National Park Service Sites in California

I think we all know that California has some incredible National Parks, but how many of us have ever toured any of the National Historic Sites? ...or followed the National Historic Trails? I haven't been to Yosemite since they implemented the mass transit system in Yosemite Valley... something about the hordes of people and the wish to see things without tinted bus windows in between...

I spent a couple years living on the edge of Golden Gate National Recreation Area, within walking distance of Muir Woods. California was crowded even then but you could still drive your own vehicle in Yosemite Valley. And Muir Woods was quiet and peaceful even when the tour buses were in. I remember going out to Point Reyes and standing in the surf as a child (with an adult on either side of me holding my hands so I wouldn't get lost in the crashing waves). You can't get in the water at Point Reyes at all any more, you can hardly get access to the beach. So everyone goes up by the lighthouse and looks for whale spouts in the water... parking spots are usually a couple miles away.

A view of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area from a perch near Point Lobos
The Golden Gate Bridge and National Recreation Area from Point Lobos

National Park Services Sites in California

Alcatraz Island at dawn, seen through a morning fog
Alcatraz Island through an early morning fog
Map showing approximate locations of the National Park Service sites in California
Looking down on the rocky knoll that is West Anacapa Island in Channel Islands National Park
West Anacapa Island in Channel Islands National Park
Photo of Channel Islands National Park courtesy of the National Park Service
Photo of Golden Gate National Recreation Area courtesy of Wikipedia userid Leaflet
Photo of Death Valley National Parks courtesy of Phil Armitage
Photo of Alcatraz Island courtesy of Ben Peoples, CCA 2.5 License
Map courtesy of Cartesia MapArt US Terrain