California State and National Parks, Alphabetically

As featured in California Explorer

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

San Diego County

Anza-Borrego is California's largest state park and the second largest state park in the United States. It covers the Colorado Desert, from west of the Salton Sea to almost the Mexican border. The park is home to Peninsular bighorn sheep, an endangered species. The park's paleontology lab trains volunteer citizen scientists to look for and care for fossils, which are still discovered in Anza-Borrego.

Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook/Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area

Los Angeles County

The Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook and Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area are tucked into urban Baldwin Hills, next to the area's famous oil fields. The parks provide fantastic views of downtown Los Angeles, but they also provide habitat for animals that many people don't think of as being city dwellers, including bats. Scientists are surveying what kind of wildlife call these parks home.

Channel Islands National Park

Santa Barbara County

Channel Islands National Park includes five islands off the coast of Santa Barbara and Ventura. The park is home to 2,000 species of animals and plants, including 145 that are only found on its islands. Scientists study not only wildlife and plants on the islands, such as the Channel Islands Fox, but also flora and fauna in the protected waters off the islands.

Yosemite National Park

Mariposa County

The protection of Yosemite in 1864 helped lead to the establishment of the U.S. National Park system. Yosemite officially became a national park in 1890 and now attracts nearly 4-million visitors a year. Scientists use the park to study everything from water to invasive species. In 2013, the giant Rim Fire burned into the park. Such wildfires provide scientists with the opportunity to study how the forest bounces back from devastation.