Beautiful National Parks and Monuments in Southern California
In my last article Beautiful National Parks and Monuments in Northern California I listed all the national parks and monuments in Northern California. This article lists all the beautiful national parks and monuments located in Southern California. Which half of the state is more beautiful and contains a better collection of national parks and monuments? That is really hard to say but what is easy to say is that California is one beautiful state rich with beautiful and magnificent scenery and natural wonders. Tourists traveling to California to the see the national parks and monuments located in the Golden Bear State rarely leave disappointed.
Kings Canyon National Park
Kings Canyon National Park is located at the southern end of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in eastern California between Yosemite and Death Valley National Parks. Kings Canyon contains some groves of giant sequoia trees as well as many magnificent canyons and valleys carved out through the mountains by glaciers and the Kings River and its tributaries. Camping, hiking and mountain climbing are popular activities in the park and there are overnight lodges and cabins in Kings Canyon National Park for rent as well as many rustic lodges, Inns, resorts, bed and breakfasts, hotels and motels within 20 miles of the park to accommodate tourists.
Carrizo Plain National Monument
The Carrizo Plain National Monument is located in Southern California right along the San Andreas Fault about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles and 25 miles west of Bakersfield. The monument is 250,000 acres large and and 50 miles long and 15 miles wide and consists mainly of grassland split by the fractures in the surface caused by the San Andreas Fault. Contained in the Carrizo National Monument is Painted Rock which is an exposed sandstone rock formation where Native Americans have left pictographs dating back thousands of years.
Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park is located in eastern California and it is the hottest and driest place in North America and one of the hottest and driest places on planet Earth. The hottest temperature ever recorded in Death Valley was 134 degrees which occurred on July 10, 1913. That is the hottest temperature ever recorded in North America and second hottest temperature on the planet. Bad Water Basin in the park is 282 feet below sea level and getting out of an air conditioned car at the basin in summer feels the same as when opening a hot oven and the rush of hot air hits one square in the face. Despite the great heat and dryness Death Valley is truly a beautiful and magical place and very popular with tourists as almost 800,000 people visit here every year.
Pinnacles National Monument
Pinnacles National Monument is located in western-central California east of Soledad and the Salinas Valley. The main tourist attraction in Pinnacles National Monument are the pinnacle rock formations which are remnants of an extinct volcano. Visitors are warned it can get very hot in the park especially in Summer and the Pinnacles themselves look as if they have been burned to a crisp. Hiking is a popular activity in the monument as there are a number of challenging trails in the park. Rock climbing is also allowed.
Channel Islands National Park
Channel Islands National Park consists of five islands in the Pacific Ocean off the Southern California coastline northwest of Los Angeles. The five islands are Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, Anacapa and Santa Barbara. Despite being near to the large population base in Southern California the islands remain isolated today which has kept them beautiful and majestic. To visit the Channel Islands requires a boat ride from the visitor centers located in Santa Barbara and Ventura and visitors can camp on the islands. Many tourists like to pack kayaks full of cargo including beer and camp out and kayak around the islands and the water around the islands is crystal clear making 40 foot deep kelp beds appear as if they are ten feet deep.
Giant Sequoia National Monument
Giant Sequoia National Monument is located in east-central California south of Sequoia National Park and about 60 miles northeast of Bakersfield. Giant Sequoia National Monument contains 38 Giant Sequoia groves. The Giant Sequoia are the largest volume trees on Earth and can reach heights of 300 feet with diameters approaching 60 feet. Giant Sequoias are so large they have to be seen to be believed and all of them are great and popular tourist attractions in California.
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is located in Southern California just east of Palm Springs and contains a special habitat of high, cool and dry desert air which is conducive to the Joshua Trees found throughout the park. Previously a national monument Joshua Tree National Park was created in 1994. Also in the park are beautiful massive rocks which are extremely popular with rock climbers and hikers. Camping is permitted in the park and there are many resorts, spas, hotels and motels in the area to accommodate overnight tourists.
Cabrillo National Monument
Cabrillo National Monument is located Southern California in San Diego on the southern tip of Point Loma. Cabrillo National Monument commemorates the landing of Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in San Diego Bay on September 28, 1492. The monument is a great tourist attraction for anyone visiting and staying at the hotels in San Diego as it offers excellent views of the Pacific Ocean, Tijuana and the San Diego city skyline as well as San Diego Harbor where many naval vessels can be seen.
Sequoia National Park
Image Source (Mount Whitney)
Sequoia National Park is located just south of Kings Canyon National Park in eastern California. The park contains many giant sequoia trees including the world famous General Sherman tree which is the largest tree in the world with a height of 275 feet and a circumference of an amazing 102.6 feet. Also contained in the park is beautiful Mount Whitney which at 14,505 feet is the highest mountain in California and the lower 48 United States. Mount Whitney is a popular mountain with hikers and climbers and lies just 76 miles north of Bad Water Basin in Death Valley which has an elevation of minus 282 feet.
Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument
The Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument is located in Southern California about 100 miles southeast of Los Angeles and 10 miles west of Palm Springs as the crow flies. The park contains portions of both the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountain Ranges which lie in the hot arid climate and contains the threatened or endangered Peninsula Big Horn Sheep.and Desert Tortoise. The surrounding areas are full of resorts, spas, hotels and motels especially in the Palm Springs area.