Redwood National Park
Redwood National Park is located in the far north of California. If you are looking for inner peace, Redwood is highly recommended for you. In this ancient forest that is located on the coast you can wander endlessly without meeting anyone or anything. Besides the fact that you become silent at the sight of the towering trees, this park has many more attractions.
The National Park is the proud owner of a very diverse ecosystem, thanks in part to its proximity to the sea. The park was established in the 1960s and today covers an area of more than five hundred square kilometers. The trees that you can see here are so-called coastal redwoods. Unfortunately, only half of this so-called primeval forest is left. When gold prospectors moved to California in the 1800s, many began felling these giants. It was not until 1920 that official attempts were made to protect these trees.
Beyond the redwoods, Redwood also features deserted beaches, vast grasslands, and prairies. Many animal species live here, including reindeer, bears and various types of birds. Sea creatures that you can encounter in the park are whales, starfish and sea lions. If you are adventurous, try out the campgrounds in Redwood. Three are hidden in the forest and one can be found near the coast. It’s back to basics here, so don’t expect sockets or other electrical supplies.
Yosemite National Park
Just over a three-hour drive from San Francisco, you’ll find the showpiece of the American National Park Service in the Sierra Nevada. Californian Yosemite is undoubtedly the park among the National Parks! Any expectations you have of it will fade when you enter the park.
More than three million people come to Yosemite every year. Especially in summer the park is stormed from all corners of the world by enthusiastic people. It is therefore a good idea to visit the National Park in the spring or autumn. Did you know that the park is even more beautiful in spring and autumn? For a mere twenty dollars you can spend a week in Yosemite to comb all sides of the park. And in the spring or autumn there is actually room on the camping pitches, so no difficult hassle! Please note: do you want to spend the night here? Then be on time with your booking!
Whichever way you look at it, Yosemite’s more than three thousand square miles are impossible to explore in one day. So it is highly recommended to stay longer and take in the almost untouched nature completely. What can you expect in this park? Think vast forests, bright blue freshwater lakes, towering waterfalls and sheer granite rocks. The park is also the proud owner of several ancient glaciers and staggering sequoia trees.
De dierenwereld is ruim vertegenwoordigd in Yosemite. Je komt ze hier in alle vormen, soorten en maten tegen! Denk aan beren, bevers, uilen, padden en slangen. Dit is slechts een greep uit de grote groep dieren die hier leeft. Vanwege al het natuurschoon en het belang om dit te behouden is het in 1984 opgenomen op de lijst van werelderfgoederen. In het park zijn een aantal rotspartijen, zoals El Capitán en Half Dome, die erg geliefd zijn onder bergbeklimmers. Deze granieten giganten zijn meer dan tweeduizend meter hoog. Ben je niet zo’n waaghals dan is het uitzicht vanaf de grond een prima alternatief!
For the sequoia trees you can go to Mariposa Grove, a vast forest where these giants thrive. The oldest tree here is the Grizzly Giant, which is over two thousand years old. It is not the largest sequioa tree in America, but at about 65 meters it can safely be called huge.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
Are you ready for the adventure? Then you absolutely have to go to the Sequoia and Kings National Park! In these parks you can see with your own eyes what gigantic structures Mother Nature once created. Really everything is a bit more here. On the south side of the Sierra Nevada you will find Sequoia and Kings about 360 kilometers from LA.
As the name suggests, you will encounter the giant sequoias here, but also deep canyons and enormous mountains that reach unprecedented heights of more than four thousand meters. Due to the difference in altitude, climate and vegetation, many different animal species can be found in Sequoia and Kings. Foxes, bears, skunks, snakes and much more live here.
What there is to experience…
There is absolutely no need to be bored in Sequoia and Kings! Take that picnic basket with you, choose a route and fill your day with a beautiful walk. Along the way you stop at one of the picnic areas and you can enjoy one of the many breathtaking views that the parks have while eating. A wonderful experience is making a ‘cave tour’.
Join us and wander through the Crystal cave, past idyllic waterfalls and the beautiful stone sculptures that have been formed over the centuries. It is a somewhat more expensive activity, but will certainly make your trip through Kings and Sequoia National Parks unforgettable! Other interesting outdoor activities include horse riding and rock climbing. If you want to take it a little easier, you can also opt for a tour through the park led by a park ranger.
You can camp to your heart’s content in both parks, but keep in mind that not all are open all year round. Few of these camping pitches are guaranteed to be open all year round. So if you want nothing more than to sleep between the largest trees in the world, then make a reservation!
Avoid hungry guests
And then there is another important detail that you absolutely must not overlook: the bears. For your own safety, it is an absolute must to keep all the food and drinks you carry under lock and key. If you don’t do this, you might get a nocturnal visit from these less peaceful animals. The rangers attach great importance to everyone using the so-called ‘bear proof boxes’ to prevent the bears from causing damage. So keep this in mind.
Channel Islands National Park
What many people do not know is that there is an archipelago off the coast of California. About 70 miles off the coast of Los Angeles are these five islands called Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Santa Miguel, Santa Rosa, and Anacapa. These idyllic islands are regularly compared to the almost unbeatable Galapagos Islands! Definitely worth a visit!
The islands have a diverse eco-system and overwhelmingly beautiful nature. Dolphins, various species of whales, but also sea lions and seals live in the waters around the islands. Foxes live further inland, but also skunks and a small number of amphibians. In total there are more than twenty animal species that you will not encounter anywhere else in the world! Fossils have also been found on the island. At the end of the nineteenth century, the skeleton of a kind of mammoth was found on the island of Santa Rosa.
What to do
You really don’t have to be bored on the Channel Islands. If you like snorkeling, grab your mask and flippers and explore the underwater world of these islands. Kayaking, surfing and fishing are also among the outdoor activities you can do in the waters around the islands, enjoy!
Perhaps you prefer to stroll over the islands and enjoy the beautiful nature. Hiking trails have been mapped out on each island that run over the mountain ridges, through the grasslands and along the beautiful coast. If you can’t get enough of this environment and you want to stay for several days, there is the possibility to camp! Each island has a designated place for people who would like to spend the night there.
The Sierra Nevada has many beautiful places, but Lake Tahoe is without a doubt one of the most beautiful! This freshwater lake is located in California on the border with Nevada and is definitely worth a visit on your trip through the Sierra Nevada. The lake is famous for the clarity of its waters as well as being the second deepest in the Americas. In some places the lake is almost five hundred meters deep!
There is plenty to do all year round in and around the lake! In winter you can go skiing in the mountains around the lake. Here, ski resorts have sprung up like mushrooms over the years. And skiing here is definitely worth it. So do you have the time and money? Then definitely do it!