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36 Top California National Parks, Monuments, and Historic Sites – A comprehensive guide!

California is home to some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring national parks and monuments in the country.

It is no wonder California boasts the most national parks of any US state. It has nine national parks, but the number climbs to 36 when we include the National Monuments and National Historic Sites, National Historical Parks, preserves, and National Recreation Areas.

From the majestic redwoods of Redwood National Park and the awe-inspiring granite peaks of Yosemite National Park to the desert landscapes of Death Valley National Park, there is a diverse range of natural beauty to explore.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll provide a list of all the top California National Parks, monuments, and historic sites.

I’ll also include information on what each park is known for, so you can decide which ones are right for you.

Whether you’re an out-of-town visitor with a couple of hours to spare or a nearby resident with a lifetime to explore, these places will surely delight and inspire!

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Fall Colors in Rocky Mountain National Park

Fall colors in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado are a vibrant spectacle which I was lucky enough to have witnessed. The cornucopia of bright yellow of the aspen trees in Estes Park, the gateway town to the Rocky Mountain National Park, instills a delight that far outshines any of the minutely curated beautiful Instagram feeds. The fall foliage in Grand Lake is visual poetry. Grand Lake is another nearby town located just one mile from the west entrance of the national park. My trip to the Rocky Mountain National Park, Grand Lake, and Estes Park, suffused with the golden glow of autumn, has acquired a permanent shelf-life in my memory. I hope this travel guide and memoir will inspire you to plan a trip to greet autumn amidst the majestic Rocky Mountains.

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Spirit Island in Canada – A famous icon of the Canadian Rockies

Spirit Island in Canada, a famous icon of the Canadian Rockies, is remote and is only reachable by a boat, a kayak, or canoe. When I was exploring the majestic Canadian Rockies, the wilderness all around evoked in me a quest for remoteness – a place completely cut-off from the complex world we live in. The postcard-perfect Spirit Island which is not easily accessible seemed a viable option to taste the essence of a far-away remote land, surrounded by untamed nature. I embarked on a cruise from Maligne Lake – a boat trip that revealed the ongoing metamorphosis of my sensations to me unlike any other. My mind at the time was untrammeled by convention and could listen to the inner flux. The postcard-perfect Maligne Lake and Spirit Island, which is part of Jasper National Park in Canada (a UNESCO world heritage site) filled and flooded me with inspiration. I was drowned in their poetic impressions.

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Salt Lake City to Yellowstone – A road trip guide!

The Salt Lake City to Yellowstone road trip during one summer gifted me days when I escaped to the extraordinary.

On this road trip – history, art, and culture, the charm of old and small towns, grand sceneries and lush greeneries, wilderness and vastness, wildlife and geographical wonders greeted me with open arms wherever I went.

The long road morphed into a storybook studded with stirring panoramas, horizons that instill wanderlust and moments of inspiration.

The Salt Lake City Temple Square, Logan Canyon Scenic Byway, Bear Lake, Grand Teton National Park, John D Rockefeller Jr Memorial Parkway, Yellowstone National Park, and Mesa Falls were some of the exuberant highlights of this super scenic road trip.

The speed, the sun, the wind, the fantasy of never looking back, and the sheer diversity of vistas – these are some of the memories forever etched in my mind from the trip.

Read along and let me inspire you to hit the road through this road trip guide. I hope you will love it as much as I did!

Salt Lake City to Yellowstone – A road trip guide! #RoadTrip Click To Tweet

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Mesa Falls in Idaho on the way to Yellowstone National Park

The Upper and Lower Mesa Falls on the way to the Yellowstone National Park from Idaho is a must-see place for nature lovers. Wrapped in wilderness and calm, the Mesa falls will instantly uplift your mood anytime. On our long drive to West Yellowstone from Idaho, I loved the short trip to Mesa Falls deep in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest and enjoyed a short hike from the Upper Mesa Falls to the Lower Mesa Falls.

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A delicious evening at Fiddle River restaurant in Jasper!

The wonder of the wilderness and the respite of remoteness which we saw and felt at the Spirit Island in Maligne Lake literally made us less conscious of hunger and thirst. We simply forgot to take our lunch that day. When it was afternoon and we were preparing to return, we realized we need to eat something. But to our astonishment, all the restaurants were closing. So without wasting any more time, we decided to drive to Fiddle River restaurant in Jasper. And you know what, it was our best decision. A beautiful day ended with a winner dinner!

Address: 620 Connaught Drive (Upstairs), Jasper, Alberta, Canada  T0E 1E0 Website: Fiddle River Restaurant Timings: 5 pm – 9:30 pm

A beautiful day ended with a winner dinner! #Travel #Food #ExploreCanada #Jasper Click To Tweet

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Canadian Rockies from Banff Gondola!

Notification alert 🔔: Real-world has a secret magnet to attract our mind and soul and is more powerful than any virtual world’s algorithm that optimizes to gain our partial attention. After a week-long trip to the Canadian Rockies, I realize this truth now, even more, as I am re-entering into the world of social media by virtue of my profession. Although I am back, my heart is still reminiscing the views of the Rockies while riding up the Banff Gondola. It was akin to floating amidst beauty. The music of the guitar played by a musician at the top of the mountain that evening during the sunset festival is still surpassing the sound of my keyboard. I feel I am still listening to it live. The resplendent Rockies at the time of the sunset made my eyes content to its brim. Now, when I am writing these lines in my diary, my mind’s eye is still marveling at the scene of the setting sun over the Canadian Rockies.

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A cruise on Lake Minnewanka in Banff, Canada!

The night was starry, and the moon was half-crescent. I cuddled up beside the bedside window inside a wooden chalet to witness the night’s grandeur.

But slowly, the starry sky lulled me into sleep. The next day, when the night departed and the sun made its grand entry, I woke up and witnessed a magical morning slowly unfolding.

The Canadian Rockies afar were shining in a silvery glow. The dewdrop on a green leaf was reflecting the morning glory.

And I was slowly sipping the cup of hot coffee. The spark of aliveness everywhere ignited the romantic traveler in me, and I decided to go on a cruise on Lake Minnewanka in Banff, Canada, by Pursuit.

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