Top 5 State/National Parks I Have Hiked

By Kathryn Tanaka

As the summer season comes to an end, so does the free time to go exploring nature. Many find hiking calming and a way to break away from everyday life. The sound of rustling leaves replace commuter traffic as well as all the anxious thoughts in our heads. I cannot go hiking any time soon, so here are memories of some of the state and national parks.

  1. Redwood National Park

A little way south of port city Eureka, Redwood National Park provides beautiful hiking trails filled to the brim with wildlife and, of course, lots and lots of redwood trees. The soft soil making up the paths makes hiking six-plus miles easy on the joints and I did not have to worry about inhaling all the dirt that comes with drier trails. With a beach at the end of the hike, the Redwood National Park is definitely worth the visit.

  1. Angel Island State Park

Located in San Francisco Bay, Angel Island yields colorful flowers and historical sites. I learned about immigration into San Francisco while also enjoying the mild weather. Although the park does not contain the typical hiking trails, it does boast popular campsites with views of the bay. Although the scenery is to die for, the finicky weather can ruin anyone’s visit to the park, so if you plan to visit make sure to go on a day where the forecast is on your side. Overall, Angel Island is fit for any nature or history lover.

  1. Yosemite National Park

Many of my summers were spent camping and hiking in Yosemite. The national park offers a variety of trails open to people of all abilities. One of my favorite memories is when my friends and I hiked to Vernal Falls, a cold lake waiting for us at the top. Unfortunately on the way back, the steep, rocky path took a toll on me and I tripped, leaving me with bloodied ankles. The Vernal Falls Trail is not for the faint of heart, the dizzying heights and possibility of serious injury are not appealing to everyone. All things considered, Yosemite National Park is perfect for those with more hiking experience.

  1. Plumas-Eureka State Park

This August, my family camped an hour and a half north of Lake Tahoe in Plumas-Eureka State Park. From our campground, we hiked 3.7 miles to Jamison Lake. The water was beautiful and clear, perfect for my friends and me to swim in. However, the rocky trails caused me to slip multiple times and were horrible on my knees. Furthermore, the six-hour drive to get there was not worth only staying for 2 nights.

  1. Lassen Volcanic National Park

I have been to Lassen Volcanic twice and both times have left me unsatisfied. On visit number one, I hiked Bumpass Hell Trail and further to Manzanita Lake. My memory is tainted by this hike due to the fact that I used to hate hiking, but the five-mile hike felt like 10 on my 12-year-old feet. Visit number 2 I saw my family hike the Cinder Cone “trail,” but it is less of a trail and more of a sandy path that will swallow your feet every time you take a step. Not only did the dirt try to eat me whole, but the wind almost knocked me down the bottom of the cone. My mom also tripped on the way down due to the deceptively unstable rocks, another reason why I did not enjoy Lassen.