13 West Coast National Parks for Your Next Outdoor Adventure


Delightful range. Creating a listing of pure options of the West Coast nationwide parks is like randomly drawing phrases from a hat and making a sentence. Glaciated mountain peaks and large sequoia timber. Active volcanos and pristine alpine lakes. Unforgiving deserts and luxurious valleys.

And the vary of out of doors recreation is simply as plentiful. Hiking, biking, horseback using, kayaking, driving, mountain climbing, and stargazing. Pick any motion verb, and there may be almost definitely a spot to do it in a West Coast nationwide park.

Beyond the variety of pure options and out of doors recreation, the West Coast performed an essential position in creating the National Park Service. Less than 30 years after California was admitted to the Union, the state was the origin of the nationwide park concept. Following the precedent of the Yosemite Valley Grant Act, the primary nationwide park was established.

Four of the 5 oldest nationwide parks within the nation have been established on the West Coast – Sequoia, Yosemite, Mount Rainier, and Crater Lake.

The West Coast states have a repute for excellent nationwide parks – and so they’ve earned it. Redwood timber tower over the panorama, and large sequoia timber are as large as a cabin. Snow-capped mountains lined in glistening glaciers loom over valleys lush with wildflowers. Crystal clear water from the deepest lakes flows to the rugged shoreline.

It can be attainable to spend a lifetime exploring the 13 West Coast nationwide parks. Which one shall be your subsequent out of doors journey?

West Coast National Parks Map

What is the “West Coast?”

The English language has aged like a pair of well-worn gloves – free and now not becoming in simply the best locations. When I wrote an article about East Coast nationwide parks, I needed to outline “east coast” as a result of different lists included parks a thousand miles from the coast.

Now, I’m doing the identical for the “west coast.”

I feel any West Coast state ought to embody the shoreline. That makes it simple on that aspect of the nation – California, Oregon, and Washington. I didn’t embody Alaska as a result of that must be its personal article sooner or later.

After ending this record, I would create a round-up of nationwide parks within the “west” simply as quickly as I’ve outlined that area.

Photo courtesy of NPS.

No. 1

Channel Islands National Park

Aside from two customer facilities, everything of Channel Islands National Park is unfold throughout 5 spectacular islands. No highways throughout the islands – you’ll must discover this nationwide park on foot.

The sightseeing begins as quickly because the boat leaves the dock. Island Packers, the nationwide parks permitted concessionaire, gives boat journeys to Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands year-round and the opposite three islands seasonally. Pack meals, drinks, acceptable footwear, and produce your favourite out of doors gear for adventures on the islands.

On the islands, guests can discover trails and climb the very best peak for gorgeous views. Kayaking and snorkeling are two of the preferred actions on the water.

Ventura, California | 805-658-5730 | www.nps.gov/chis

Additional National Parks Units in California

Photo courtesy of NPS.

No. 2

Crater Lake National Park

7,700 years in the past, Native Americans witnessed a violent volcano eruption that brought on Mount Mazama to break down – forming Crater Lake. At 1,943-feet, it’s the deepest lake within the nation and one of many ten deepest on this planet. Fed totally by rain and melted snow, the water is pristine and clear almost 100 ft beneath the floor.

Crater Lake National Park is Oregon’s solely nationwide park. Covering 180,000 acres throughout the Cascade Ridge Mountains, the nationwide park protects the lake and gives plentiful out of doors recreation.

The Cleetwood Cove Trail is a well-liked hike within the nationwide park, resulting in the sting of Crater Lake. The strenuous 1.1-mile path descends 700-feet from the parking space alongside East Rim Drive. An simpler technique to benefit from the surroundings within the nationwide park is the 33-mile Rim Drive. Thirty overlooks with loads of parking gives an opportunity to step out of the automotive and instantly take within the view.

Crater Lake, Oregon | 541-594-3000 | www.nps.gov/crla

Additional National Park Units in Oregon

A snow-capped Telescope Peak looms over Badwater Road in Death Valley National Park. Photo courtesy of NPS/Kurt Moses.

No. 3

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park is the nation’s hottest, lowest, and driest place. And at 3.4-million acres, it’s the biggest nationwide park within the continental United States. It’s an unforgiving surroundings however a panoramic place to go to.

The nationwide park has few trails however over 1,000 miles of paved and filth roads. Four-wheel drive autos are required to discover lots of the backcountry roads. All automobiles can drive the Artists Palette Scenic Loop, a one-way highway via a very stunning space of the nationwide park. Zabriskie Point is the most effective place to observe dawn or sundown, and Dante’s View gives probably the most spectacular overlooks within the nationwide park.

Death Valley National Park is a “Gold Tier” rated International Dark Sky Park. The nationwide park is open twenty-four hours a day, so anybody can go to at evening – simply bear in mind to pack a terrific journey telescope.

Death Valley, California | 760-786-3200 | www.nps.gov/deva

Additional National Parks Units in California

Photo courtesy of NPS/Robb Hannawacker.

No. 4

Joshua Tree National Park

In southern California, the fascinating collision of the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert is preserved in Joshua Tree National Park. The eponymous timber characteristic oddly formed limbs and difficult inexperienced leaves.

Backpacking and mountaineering are in style actions within the 792,000-acre nationwide park. The 1.7-mile Skull Rock Trail incorporates a journey to the path’s namesake. The 1.1-mile Barker Dam Trail options bighorn sheep and a water tank constructed by early cattle ranchers. The 4-mile Lost Horse Mine Trail results in a preserved mill from the early gold rush days. Climbers, boulderers, and highliners from all over the world go to Joshua Tree National Park to sort out the 8,000 climbing routes.

Backcountry roads unfold throughout the park, permitting four-wheel-drive autos to depart the pavement behind. The 18-mile Geology Tour Road is the preferred route within the nationwide park. The highway passes via an enchanting panorama with scenic overlooks, mountaineering trails, and climbing routes.

In 2017, Joshua Tree National Park was designated as an International Dark Sky Park. Pack your journey telescope and prepare for an evening of stargazing in southern California.

Twentynine Palms, California | 760-367-5500 | www.nps.gov/jotr

Additional National Parks Units in California

View of Kings Canyon from Lookout Peak. Photo courtesy of NPS/Rick Cain.

No. 5

Kings Canyon National Park

Kings Canyon National Park was established in 1940, incorporating General Grant National Park into the brand new nationwide park’s boundaries.

Towering 267-feet tall and 29-feet in diameter on the floor, the General Sherman Tree is the biggest sequoia tree within the nationwide park. It’s the location of the annual “Trek to the Tree,” a Christmas occasion began by the Sanger Chamber of Commerce in 1926. During a 1956 ceremony attended by Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, President Eisenhower declared the General Sherman Tree a National Shrine – it’s the one residing shrine within the nation.

Generals Highway from the Lodgepole Visitor Center to Grant Grove, the placement of the General Grant Tree, is without doubt one of the scenic drives via Kings Canyon National Park. The 28-mile paved route features a few overlooks at meadows and mountains, together with the Kings Canyon Overlook with a sweeping view of the nationwide park.

Highway 180 is one other in style driving route, though it leaves the nationwide park’s boundaries for a majority of the 35-mile route. The paved highway consists of peaceable meadows, waterfalls, and gorgeous scenic overlooks alongside the best way.

Since World War II, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks have been administered along with a single admission price.

Three Rivers, California | 559 565-3341 | www.nps.gov/seki

Additional National Parks Units in California

Photo courtesy of NPS/Victoria Stauffenberg.

No. 6

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Three hours from Sacramento and Carson City and an hour from the closest interstate freeway, Lassen Volcanic National Park is distant. The nationwide park preserves 106,000 acres of jagged mountain peaks, steaming fumaroles, and alpine lakes within the Sierra Nevada Mountains in northern California.

More than 150 miles of mountaineering trails present entry to the pure wonders of the nationwide park. The 1.7-mile Manzanita Lake Trail is a straightforward hike across the lake with views of Lassen Peak. The 2.3-mile Kings Creek Falls Trail is a strenuous hike with a 700-foot elevation change that options an overlook on the 30-foot cascading waterfall. One of the preferred trails within the park is the 3-mile Bumpass Hell Trail. With solely a 200-foot elevation change on a packed gravel path, the path explores the biggest space of hydrothermal vents within the park.

Fishing, boating, and swimming are in style actions on the alpine lakes. Although not an authorized darkish sky park, Lassen Volcanic National Park is in style for stargazing and is dwelling to the annual Dark Sky Festival.

The 30-mile Lassen Volcanic National Highway is one of the best ways to expertise your complete nationwide park. The two-lane paved highway connects the northwest and southwest entrances, passing via the park. The highway options scenic views of the alpine lakes, valleys, and mountain peaks and entry to mountaineering trails.

Mineral, California | 530 595-4480 | www.nps.gov/lavo

Additional National Parks Units in California

Photo courtesy of NPS.

No. 7

Mount Rainier National Park

Towering 14,410-feet above sea degree, Mount Rainier is essentially the most glaciated mountain within the continental United States. And it’s additionally an energetic volcano.

Established in 1899, Mount Rainier National Park was the nation’s fourth nationwide park. Sprawling throughout 236,000-feet two hours southeast of Seattle, the park options mountaineering trails, mountain climbing, and scenic drives.

The 5.5-mile Skyline Trail is without doubt one of the hottest within the nationwide park. The strenuous path incorporates a 1,700-foot elevation change because it winds alongside the ridges and descends into Paradise Valley. The path options gorgeous views of Mount Rainier and Nisqually Glacier. A portion of the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,653-mile nationwide scenic path, passes via the japanese a part of the nationwide park – Tipsoo Lake is an efficient day hike space on the path.

Paradise Valley is arguably essentially the most attractive place to go to in Mount Rainier National Park. The Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center is centrally situated within the valley, making it the proper place for day mountaineering. Wildflowers cowl the valley in a fantastic tapestry of vibrant colours throughout the spring and summer time months. During the winter months, 54-feet of annual snow cowl the valley, reworking it into a well-liked place for snowshoeing, cross-country snowboarding, and sledding.

At 6,400-feet in elevation, Sunrise is the very best level within the park that anybody can drive. A customer middle, consolation station, and picnic space make it a terrific place to spend just a few hours.

Ashford, Washington | 360 569-2211 | www.nps.gov/mora

Additional National Park Units in Washington

Photo courtesy of NPS/Michael Liang.

No. 8

North Cascades National Park

Over 300 glaciers cowl the alpine panorama of North Cascades National Park, about three hours north of Seattle. It’s a calmly trafficked nationwide park, which implies you’ll have fewer folks to take care of on the paths.

The nationwide park options dozens of mountaineering trails starting from accessible boardwalk trails to strenuous hikes throughout the jagged peaks. The 2-mile Happy Creek Forest Walk is without doubt one of the best within the park and incorporates a waterfall. The 3.6-mile Thunder Knob Trail is a reasonable hike with views of Diablo Lake. The 3.7-mile Cascade Pass Trail is without doubt one of the hottest within the nationwide park – the strenuous hike features a 1,700-foot elevation change and spectacular views.

Horseback using, mountain climbing, and bicycling are different in style out of doors actions within the nationwide park.

The 30-mile North Cascades Highway is an effective way to see the nationwide park’s old-growth forests and mountain views. It’s the one highway that passes via your complete park, connecting the campgrounds, customer facilities, and mountaineering trails.

Sedro-Woolley, Washington | 360 854-7200 | www.nps.gov/noca

Additional National Park Units in Washington

Photo courtesy of NPS.

No. 9

Olympic National Park

Spread throughout 922,000 acres and 70 miles of shoreline, Olympic National Park gives one of many nation’s most various nationwide park experiences. The largest temperate rainforest in North America, secluded Pacific Ocean seashores, and glacier-capped mountains are all inside attain with a go to to this Washington nationwide park.

Kayak the Class II-V rivers or go for a peaceable night on one of many lakes. Explore the tidepools at Beach 4 and Ruby Beach. Spend a day at Rialto Beach and go mountaineering alongside the ocean. Explore the nationwide park’s 600 miles of mountaineering trails, together with the summit of Mt. Olympus.

Visit the Hoh Rain Forest and take a leisure hike on the 0.8-mile Hall of Moses Trail via the old-growth forest. Enjoy the breathtaking views from Hurricane Ridge. Travel into Elwha Valley to expertise the silence of serenity.

Port Angeles, Washington | 360-565-3130 | www.nps.gov/olym

Additional National Park Units in Washington

Photo courtesy of NPS.

No. 10

Pinnacles National Park

Established in 2013, Pinnacles National Park is California’s latest nationwide park. And at simply 26,000 acres, it’s the state’s smallest. The nationwide park preserves an space carved by volcano exercise 23 million years in the past that created a various and distinctive panorama.

Explore the nationwide park alongside 30 miles of mountaineering trails, contained in the Bear Gulch Cave or Balconies Cave, and go mountain climbing alongside set routes.

One of the preferred actions is hen watching. It’s a year-round exercise that may be loved with nothing greater than a superb pair of binoculars. The nationwide park is dwelling to dozens of hen species, together with the California Condor with a powerful nine-foot wingspan!

Paicines, California | 831 389-4486 | www.nps.gov/pinn

Additional National Parks Units in California

Photo courtesy of NPS.

No. 11

Redwood National and State Parks

The tallest timber on this planet tower like wood skyscrapers at Redwood National and State Parks. It’s a novel association with a nationwide park and three state parks co-managed by the National Park Service and California State Parks. But all of the parks have the identical objective: to protect the old-growth redwood forests.

Dozens of trails cross a whole lot of miles throughout the parks. The Big Tree Wayside is the simplest technique to see large timber within the parks. The half-mile Stout Memorial Grove Trail passes via a 44-acre redwood grove on the banks of the Smith River. The 5.5-mile Boy Scout Tree Trail is a rewarding hike via old-growth redwoods.

The greatest technique to expertise the parks is a drive on the 16.5-mile Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway. The parkway passes a number of redwood groves, mountaineering trails, the Prairie Creek Visitor Center, and the Elk Prairie Campground.

With 40 miles of rugged shoreline, a day on the seashore is one other nice technique to discover the parks. Explore tidepools at Endert’s Beach, Damnation Creek, and False Klamath Cove. A number of months every year, look ahead to whales on the Klamath River Overlook.

Crescent City, California | 707 464-6101 | www.nps.gov/redw

Additional National Parks Units in California

Photo courtesy of NPS/Kiel Maddox.

No. 12

Sequoia National Park

Established in 1890, Sequoia National Park was America’s second nationwide park and the primary to guard a residing organism: Sequoiadendron giganteum, also called Giant Sequoias. U.S. Army Cavalry troops protected the nationwide park for the primary twenty years and constructed a number of the earliest roads to the large timber.

Standing 275-feet tall and 36-feet large on the base, the General Sherman Tree is the world’s largest tree when measured by quantity. The half-mile Main Trail to the tree passes via Giant Forest, the biggest unlogged sequoia grove within the nationwide park. The close by Giant Forest Museum options displays in regards to the eponymous timber and why the large timber develop in that panorama.

At 6,713-feet, Moro Rock is the preferred attraction within the nationwide park that has nothing to do with large sequoia timber. It’s a brief however strenuous stroll from that car parking zone that begins on a wood boardwalk and ascends 350 steps to the highest of the granite rock. The scenic overlook on the high supplies a shocking panorama view of the Great Western Divide’s mountain peaks.

Since World War II, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks have been administered along with a single admission price.

Three Rivers, California | 559 565-3341 | www.nps.gov/seki

Additional National Parks Units in California

The Merced River flowing via Yosemite Valley. Photo courtesy of NPS.

No. 13

Yosemite National Park

In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Valley Grant Act establishing Yosemite Valley and close by Mariposa Grove as federally protected wilderness areas. It was the primary time within the nation’s historical past that lands have been protected for public use and preservation. In 1872, utilizing the precedent of the Yosemite Valley Grant Act, Yellowstone National Park was established because the world’s first nationwide park. In 1890, Yosemite National Park was established.

Yosemite Valley is without doubt one of the most iconic vistas in America, with sheer granite cliffs, snow-capped mountains, and a vibrant forest throughout the ground. It’s the center of the nationwide park and the placement of a number of the hottest locations like Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, and El Capitan. 

Tunnel View is the preferred scenic overlook within the nationwide park, offering guests with the well-known view of the Yosemite Valley. But the most effective view comes from Glacier Point, the place guests can see Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, and three waterfalls.

Visitors want permits for many actions within the nationwide park due to its recognition – and overcrowding. But a scenic drive is without doubt one of the best methods to discover the park. The 46-mile Tioga Road bisects the nationwide park and connects many in style sections. The 26-mile Wawona Road whisks guests to Mariposa Grove, the biggest grove of large sequoias within the nationwide park.

Yosemite, California | 209-372-0200 | www.nps.gov/yose

Additional National Parks Units in California


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here