California National Parks and Natural Landscapes

Featured California locations are listed below, and shown on the California map (south, north) - these are the most scenic places in the state, and include beaches, canyons, deserts, forests, lakes, mountains, rock formations, scenic drives and volcanic areas.

Alternatively, see these other California listings pages:

National Parks, National Monuments, National Recreation Areas and National Historic Sites
State Parks
State Natural Reserves

National Park Service Units

Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Lassen Volcanic NP
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park

CABRILLO National Monument - rocky peninsula near San Diego
DEATH VALLEY National Park - starkly beautiful desert wilderness
DEVILS POSTPILE National Monument - unusual volcanic basalt formations in the eastern Sierra Nevada
GOLDEN GATE National Recreation Area - beaches, coastal bluffs, historic buildings and military sites around San Francisco
JOSHUA TREE National Park - desert, large rocks and curious plants
KINGS CANYON National Park - large wilderness area with deep canyons, lakes, sequoia trees and waterfalls
LASSEN VOLCANIC National Park - amazing volcanic and geothermal phenomena
LAVA BEDS National Monument - cinder cones, craters and lava caves in the far north
MOJAVE National Preserve - excellent desert scenery
MUIR WOODS National Monument - small but accessible redwood forest north of San Francisco on the Marin Peninsula
PINNACLES National Park - isolated mountains composed of eroded, volcanic rock
POINT REYES National Seashore - isolated hilly peninsula bordered by miles of wind-swept beaches and cliffs
REDWOOD National and State Parks - dense coastal redwood forests
SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS National Recreation Area - canyons, grassy hills and Pacific Ocean beaches, northwest of Los Angeles
SEQUOIA National Park - huge trees, cliffs and mountains
WHISKEYTOWN-SHASTA-TRINITY National Recreation Area - forested lakes in the northern California mountains
YOSEMITE National Park - glaciated peaks and valleys of great beauty

Other Major Scenic Places

Anza Borrego Desert
Anza Borrego Desert
Calaveras Big Trees
Calaveras Big Trees
Point Lobos
Point Lobos

ANZA-BORREGO DESERT State Park - large, varied area of canyons, mountains, desert and badlands
BIG SUR - the Pacific Coast of central California, south of Carmel
BIG BASIN REDWOODS State Park - thick coastal redwood forests in the Santa Cruz Mountains, south of San Jose
BODIE State Historical Park - exceptionally intact, well preserved and authentic California ghost town
CALAVERAS BIG TREES State Park - giant sequoia in the northern Sierra Nevada
CALIFORNIA MISSIONS - series of historic Spanish churches dating from 1769
EASTERN SIERRA - the steep, more remote east side of the Sierra Nevada, accessed by several paved roads to high elevation trailheads
HUMBOLDT REDWOODS State Park - ancient redwood forest in north California
LAKE TAHOE - major center for recreation, enclosed by high mountains
MONTANA DE ORO State Park - scenic, unspoilt section of the south California coast
PALM SPRINGS - exclusive city surrounded by deserts and mountains
POINT LOBOS State Natural Reserve - beautiful, rocky peninsula with abundant wildlife, near Carmel and Big Sur

Miscellaneous Locations

Big Pine Lakes
Big Pine Lakes
Prairie Creek Redwoods
Prairie Creek Redwoods
Salton Sea
Salton Sea

Algodones Dunes - vast sandy expanse in the far southeast
Andrew Molera State Park - Big Sur beaches and coastal bluffs
Big Pine Lakes - mountain lakes high in the Sierra Nevada, beneath Palisade Glacier
Box Canyon - twisting, eroded ravine, part of the San Andreas Fault
Calico Ghost Town Regional Park - partially restored silver mining town northeast of Barstow
Castle Crags State Park - sculptured granite cliffs in far north California
Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park - redwood groves alongside the Pacific Ocean
Donner Memorial State Park - historic location with a relaxing setting
Emerald Bay State Park - scenic inlet on the west side of Lake Tahoe, containing Fannette Island
Estero Bluffs State Park - undeveloped Pacific coastline with small beaches and eroded cliffs
Garrapata State Park - beautiful section of the Big Sur coastline
Gaviota State Park - beaches, cliffs and coastal mountains, west of Santa Barbara
Giant Sequoia National Monument - many groves of giant sequoia trees, in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains
Griffith Park - hilly city park overlooking Hollywood and Los Angeles
Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park - little-visited redwood groves along the Van Duzen River
Harmony Headlands State Park - sandstone formations along an isolated, roadless section of the Pacific coast
Hat Creek Volcanic Area - lava flows, craters, cinder cones and lava caves, near Lassen Volcanic NP
Hot Creek Geological Area - hot springs and fumaroles close to Mammoth Lakes, part of the Long Valley Caldera
Humboldt Lagoons State Park - forested lagoons beside the northern Pacific coast
Jacumba Outstanding Natural Area - desert and mountains near the Mexican border
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park - giant redwoods in the far northwest
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park - a coastal waterfall, beaches, cliffs and wooded hills, along Big Sur
Lost Coast - the wildest and least developed stretch of California's Pacific coast
MacKerricher State Park - sand dunes, beaches and tidepools, on the Pacific coast north of Fort Bragg
Mammoth Lakes - ski resort town at the edge of the Sierra Nevada
McArthur Burney Falls Memorial State Park - beautiful waterfall and a wooded lake
Mendocino Headlands State Park - small promontory lined by cliffs, beaches and sea stacks
Mono Lake - unusual lake in the eastern Sierra Nevada foothills
Morro Bay State Park - hills, marsh and shoreline around Morro Bay, including Morro Rock
Mount Shasta - snow-capped volcano in the Cascade range
Onion Valley - trailhead high in the eastern Sierra, for hikes to Kearsarge Pass, Mt Gould and many other places
Pinnacles National Natural Landmark - strange spires in the desert south of Trona
Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park - lighthouse at the edge of grassy bluffs, lined by scenic inlets and offshore rocks
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park - coastal redwoods near Crescent City
Point Arena - unusual rocks and a historic lighthouse, along the Pacific coast
Rainbow Basin National Natural Landmark - weathered desert canyons and badlands
Red Rock Canyon State Park - exposed, eroded, colorful strata
Route 66 - long section of the old highway through the Mojave Desert
Saddleback Butte State Park - isolated peak in Antelope Valley, in the southern Mojave Desert
Salt Point State Park - undeveloped section of the north California coastline, with unusual sandstone formations
Salton Sea - large, shallow, salty inland lake bordering Imperial Valley
San Bernardino Mountains - steep-sided range northeast of San Bernardino, including Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear Lake
San Gabriel Mountains - hilly area providing a refuge from Los Angeles
Sonoma Coast State Park - 15 miles of beaches, cliffs and coastal grasslands, in Sonoma County, north California
Tomales Bay State Park - sheltered inlet at the edge of Point Reyes
Torrey Pines State Reserve - dunes and sandstone cliffs north of San Diego
Trinidad State Beach - beautiful section of the north California coastline
Vasquez Rocks County Park - exposed, angular strata north of Los Angeles

California Hotels

Choose from over 2,000 California hotels in 400 towns and cities;
South & Central: maps, national park hotels, interstate hotels, brand directories
North: maps, national park hotels, interstate hotels, brand directories

Locations include:
California Hotels
Bakersfield, Barstow, Fresno, Los Angeles Area, Monterey, Palm Springs, Rancho Cordova, Redding, Sacramento, San Diego Area, San Francisco Area, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz
California Trails

Trails of California
Hiking in California, in national parks and other areas: north, central and south
Name, location, etc:
Other California Resources

Driving Distances - mileages between selected places
Introduction - summary of California's scenic areas
Maps - state map and national park maps
Weather - forecasts for California cities and parks
California Travel Itineraries

California Big Trees
California Big Trees - 12 day loop visiting the giant sequoia of the Sierra Nevada, in the Kings Canyon, Sequoia and Yosemite national parks, plus the coastal redwoods of the north

California Deserts
California Deserts - the vast deserts of south California, from Death Valley to Anza Borrego, also including Joshua Tree, Palm Springs, the Salton Sea and the Mojave National Preserve, plus lesser known places

California North Coast
California North Coast - the rugged north coast of California, from the cliffs of Point Reyes, through the scenic beaches of Sonoma and Mendocino counties, to the coastal redwood forests of the far north

California South Coast
California South Coast - beaches, cliffs, mountains and the Pacific Ocean, along Route 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) from San Diego near the Mexican border north to San Francisco

Sierra Nevada
Sierra Nevada - the spectacular mountains of central California; popular locations include Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Lake Tahoe and Yosemite, but there are many lesser known places like Devils Postpile and Big Pine Lakes

California Photography

Photographs - indexed by location
Panoramic Photographs - wide landscape photos
QTVR - quicktime panoramas
Videos - mp4 videos

Photograph Search
Plants of California

California cacti
Cacti - photos and descriptions of 25 California cactus species; most common genera are cylindropuntia, echinocactus, echinocereus, ferocactus, mammillaria and opuntia

California wildflowers
Flowers - California wildflowers and flowering shrubs; photographs and identifying characteristics, arranged by the most common color groups (blue, orange, pink, purple, red, white and yellow)


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