Adventure Awaits in California's National Parks
By Ms. Elizabeth DelConte
Did you know that California has 28 National Parks? Every state in the US has a national park but California has the most. How lucky are we! This summer is a great time to lace up your hiking shoes and head outside to explore the beauty our state has to offer.
Yosemite National Park -Located in Mariposa County. Bring your bike and cruise the valley. Biking is one of the best ways to get around the Yosemite valley and see the beautiful waterfalls and terrain. If you are not into biking, bring a picnic, sit in the meadow across from El Capitan and watch the beauty all around you. Also witness the brave people who venture the climb up the steep sheer rock wall in front of you. For the more adventurous, the park has over 1,200 miles of mountain terrain to hike and explore. Due to Covid-19, reservations are required to drive into Yosemite beginning May 21st. Plan ahead! https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/directions.htm
Joshua Tree National Park- Located about 125 miles east of LA. Joshua tree is named after, you guessed it, its trees! Yucca brevifolia are commonly known as Joshua trees which are a unique looking desert plant with white blossoms that bloom in the spring. Aside from its trees, Joshua Tree is a popular rock climbing destination, hiking location and offers a beautiful scenic drive. If you plan to visit Joshua Tree do not rely on GPS. Often visitors’ GPS takes them on backroads which are not safe to travel. Map out your trip ahead of time so you are prepared! https://www.nps.gov/jotr/planyourvisit/directions.htm
Cabrillo National Monument- Located in San Diego off the tip of the Point Loma Peninsula. Cabrillo National Monument offers visitors a history lesson on the expedition leader Juan Rodriguez Castillo and the 16th century expansion. It has tidepools, a lighthouse, hiking trails, biking trails and beautiful views to enjoy. If you plan to tidepool, be sure to check the low tide schedule ahead of time! https://www.nps.gov/cabr/planyourvisit/directionstocabr.htm
Golden Gate National Recreation Area- Located near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. This is the most visited National park in our state and has no entrance fee. The only cost would be if you opted to take the ferry trip across the bay to visit Alcatraz Island . Tickets for the ferry to Alcatraz are recommended to buy in advance. If taking a ferry is not your idea of fun, don’t worry - the park has plenty of land activities to keep you occupied for the day. You can explore the Sutro Baths (a popular photo spot), take a walking tour of Fort Mason, sit and relax at Crissy Field, bike along the waterfront across the Golden Gate Bridge, have a beach fire in one of the park’s provided fire rings, or visit the Point Bonita Lighthouse https://www.nps.gov/goga/planyourvisit/things2do.htm https://www.nps.gov/alca/planyourvisit/fees.htm
These are just a few of the National Parks our state has to offer. If you are interested in learning more about the other California National Parks, please visit https://www.nps.gov/state/ca/index.htm for more information.