National Parks California

Channel Island National Park
Comprised of five in a chain of eight southern California islands near Los Angeles, Channel Islands National Park is home to a wide variety of nationally and internationally significant natural and cultural resources. Over 2,000 species of plants and animals can be found within the park. However only four mammals are endemic to the islands. One hundred and forty-five of these species are unique to the islands and found nowhere else in the world. Marine life ranges from microscopic plankton to the endangered blue whale, the largest animal to live on earth. Archeological and cultural resources span a period of more than 10,000 years. The park consists of 249,354 acres, half of which are under the ocean, and include the islands of San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, and Santa Barbara. Even though the islands seem tantalizingly close to the densely populated, southern California coast, their isolation has left them relatively undeveloped, making them an exciting place for visitors to explore.

http://www.channel.islands.national-park.com
Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park has more than 3.3 million acres of spectacular desert scenery, interesting and rare desert wildlife, complex geology, undisturbed wilderness, and sites of historical and cultural interest. Bounded on the west by 11,049 foot Telescope Peak and on the east by 5,475 foot Dante's View, Badwater is the lowest point (-282 feet) in the western hemisphere.

http://www.death.valley.national-park.com
Joshua Tree National Park
Two deserts, two large ecosystems whose characteristics are determined primarily by elevation, come together at Joshua Tree National Park. Below 3,000 feet, the Colorado Desert encompasses the eastern part of the park and features natural gardens of creosote bush, ocotillo, and cholla cactus. The higher, moister, and slightly cooler Mojave Desert is the special habitat of the Joshua tree. In addition to Joshua tree forests, the western part of the park also includes some of the most interesting geologic displays found in California's deserts. Five fan palm oases also dot the park, indicating those few areas where water occurs naturally and wildlife abounds.

http://www.joshua.tree.national-park.com
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Beneath Lassen Volcanic's peaceful forests and gem-like lakes lies evidence of a turbulent and fiery past. 600,000 years ago, the collision and warping of continental plates led to violent eruptions and the formation of lofty Mt. Tehama (also called Brokeoff Volcano.) After 200,000 years of volcanic activity, vents and smaller volcanoes on Tehama's flanks-including Lassen Peak-drew magma away from the main cone. Hydrothermal areas ate away at the great mountain's bulk. Beneath the onslaught of Ice Age glaciers, Mt. Tehama crumbled and finally ceased to exist. But the volcanic landscape lived on: in 1914, Lassen Peak awoke. The Peak had its most significant activity in 1915 and minor activity through 1921. Lassen Volcanic became a national park in 1916 because of its significance as an active volcanic landscape.

All four types of volcanoes in the world are found in the park. Over 150 miles of trails and a culturally significant scenic highway provide access to volcanic wonders including steam vents, mudpots, boiling pools, volcanic peaks, and painted dunes.

http://www.lassen.volcanic.national-park.com
Redwood National Park
Redwood National and State Parks are home to some of the world's tallest trees: old-growth coast redwoods. They can live to be 2000 years old and grow to over 300 feet tall. Spruce, hemlock, Douglas-fir, berry bushes, and sword ferns create a multiple canopied understory that towers over all visitors. The parks' mosaic of habitats include prairie/oak woodlands, mighty rivers and streams, and 37 miles of pristine Pacific coastline. Cultural landscapes reflect American Indian history. The more recent logging history has led to much restoration of these parks.

Three California state parks and the National Park Service unit represent a cooperative management effort of the National Park Service and California Department of Parks and Recreation. They are Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, and Redwood National Park, comprising 45 percent of all the old-growth redwood forest remaining in California.

Together these parks are a World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve, protecting resources cherished by citizens of many nations.

http://www.redwood.national-park.com
Sequioa / Kings Canyon National Park
Ranging from 1500' to 14,494' in elevation, these adjoining parks protect immense mountains, deep canyons, huge trees, and stunningly diverse habitats. The Generals Highway climbs over 5000 feet from chaparral and oak-studded foothills to the awe-inspiring sequoia groves. From there, trails lead to the high-alpine wilderness which makes up most of these parks. Beneath the surface lie many beautiful caverns.

Although they were created by separate acts of Congress, Sequoia and Kings Canyon share miles of boundary and are managed as one park. Sequoia was the second national park designated in this country.

Human interactions with black bears, which inhabit all but the highest areas of these parks, can result in problems for people and bears. http://www.sequoia.national-park.com
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park embraces a spectacular tract of mountain-and-valley scenery in the Sierra Nevada, which was set aside as a national park in 1890. The park harbors a grand collection of waterfalls, meadows, and forests that include groves of giant sequoias, the world's largest living things.

Highlights of the park include Yosemite Valley, and its high cliffs and waterfalls; Wawona's history center and historic hotel; the Mariposa Grove, which contains hundreds of ancient giant sequoias; Glacier Point's (summer-fall) spectacular view of Yosemite Valley and the high country; Tuolumne Meadows (summer-fall), a large subalpine meadow surrounded by mountain peaks; and Hetch Hetchy, a reservoir in a valley considered a twin of Yosemite Valley.

http://www.yosemite.national-park.com