SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The first annual California State Parks Week starts today, June 14, through June 18th, and it’s time to celebrate the more than 275 State Parks in California. Those parks protect more than 340 miles of coastline, the tallest and largest trees in the world, lakes, deserts and rivers.
State Parks are for everyone to enjoy, and if you are looking to visit one, keep reading for Bartell's Backroads top five favorite parks to help you plan your trip.
Railtown 1897 State Historic Park
They call her the Movie Queen because she’s the most filmed locomotive in Hollywood. You make recognize Engine Number Three from the movie Back to the Future 2, and you can take a ride on the famous locomotive through Tuolumne County’s scenic Gold Country in Jamestown.
Año Nuevo State Park
The sound of love resonates along the Pescadero Coastline, and that love song is coming from elephant seals looking to find a mate. Get up and close to these massive animals and see their pups basking under the San Mateo County sun.
Prairie Creek Redwood State Park
Look up in awe at some of the tallest trees in the world. The redwood forest in Humboldt County is home to countless wildlife including Roosevelt Elk and the elusive banana slug. Make sure you take the short hike through Fern Canyon, one of the film locations of "The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
Malakoff Diggins State Park
Though eye-catching and beautiful, the colorful mountains in the historic town of North Bloomfield are a stark reminder of Nevada County’s destructive gold mining history. Massive water cannons revealed the innards of mountains by blasting away tons of rock and soil before sending it downstream into a sensitive watershed.
Bodie State Park
On average, the ghost town of Bodie is the coldest place in California. The arid Mono County landscape preserved the buildings. The old mining town is a little hard to get to in the winter but very fun to explore in the summer months.
Bonus: Check out Indian Grinding Rock State Park. The replica roundhouse and the ancient grinding rock are a great way to learn about Native American culture.
Several events are taking place during State Parks Week you can find event times and locations here. If you want to learn more about all of the state parks Backroads has visited, browse through the more than 25 stories below.
Full Backroads State Park List
Big Basin State Park (Boulder Creek, Santa Cruz County)
Angel Island State Park (Tiburon, Marin County)
Auburn State Recreation Area (Auburn, Placer County)
Indian Grinding Rock State Park (Pine Grove, Amador County)
Weaverville Joss House State Historic Park (Trinity County)
Railtown 1897 State Historic Park (Jamestown, Tuolumne County)
Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park (Coloma, El Dorado County)
Fort Ord Dunes State Park (Marina, Monterey County)
Ano Nuevo State Park (Pescadero, San Mateo County)
Grover hot Spring State Park (Markleeville, Alpine County)
Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park (Bloomfield, Nevada County)
Bodie State Historic Park (Bridgeport, Mono County)
Emerald Bay State Park (Emerald Bay, El Dorado County)
Mt. Diablo State Park ( Walnut Creek, Contra Costa County)
Nimbus Flat State Recreation Area (Nimbus, Sacramento County)
Prairie City State Vehicle Recreation Area (Rancho Cordova, Sacramento County
Donner Memorial State Park (Truckee, Nevada County)
Columbia State Historic Park (Columbia, Tuolumne County)
Henry Cowell Redwood State Park (Felton, Santa Cruz County)
San Juan Bautista State Park (San Juan Bautista, San Benito County)
William B. Ide Adobe State Park (Red Bluff, Tehama County)
Allensworth State Historic Park (Allensworth, Tulare County)
Oroville State Recreation Area (Oroville, Butte County)
Calaveras Big Tree State Park (Arnold, Calaveras County
HIT THE BACKROADS: Summer is here! Plan your ultimate road trip with John Bartell's list of California's top 10 destinations to visit.