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With nine national parks scattered throughout the state, some of which are considered to be amongst the finest in the country, California has no shortage of areas to explore for those who want to feel closer to nature. From the world-famous to the underrated, here are some of California’s can’t-miss national parks.

Channel Islands National Park

Out of all of California’s national parks, the Channel Islands National Park is one of the least visited, and this is because it can only be accessed by boat or plane. The park consists of five different islands, and the lack of transportation within them means that the biodiversity on each island has really been able to thrive. Not only are there over 2000 different plant and animal species to be found here, but 145 of these are unique to the Channel Islands National Park, making this a must-visit for nature lovers. While at the park, be sure to take the 1.5 mile trek on Anacapa Island, as this will take you to Inspiration Point where you will be able to enjoy one of the best views in the entire country.

Redwood National Park
Home to some of the tallest trees in the world, the Redwood National Park makes huge efforts to conserve the native redwood trees, and is home to almost half of the remaining redwood trees in the state. These trees live for thousands of years, but have been destroyed in recent years for logging purposes, which is why conservation is so important. In addition to being home to the Hyperion, the tallest living tree in the world, the park also boasts several different hiking and nature trails that make it a true joy to explore.

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park
The Lassen Volcanic National Park is another of California’s lesser-known national parks, and is home to a dormant volcano that last erupted in 1915. There are many volcanic features to see here, from steam and gas vents to boiling pools and mud pots. This is a park that is usually crowd-free, especially when compared to some of the state’s other national parks, making it ideal for those wanting to explore a part of the Californian landscape in peace.

Joshua Tree National Park
Located 140 miles west of Los Angeles, the Joshua Tree National Park stretches out for over 800,000 acres, and contains two separate desert ecosystems. The eastern side of the park is where you will find the Colorado Desert, featuring a lower elevation with natural cactus gardens, while the western side of the park contains higher elevations and the cooler climate of the Mojave Desert. Of course, the park is also home to an endless array of twisted Joshua trees, which give the landscape quite a cinematic quality.

No matter where you happen to be in the Golden State, chances are that there is a national park not too far away from you. Whether you choose to explore dense redwood forests or barren desert landscapes, each of these parks showcase the very best of California’s natural beauty.

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