1) One and Only
California’s first national park (sorry Yosemite), Sequoia National Park, is raw and awesome beauty, and famous for its giant sequoia trees (the biggest trees on earth). Of course they’re a must-see, but there’s also a remote valley at the park’s southern end that will knock your boots off! Mineral King is a subalpine valley reached via a 25-mile drive up a snaky road going deep into the heart of the southern Sierra. Serrated peaks and high alpine lakes await. When the park re-opens, be sure to check out some recommended day hikes in Mineral King.
2) Nowhere Else on Earth
There’s only one place in the world where you can go and see the tallest trees in the world … and it’s in the far northern reaches of California. Redwoods National and State Park has epic redwoods, glorious hikes, Roosevelt elk, and spectacular coastline. Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park (located within Redwoods National Park) is home to canyons draped in ferns and dripping with small waterfalls, a hike nicknamed Jurassic Park, and the tallest trees on the planet. See some of nature’s greatest hits on this 11-mile semi-loop adventure hike.
3) Adventure Channel
Remote, wild, and totally enchanting, Channel Islands National Park, nicknamed “the Galapagos of California,” is an undeveloped archipelago off the coast of Ventura in Southern California. It’s the start of nesting season (May through July) at Anacapa Island, which is home to the world’s largest protected colony of western gulls. More than 10,000 of the seabirds gather on East Anacapa. This island has just one hiking trail, but it’s a beauty. When the time is right, make a date to explore this once lost world comprising five islands.
TIP: Boat service to the island is currently suspended, but they are looking to restart it on May 21 (*subject to change).