Yosemite National Park, California. Photo ©Darby Hayes

California

Yosemite National Park ©Darby Hayes

California Parks

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Parks

  • Alcatraz Island

    San Francisco, CA

    Alcatraz Island offers a close-up look at the site of the first lighthouse and US built fort on the West Coast, the infamous federal penitentiary long off-limits to the public, and the 18 month occupation by Indians of All Tribes which saved the tribes. Rich in history, there is also a natural side to the Rock—gardens, tide pools, bird colonies, and bay views beyond compare.

  • National Monument

    Cabrillo

    San Diego, CA

    Climbing out of his boat and onto shore in 1542, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo stepped into history as the first European to set foot on what is now the West Coast of the United States. In addition to telling the story of 16th century exploration, the park is home to a wealth of cultural and natural resources. Join us and embark on your own Voyage of Discovery.

  • National Historic Trail

    California

    Various States, CA,CO,ID,KS,MO,NE,NV,OR,UT,WY

    Follow in the footsteps of over 250,000 emigrants who traveled to the gold fields and rich farmlands of California during the 1840s and 1850s-the greatest mass migration in American history. More than 1,000 miles of trail ruts and traces can still be seen across 10 states on the California National Historic Trail.

  • National Monument

    César E. Chávez

    Yes, we can! Widely recognized as the most important Latino leader in the United States during the twentieth century, César E. Chávez led farm workers and supporters in the establishment of the country's first permanent agricultural union. His leadership brought sustained international attention to the plight of U.S. farm workers, and secured for them higher wages and safer working conditions

  • National Park

    Channel Islands

    Ventura, CA

    Channel Islands National Park encompasses five remarkable islands and their ocean environment, preserving and protecting a wealth of natural and cultural resources. Isolation over thousands of years has created unique animals, plants, and archeological resources found nowhere else on Earth and helped preserve a place where visitors can experience coastal southern California as it once was.

  • National Park

    Death Valley

    Death Valley, CA,NV

    In this below-sea-level basin, steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Yet, each extreme has a striking contrast. Towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life survives in Death Valley.

  • National Monument

    Devils Postpile

    the Sierra Nevada near Mammoth Lakes, CA

    Established in 1911 by presidential proclamation, Devils Postpile National Monument protects and preserves the Devils Postpile formation, the 101-foot high Rainbow Falls, and pristine mountain scenery. The formation is a rare sight in the geologic world and ranks as one of the world's finest examples of columnar basalt. Its columns tower 60 feet high and display an unusual symmetry.

  • National Historic Site

    Eugene O'Neill

    Danville, CA

    America's only Nobel Prize winning playwright, Eugene O'Neill, chose to live in Northern California at the height of his writing career. Isolated from the world and within the walls of his home, O'Neill wrote his final and most memorable plays; The Iceman Cometh, Long Day's Journey Into Night, and A Moon for the Misbegotten. The park is closed for tours on Mondays and Tuesdays.

  • National Historic Site

    Fort Point

    Presidio of San Francisco, CA

    From its vantage point overlooking the spectacular Golden Gate, Fort Point protected San Francisco harbor from Confederate and foreign attack during and after the U.S. Civil War. Its beautifully arched casemates display the art of the master brick mason from the Civil War period.

  • National Recreation Area

    Golden Gate

    San Francisco, CA

    Golden Gate National Recreation Area chronicles two hundred years of history, from the Native American culture, the Spanish Empire frontier, the California Gold Rush, the evolution of American coastal fortifications, and the growth of urban San Francisco. It has hundreds of ways to recreate including horseback riding, ranger-led programs, bicycling, hiking, water sports and walking your dog.

  • National Historic Site

    John Muir

    Martinez, CA

    John Muir played many roles in his life, all of which helped him succeed in his role as an advocate for Nature. As America’s most famous naturalist and conservationist, Muir fought to protect the wild places he loved, places we can still visit today. Muir’s writings convinced the U.S. government to protect Yosemite, Sequoia, Grand Canyon and Mt. Rainier as national parks.

  • National Park

    Joshua Tree

    Southern California between I-10 and Hwy 62; headquarters in Twentynine Palms, CA

    Viewed from the road, this desert park only hints at its vitality. Closer examination reveals a fascinating variety of plants and animals that make their home in this land shaped by strong winds, unpredictable torrents of rain, and climatic extremes. Dark night skies, a rich cultural history, and surreal geologic features add to the attraction of this place. Come see for yourself!

  • National Historic Trail

    Juan Bautista de Anza

    Nogales, AZ to San Francisco, CA, AZ,CA

    "Everyone mount up!" was the rousing call from Juan Bautista de Anza. In 1775-76, Anza led more than 240 men, women and children on an epic journey to establish a settlement at San Francisco Bay. Follow their legacy along a 1,200-mile historic trail from Nogales, Arizona, to the Bay Area. For a dynamic online Anza Trail experience, follow the link below to our partner site AnzaHistoricTrail.org:

  • National Park

    Lassen Volcanic

    Mineral, CA

    Lassen Volcanic National Park is home to smoking fumaroles, meadows freckled with wildflowers, clear mountain lakes, and numerous volcanoes. Jagged peaks tell the story of its eruptive past while hot water continues to mold the land. Lassen Volcanic offers opportunities to discover the wonder and mysteries of volcanoes and hot water for visitors willing to explore the undiscovered.

  • National Monument

    Lava Beds

    Tulelake, CA

    Lava Beds National Monument is a land of turmoil, both geological and historical. Over the last half-million years, volcanic eruptions on the Medicine Lake shield volcano have created a rugged landscape dotted with diverse volcanic features. More than 700 caves, Native American rock art sites, historic battlefields and campsites, and a high desert wilderness experience await you!

  • National Historic Site

    Manzanar

    Independence, CA

    In 1942, the United States government ordered more than 110,000 men, women, and children to leave their homes and detained them in remote, military-style camps. Manzanar War Relocation Center was one of ten camps where Japanese American citizens and resident Japanese aliens were interned during World War II.

  • National Preserve

    Mojave

    Southern California between I-15 and I-40; headquarters in Barstow, CA

    Singing sand dunes, volcanic cinder cones, Joshua tree forests, and carpets of wildflowers are all found at this 1.6 million acre park. A visit to its canyons, mountains and mesas will reveal long-abandoned mines, homesteads, and rock-walled military outposts. Located between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Mojave provides serenity and solitude from major metropolitan areas.

  • National Monument

    Muir Woods

    Mill Valley, CA

    When John Muir learned that William and Elizabeth Kent were naming a redwood forest near San Francisco in his honor, he declared, "This is the best tree-lovers monument that could possibly be found in all the forests of the world." The couple had purchased the land to preserve its beauty and restful wilderness; and in 1908, they donated it to the federal government to protect it from destruction.

  • National Historic Trail

    Old Spanish

    AZ,CA,CO,NV,NM,UT

    Follow the routes of mule pack trains across the Southwest on the Old Spanish National Historic Trail between Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Los Angeles, California. New Mexican traders moved locally produced merchandise across what are now six states to exchange for mules and horses.

  • National Park

    Pinnacles

    Paicines, CA

    At America’s Newest National Park, the possibilities for discovery are limitless! Climbing and hiking among the breathtaking spires and rock formations that gave Pinnacles its name is only the beginning of what the park has to offer. Come seek out the California condor in the High Peaks, explore the rare chaparral vegetation and carpets of wildflowers, or just picnic at the visitor center.

  • National Seashore

    Point Reyes

    Point Reyes, CA

    From its thunderous ocean breakers crashing against rocky headlands and expansive sand beaches to its open grasslands, brushy hillsides, and forested ridges, Point Reyes offers visitors over 1500 species of plants and animals to discover. Home to several cultures over thousands of years, the Seashore preserves a tapestry of stories and interactions of people. Point Reyes awaits your exploration.

  • National Historic Trail

    Pony Express

    Various States, CA,CO,KS,MO,NE,NV,UT,WY

    It is hard to believe that young men once rode horses to carry mail from Missouri to California in the unprecedented time of only 10 days. This relay system along the Pony Express National Historic Trail in eight states was the most direct and practical means of east-west communications before the telegraph.

  • National Memorial

    Port Chicago Naval Magazine

    Concord Naval Weapons Station, CA

    On the evening of July 17, 1944, residents in the San Francisco east bay area were jolted awake by a massive explosion that cracked windows and lit up the night sky. At Port Chicago Naval Magazine, 320 men were instantly killed when two ships being loaded with ammunition for the Pacific theater troops blew up. It was WWII's worst home front disaster. THE MEMORIAL IS CLOSED UNTIL OCTOBER 4, 2014

  • Presidio of San Francisco

    San Francisco, CA

    For 218 years, the Presidio served as an army post for three nations. World and local events, from military campaigns to World Fairs and earthquakes, left their mark. Come enjoy the history and the natural beauty of the Presidio. Explore centuries of architecture. Reflect in a national cemetery. Walk along an historic airfield, through forests or to beaches, and admire spectacular vistas.

  • National and State Parks

    Redwood

    Del Norte & Humboldt counties , CA

    Most people know Redwood as home to the tallest trees on Earth. But the parks also protect vast prairies, oak woodlands, wild riverways, and nearly 40 miles of pristine coastline, all supporting a rich mosaic of wildlife diversity and cultural traditions. Together, the National Park Service and California State Parks manage these lands for the inspiration, enjoyment, and education of all people.

  • National Historical Park

    Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front

    Richmond, CA

    Explore and honor the efforts and sacrifices of American civilians on the World War II home front. Find out how they lived, worked and got along. Many faces, many stories, many truths weave a complex tapestry of myths and realities from this time of opportunity and loss.

  • National Historical Park

    San Francisco Maritime

    San Francisco, CA

    Stand on the stern of BALCLUTHA, face west to feel the fresh wind blowing in from the Pacific Ocean. Located in the Fisherman's Wharf neighborhood, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park offers the sights, sounds, smells and stories of Pacific Coast maritime history.

  • National Recreation Area

    Santa Monica Mountains

    Thousand Oaks, CA

    Hidden in plain sight, the Santa Monica Mountains offer easy access to surprisingly wild places. Experience the famous beaches of Malibu or explore more than 500 miles of trails. The park abounds with historical and cultural sites, from old movie ranches to Native American centers. What will you and your family discover?

  • National Parks

    Sequoia & Kings Canyon

    In the southern Sierra Nevada in Tulare and Fresno counties, CA

    This landscape testifies to nature's size, beauty, and diversity - huge mountains, rugged foothills, deep canyons, vast caverns, and the world's largest trees. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks lie side-by-side in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of the San Joaquin Valley. Visitor activities vary by season and elevation (1,370 to 14,494 feet).

  • National Recreation Area

    Whiskeytown

    Whiskeytown, CA

    Whiskeytown Lake’s beautiful sapphire-blue waters, surrounded by mountain peaks, are perhaps the most prominent feature of the park. However, water-based recreation is only a small part of what the park has to offer. The 39,000 acres surrounding the lake hold four waterfalls, pristine mountain creeks, 70 miles of trails, and opportunities to explore the history of the California Gold Rush.

  • National Monument

    World War II Valor in the Pacific

    Honolulu, HI,AK,CA

    World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument preserves and interprets the stories of the Pacific War, including the events at Pearl Harbor, the internment of Japanese Americans, the battles in the Aleutians, and the occupation of Japan.

  • National Park

    Yosemite

    the Sierra Nevada, CA

    Not just a great valley, but a shrine to human foresight, the strength of granite, the power of glaciers, the persistence of life, and the tranquility of the High Sierra. First protected in 1864, Yosemite National Park is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more.