The state containing the most National Parks is California. California has nine National Parks. The immense north-south stretch of California, nearly 900 miles, gives it the advantage of containing many different types of climates, terrains, and landscapes. The national parks in California contain an amazing array of environments such as beaches, deserts, canyons and forests.
Channel Island National Park
Five islands make up Channel Island National Park, which is located off the coast of southern California. The islands are only accessible by boat or plane. Their isolated and remote location means many plants, animals and resources found here are completely unique to the park. There are no hotels, stores or restaurants here, in a place often called the “Galapagos of North America”.
Death Valley National Park
Straddling the California – Nevada boarder, Death Valley is the largest national park in the lower 48 states and protects the northwest corner of the Mojave Desert. It also contains the second lowest elevation (282 feet below sea level) in the Western Hemisphere. One of the hottest and driest places in North America, Death Valley is known for its sand dunes and salt flats.
Joshua Tree National Park
Located in southeastern California, this park encompasses an area larger than the state of Rhode Island. It contains parts of two deserts, the higher elevation Mojave Desert and lower elevation Colorado desert. The Mojave Desert is known for its Joshua Trees, a unique species of Yucca plants native to this region.
Kings Canyon National Park
This park consists of a mountainous area located in the southern Sierra Nevadas. The park is named after “Kings Canyon”, a rugged glacier carved valley. Kings Canyon also contains some of the worlds largest strands of giant sequoia trees.
Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park is also located in the Sierra Nevada mountains, adjoining Kings Canyon. This park contains the highest point in the continental United States, Mount Whitney, at 14,505 feet. As its name would suggest, this park is notable for its giant sequoia trees. The “Giant Forest” within the park contains five of the ten largest trees in the world.
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Lassen is a geologically active area located in northeastern California at the end of the Cascade Mountain Range. It is one of the few areas in the world where all four types of volcanoes (plug dome, shield, cinder cone and stratovolcano) can be found. It also is home to the largest plug dome volcano in the world.
Redwood National Park
Redwood National Park is a collection of state and national forests. This area contains old-growth temperate rainforest land along the coast of northern California. A very ecologically important area, this park protects 45% of all the remaining coast redwood old growth forests. Coast Redwoods are the tallest trees on the planet.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite can be found in the Western Sierra Nevada mountains of central California. One of the most visited of the national parks, and known for its wilderness beauty including granite cliffs, waterfalls, giant sequoia groves, mountains and glaciers. Yosemite Valley was one of the first nationally protected areas, and paved the way for the beginnings of the national park system.
Pinnacles National Park
This park protects a mountainous area located east of the Salinas Valley in central California. It gets it names “Pinnacles” from the rock formations found here, which were left behind by the eroded remains of an extinct volcano.
For more information on Californias national parks, visit their official tourism page.