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Northern California’s Incredible National Parks and Forests

From jaw-dropping coastal enclaves and groves of towering trees to glacial canyons and historic sites, Northern California’s diversity of national parks and forests is truly astounding. This region is home to some of the most iconic landscapes on the planet, rugged stretches of wilderness that captivate adventurers of every persuasion.

Perhaps the best known is Yosemite National Park, a natural treasure chest filled with granite cliffs, soaring waterfalls, and deep green forests – including ancient sequoias. Discover more giant sequoias (the largest trees in the world) at Kings Canyon N.P. and Sequoia N.P., plus towering redwoods (the tallest trees in the world) at Redwood N.P.

Take a surreal trip through lunar landscapes at Lassen Volcanic N.P. and Death Valley N.P. For spectacular coastal beauty, linger on the beaches and hiking trails of Point Reyes National Seashore and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Water sports enthusiasts flock to Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, and history buffs will enjoy the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park and Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front.

No matter where you are in Northern California, you’ll find amazing national parks and forests nearby to awaken your senses and inspire your sense of curiosity.

Sierra National Forest

Experience outdoor California on your next visit. The Sierra National Forest encompasses 1.3 million acres of California's rolling hills, at the western slope of the central Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.

This area has been protected and managed since 1893 and remains one of the more popular forests in the country.

Enjoy fishing in one of the three reservoirs or hiking on one of several trails in the five wilderness areas. Winter-time fun abounds in the Sierra Summit Ski Area. Nearby Clovis, the "Gateway to the Sierras," is a great home base for central valley fun.

Pinnacles National Park

Plan for an outdoor adventure in California. The Pinnacles National Park, located in Paicines, is the site of ancient volcano remains, spires and sheer-walled canyons. Bring your hiking and rock climbing gear for an afternoon of fun. While hiking on some of the thirty miles of trails, keep a watchful eye for the endangered California condor.

Flashlights or head-lamps are needed to hike into the two Talus Caves: Balconies Cave and Bear Gulch Cave. Also enjoy a guided tour, evening campfire program or ranger talk from the NPS staff. This recent national park is located on the California Central Coast, about 40 miles from Salinas.