Kings Canyon National Park
  4. Redwood National Park
  5. Death Valley National Park
  6. Joshua Tree National Park
  7. Lassen Volcanic National Park
  8. Channel Islands National Park
  9. Pinnacles National Park

Does California have the most national parks?

California is home to nine national parks, more than any other state in the United States. California’s parks include the famed Yosemite, Death Valley, and Joshua Tree parks. Plus, it is home to the lowest and highest point in the contiguous US and the world’s tallest trees.

What is the most visited national park in California?

The most visited national park in California is Yosemite National Park, with more than 3 million visitors each year. However, the most visited site managed by the National Park Service in California is the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco, with 13 million annual visitors.

What is the most famous park in California?

Yosemite National Park is the most famous of the national parks in California. The picturesque canyon and waterfalls make it easy to see why more than 3 million visitors come here each year. Yosemite was also the inspiration for John Muir and the National Park Service.

What is the newest national park in California?

Pinnacles National Park is the newest national park in California, founded in 2013. This park is home to rocky terrain, unique pinnacles, and talus caves. In addition, it’s one of the few places in the world to see the endangered California condor bird.

What is the biggest park in California?

The biggest national park in California is Death Valley National Park. It is more than 3 million acres in size, stretching across the desert of southern California. In addition, it is also the lowest, hottest, and driest spot in North America.

Final Thoughts on the California National Parks Ranked

While there are many national parks in California, these are the best and should be added to any California road trip.

These are the best national parks in California:

  1. Yosemite National Park
  2. Sequoia National Park
  3. Kings Canyon National Park
  4. Redwood National Park
  5. Death Valley National Park
  6. Joshua Tree National Park
  7. Lassen Volcanic National Park
  8. Channel Islands National Park
  9. Pinnacles National Park
  10. Point Reyes National Seashore
  11. Devils Postpile National Monument
  12. Cabrillo National Monument
  13. Muir Woods National Monument
  14. Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
  15. Golden Gate National Recreation Area
  16. King Range National Conservation Area

Are you looking for more California national park inspiration? Don’t miss these posts:

Are you planning a national park trip but don’t know where to start? Get my free 28-page national park ebook where I break down everything you need to know to visit all 63 USA national parks.

Download your free ebook here.

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