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13 Facts About California State Parks That Will Blow Your Mind

13 Facts About California State Parks That Will Blow Your Mind

The expansive California State Park system is filled with interesting facts and figures that will blow your mind. Team


3 min read

July 07, 2023

The Golden State, home to Hollywood's glitz and glamour, also shelters an exquisite spectacle of natural beauty and historical intrigue in its state parks. These wild, untouched spaces house the planet's oldest, tallest, and most vibrant biodiversity within their folds. Get ready to embark on an intriguing journey as we unravel thirteen astonishing facts about California's State Parks that are bound to take your breath away.

World's Oldest and Tallest Trees

Redwood National and State Parks in Northern California are home to both the world's tallest (Hyperion, standing at 379.7 feet) and oldest (over 2,000 years old) trees. These skyscraper-like, living, breathing giants are truly a sight to behold.

Hyperion is a massive tree that will absolutely shock you with its size and grandiosity.

The Chandelier Tree

Drive-Thru Tree Park, a privately-owned grove in the heart of Humboldt County, boasts the iconic Chandelier Tree, a 276-foot tall redwood with a 6-foot wide tunnel carved into its base, large enough for cars to drive through.

Driving through the Chandelier Tree is a great experience that's unique to California.

Largest State Park System

With over 280 state parks covering more than 1.6 million acres, California has the largest state park system in the United States. This vast expanse includes beaches, forests, mountains, deserts, and historical sites.

Death Valley’s Moving Rocks

The sliding rocks at the Racetrack Playa in Death Valley State Park have baffled scientists for years. These rocks, some as heavy as 700 pounds, mysteriously slide across the dry lake bed leaving trails behind, a phenomena attributed to a unique combination of ice, wind, and sun.

A Volcanic State Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park, one of the few places on Earth where you can see all four types of volcanoes – shield, composite, cinder cone, and plug dome. Don't worry, though; the last eruption was over 100 years ago in 1915.

Lassen Volcanic National Park is a great way to experience Earth's most interesting geological marvels.

Anza-Borrego’s Super Bloom

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park's "Super Bloom" is a spectacular event. Following a winter with heavy rainfall, the park's arid landscape transforms into a vibrant sea of wildflowers, attracting visitors from all over the world.

California’s Own Grand Canyon

The Colorado Desert's version of the Grand Canyon, Palm Canyon, located in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, is the world’s largest desert palm oasis, with more than 3,000 naturally occurring palm trees.

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Yosemite’s Half Dome

Yosemite State Park's Half Dome, a granite dome with a unique sheer face, is a must-see. It’s a challenging hike, but the view from the top is unforgettable, offering a panoramic view of the park and the Valley.

The unique face of Yosemite's Half Dome is another interesting geological feature found in California state parks.

Biodiversity Hotspot

The California Floristic Province, which includes many state parks, is a biodiversity hotspot. It hosts 70% of California’s endemic species, which means they can't be found anywhere else on the planet.

El Capitan State Beach

Not to be confused with the famous El Capitan cliff in Yosemite, El Capitan State Beach in Santa Barbara offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and is a popular location for camping, fishing, and beachcombing.

Prehistoric Petroglyphs

Little Petroglyph Canyon in Red Rock Canyon State Park contains one of the largest concentrations of prehistoric petroglyphs in North America, with over 20,000 documented images etched by Native American cultures.

The S.S. Palo Alto Shipwreck

Aptos' Seacliff State Beach hosts the eerie, bird-covered remains of the S.S. Palo Alto, a concrete ship built during World War I. Now it's a fascinating spot for photos and birdwatching.

Visiting the S.S. Palo Alto Shipwreck is an interesting historical trip that is unique to California.

Crystal Cave

Sequoia National Park houses the Crystal Cave, a marble karst cave adorned with striking stalactites and stalagmites. It’s a hidden gem available to the public only through guided tours.

From towering redwoods and mysterious moving rocks to grand canyons and vibrant super blooms, California's State Parks are rich tapestries of natural marvels and historical curiosities. These places are not just parks; they are windows into the planet's history and living galleries of the Earth's diverse ecosystems. So, lace up your hiking boots, grab your camera, and prepare to have your mind blown as you step into California's magnificent wilderness. These natural sanctuaries are waiting to etch unforgettable stories on the canvas of your heart.

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