Description - California's National Parks, Monuments and Forests cover lands from the Pacific Ocean to the crest of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. These parks and forests include the lowest point in the western hemisphere, at Death Valley, and the highest point in the 48 contiguous states, at Mount Whitney.
Copyright: California State Parks
Impressive redwoods in Armstrong Redwoods SR
- California encompasses such well known parks as Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, Death Valley and Joshua Tree, as well as some lesser known parks like Lassen Volcanic, Redwood, and Lava Beds. The National Forests surround popular areas such as Lake Tahoe and the Big Sur coast. The forests encompass much of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges.
Recreation - California is an outdoor recreation paradise. The state's size and tremendous diversity create an array of outdoor recreation opportunities that may be unmatched in North America. Due to the temperate climate throughout much of the state, these activities are often available year round. Some of the most popular activities available include hiking, backpacking, fishing, swimming, surfing, windsurfing, boating, kayaking, rafting, sailing, surfing, mountain climbing, camping, scenic driving, mountain biking, riding motorcycles and ATVs, bird-watching, and wildlife viewing. Winter brings deep snow to the mountains and opportunities for world class downhill skiing and snowboarding, as well as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling.
Climate - Thanks to California's generally mild climate, many recreation areas are accessible year round. Summer temperatures range from 100+ in the desert and Sacramento and Central Valleys, to a cool and often foggy 50 in San Francisco. The mildest weather statewide occurs in fall. Rain begins in late autumn and continues through winter in most areas. Much of the National Forest land lies at the higher elevations. Winter brings heavy snow at higher elevations, particularly in the Sierra Nevada and other mountain ranges. Desert areas remain warm and coastal areas often experience mild temperatures during winter months.
California's National Forests and Parks are scattered throughout the state. Maps are available on the individual pages describing each park and activity.