Home to the lowest point in the country and the highest point in the lower 48 states, California’s National Parks are lands of extremes. The mountainous landscapes of the Sierra Nevada and the vast deserts, mountains and sand dunes of Death Valley sit side by side in the eastern reaches of the state – be prepared for awe-inspiring drives and unforgettable outdoor adventures.
Yosemite, Sequoia & Death Valley National Parks holiday highlights
One of the country’s oldest national parks, and the inspiration behind the idea of founding public lands and national parks for the people of America, beautiful Yosemite sits in the High Sierra Nevada mountains. Known for its granite cliffs and domes, waterfalls and meadows, the park is located approximately 4 hours east of San Francisco. In the spring and early summer months visitors flock to the Yosemite Valley to witness the roaring meltwater falls while hikers head here year round to walk the park’s 800 miles of trails.
The breathtaking Sequoia National Park is known as the ‘Land of Giants’. High in the Sierra Nevada Mountains that straddle the California-Nevada state line, the park is most famous for its groves of gigantic Sequoia trees, the largest, and most famous of which is dubbed General Sherman; you can wander among the trees, following hiking or cross-country skiing trails. Aside from the trees, the park is known for its alpine vistas, wildlife, and for hosting sections of the famous John Muir and Pacific Crest hiking trails.
Located approximately three hours’ drive from Las Vegas, between the Great Basin and the Mojave Desert, Death Valley’s three million-acre wilderness is home to multicoloured rock layers, sand dunes, mud flats and mountains. Summers here are extremely hot – the world’s highest temperature was recorded here in July 1913. For two differing perspectives on this other-worldly landscape head to Dante’s View at 1669 metres above sea level, for views over the valley, and the Badwater Basin which is at 85.5 metres below sea level.