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Woman sitting on a rock in nature overlooking Half Dome in Yosemite National Park

5 Awesome National Parks Driving Distance From LA

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Not only do Los Angelenos enjoy the perk of being in So Cal, they have the advantage of being within proximity of five national treasures – from the largest protected desert on the globe to a place where the trees inspired a generation of U2 fans. Here are StorQuest’s top five picks for awesome national park adventures that are within a day’s drive of LA.

Joshua Tree National Park

Experience the exotic rock formations and namesake Joshua Trees that have become an iconic symbol over the years. Rugged and seemingly remote, Joshua Tree National Park is the closest to the Los Angeles Basin on our list. Less than three hours from downtown, this park is the place to spend a weekend exploring. Camp near Skull Rock, climb Trashcan Rock’s east face, hike Ryan Mountain for an epic sunrise, or drive to Keys View for a desert sunset you’ll remember for years to come.

Death Valley National Park

Despite the name, Death Valley National Park is full of spectacular and vibrant adventures, and it’s just 275 miles away from LA. Here, you can experience everything from painted hills and sand dunes sculpted by the wind to colorful canyons and one hot spring oasis after another (if you know where to look). You can also stand at the park’s low point – Badwater Basin at 282 feet below sea level – or top out on the park’s highest summit – Telescope Peak at 11,043 feet above sea level.   

Yosemite National Park 

We’d be remiss not to mention Yosemite – it’s the oldest national park on our list. Designated in 1890, Yosemite is an outdoor paradise. Granite cliff faces soar 2,000 feet above the valley floor and hundreds of miles of hiking trails offer any kind of adventure you desire. We recommend heading to Tuolumne Meadows – at the park’s eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Here, sublime meadows act as foreground to the craggy backdrop of granite peaks the Sierra’s are famous for. 

Channel Islands National Park

Off the coast of Los Angeles and Ventura counties sits a Morse code-like strand of islands and underwater area that is protected as a national park. Five islands make up the park’s land environment, and each offers established campground facilities and set you up for a multitude of adventures. Depending on which island you visit, choose to hike, kayak, surf, scuba dive, watch for whales, or simply chill in an atmosphere that feels untouched by the modern world.

Kings Canyon National Park

Perhaps the least known on our list is Kings Canyon National Park. A mile-deep, glacier-carved valley makes up the bulk of this park, as do soaring peaks, mountain meadows, rivers, and some of the more well-known giant stands of Sequoia trees. Set up camp in the Cedar Grove area of the Park and explore, or reserve your permit for a five-day backpack along the spectacular Rae Lakes Loop – 42 miles of trail that starts and finishes at Cedar Grove.

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