California's Wilderness Wonders: Must-Visit Parks

California, the Golden State, is renowned for its stunning natural landscapes, from rugged coastlines to towering mountains. Among its many treasures, California boasts an impressive collection of national and state parks, each offering a unique blend of natural beauty and outdoor adventures. Let's explore some of our favorites in the state, showing what makes each one special and the exciting activities you can enjoy there.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is a world-famous wilderness wonderland. Visitors are awed by iconic landmarks like El Capitan, Half Dome, and Yosemite Falls. Activities range from hiking through the Mist Trail to taking in breathtaking vistas from Glacier Point. Don't miss the opportunity to explore Mariposa Grove, home to some of the world's largest sequoias. 

Xplorer Maps hand-drawn map of California close-up of Yosemite National Park.

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park is a haven for giant sequoias, including the General Sherman Tree, the largest living tree on Earth. Visitors can hike amidst these ancient giants in the Giant Forest, drive through Tunnel Log, and explore Crystal Cave. For adrenaline seekers, backcountry hiking and rock climbing are popular options.

Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Located in Northern California, Humboldt Redwoods State Park boasts some of the tallest and oldest redwood trees in the world. Enjoy leisurely drives along the Avenue of the Giants, hike through the lush forests, and kayak on the Eel River. The park also offers excellent camping facilities.


Xplorer Maps hand-drawn map of California close-up of Redwoods State Park.


Henry W. Coe State Park

Henry W. Coe State Park is California's second-largest state park, offering rugged terrain and stunning vistas. Backpacking, horseback riding, and mountain biking are popular activities here. And if you’re up to the challenge, hike to the top of Mount Sizer for panoramic views of the Diablo Range.

Lassen Volcanic National Park

This lesser-known gem features unique hydrothermal wonders, including the bubbling mud pots at Bumpass Hell. Lassen Peak offers challenging hiking opportunities, and visitors can explore the park's volcanic history at the visitor center. In the winter, the area becomes a snowshoeing and cross-country skiing paradise.


Xplorer Maps hand-drawn map of California close-up of Lassen Volcanic National Park.


Kings Canyon National Park

Often overshadowed by its neighbor, Sequoia, Kings Canyon National Park offers its own share of stunning scenery. Marvel at the depths of Kings Canyon, backpack the Rae Lakes Loop and explore Zumwalt Meadow. The park's remote wilderness beckons backpackers to discover hidden gems.


Redwood National and State Parks

Stretching along the northern coast, this combination of state and national parks protects magnificent coastal redwoods and pristine coastline. Explore the Tall Trees Grove, hike the Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail, and take in the dramatic seascapes along the Coastal Trail.

Channel Islands National Park

Just off the coast of southern California, Channel Islands National Park offers a unique maritime experience. Enjoy hiking, snorkeling, scuba diving, and wildlife watching on these isolated islands. Each island has its own charm, from Anacapa's iconic arch to Santa Cruz's lush landscapes.

Xplorer Maps hand-drawn map of California close-up of Channel Islands National Park.

California's national and state parks offer an abundance of natural wonders and outdoor activities for all to enjoy. Whether you seek towering trees, rugged mountain terrain, or desert landscapes, these parks showcase the incredible diversity of the Golden State's natural beauty. Make sure to plan your visit and immerse yourself in the unparalleled experiences each park has to offer.