Just below the California-Oregon border, Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park promises fairy-tale rainforest paths through towering redwood groves and secret rope swings over trickling creeks. Hunt for banana slugs, pitch a tent (dogs are allowed at campsites), and snorkel in the Smith River, the longest free-flowing river in California.
Just below the California-Oregon border, Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park promises fairy-tale rainforest paths through towering redwood groves and secret rope swings over trickling creeks. Hunt for banana slugs, pitch a tent (dogs are allowed at campsites), and snorkel in the Smith River, the longest free-flowing river in California.
Photograph by Mason Trinca

20 dreamy photos of California’s natural wonders

The Golden State is a haven for the adventurous at heart.

An inexhaustible, year-round adventure lover’s dream, California is home to nine national parks, more than 300 state parks, a fiesta of rushing rivers, 3,427 miles of dramatic Pacific coastline, and the world’s tallest forests. From nature walks in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park to windsurfing under the Golden Gate Bridge, this seaside state offers endless outdoor possibilities. (Take a road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway.)

“Diversity is a big part of why I love California, and these photos only scratch the surface,” says photographer Mason Trinca. “You can go bouldering in Joshua Tree, skiing around Lake Tahoe, or surfing out of Bolinas Beach all in the same month. [There is] so much nature right at the doorsteps of California’s biggest cities.”

So earn that taco break by lacing up those hiking boots and breathing in the fresh eucalyptus air—there’s a new slice of the Golden State waiting to be explored around every corner.

Mason Trinca is a documentary and editorial photographer based in California. Follow him on Instagram @mason_trinca. Cait Etherton is a Virginia-based writer and frequent contributor to National Geographic Travel. Follow her journey on Twitter @carryoncait.
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