Woman looking up at Redwood trees

To Visit Every National Park In California, Follow This Perfect Itinerary

By Hillary Louise Johnson


All nine of California's national parks can be combined into one epic, 1,600-mile road trip, and September through October offers the best weather with the fewest crowds.
Redwoods & Volcanoes
The drive through Redwood National and State Parks is an epic road trip. Stop at some of the short trails that loop through groves of the world's tallest trees.
Drive 200 miles west to Lassen Volcanic. There are geothermal springs, pools of boiling mud, fumaroles, steam vents, and hydrothermal pools roil away at a brisk 240 degrees F.
Yosemite Valley
Another 300 miles southeast will get you to Yosemite Valley. Every vista is iconic, from El Capitan to Half Dome and roaring Mist Falls
Once you've toured the valley, head up Tioga Road to Tuolumne Meadows for lesser-known hikes. Have a picnic and a swim at Tenaya Lake, the rare alpine lake you can get to by car.
Pinnacles & Sequoia
Head for Pinnacles National Park, less than 200 miles away. Pick the east side for camping, and if you aren't afraid of heights, hike the Condor Gulch Trail.
Drive 160 miles inland, and you'll reach Sequoia & Kings Canyon. Those coastal redwoods were tall, but the giant Sequoias you'll see in these twin national parks are truly massive.