00
Shares

State Parks You Can't Miss

52 Week Adventure Challenge

04.03.17

Start Exploring
State Parks You Can't Miss
00

Shares

Advertisement
  • Saint Edward Seminary.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Lake Washington shoreline at Saint Edward State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Tibbetts Beach at Lake Sammamish State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • View of the East Lake Sammamish Trail from Lake Sammamish State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Looking out over Puget Sound's East Passage from Dash Point State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Flaming Geyser State Park trail to the Bubbling Geyser.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Flaming Geyser State Park RC airplane flying area.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Picnic tables located along Deep Lake in Nolte State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • 7,174-feet of freshwater shoreline on Deep Lake in the Green River Gorge at Nolte State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • 30-slip dock at Mystery Bay State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • 30-slip dock at Mystery Bay State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • A view up the south beach at Camano Island State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • The day use picnic area above the north beach at Camano Island State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Boat dock and fishing pier at Fort Flagler State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Vacation rentals at Fort Flagler State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Looking south along Fort Worden Beach.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • View of the sound's Admiralty Inlet and the North Cascades from Fort Worden Beach.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • A picnic area on the lakeshore in Lake Easton State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Lake Easton views from Lake Easton State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Views of the San Juan Islands at Bay View State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius) near the bay at low tide at Bay View State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Beacon Rock and the marina.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Tryon Creek State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Tryon Creek State Park Visitor Center.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • View of McIver Park looking northeast from McIver Memorial Viewpoint.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • View of Clackamas River looking southwest from the Riverbend day-use area at Milo McIver State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Pioneer Mothers' Cabin Museum at Champoeg State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Champoeg State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Visitor center at L.L. Stub Stewart State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Day use picnic area at L.L. Stub Stewart State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Pacific rhododendron (Rhododendron macrophyllum) in Silver Falls State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Silver Falls State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Silver Falls State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Munson Creek Falls, a 319 foot-cascade.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Nehalem Bay.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • View from Nehalem Bay State Park looking north toward Neahkahnie Mountain (1,680').- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Smith Rock State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Monkey Face and Smith Rock State Park- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Climbers at Smith Rock- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • An autumn sunset in Mount Tamalpais State Park lights up the grassy hillsides like gold.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • A San Franicsco skyline beyond Marin's ridgelines in Mount Tamalpais State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Northerly view from East Peak (2,571') in Mount Tamalpais State Park overlooks Bon Tempe Lake. - State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Mount Tamalpais State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Fire roads criss-cross the slopes of Mount Diablo and serve as prime mountain biking trails.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • The summit tower in Mount Diablo State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Pescadero State Beach.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Pescadero has many wide, flat beaches.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • North view of Tomales Bay and the lush coastline.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Tomales Bay State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Big Basin State Park museum.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Picnic area at Big Basin State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Año Nuevo offers marvelous hiking along the coastal bluffs.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Año Nuevo Island.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • The Big Sur River Gorge in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Andrew Molera State Beach framed by Molera Point headland.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • A curious bobcat (Lynx rufus) inspects his tracks along the Creamery Meadow Trail in Andrew Molera State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • The lower section of the Big Sur River flows through Andrew Molera State Park. - State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Malibu Creek, Malibu Creek State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Planet of the Apes Wall, a rock climbing crag off of the Rock Pool Trail, Malibu Creek State Park. - State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Antelope Island State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Looking out from Frary Peak in Antelope Island State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • View north to the Marina at Jordanelle State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Rockport Reservoir, Rockport State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • American white pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) on the southern end of Rockport State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • View of Mount Timpanogos (11,752 ft) and Deer Creek State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Zipline Utah at Rainbow Bay Day Use Area, Deer Creek State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Cherry Creek State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Cherry Creek State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Chatfield State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Marina (private) on Chatfield Reservoir, Chatfield State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Horse Stables at Chatfield State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Chatfield wetlands near the Discovery Pavilion and Audubon Center.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Eldorado Canyon State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • View of Eldorado Canyon's Shirt Tail Peak from The Bastille.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Climber on the West Ridge in Eldorado Canyon State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • South Rim area of Roxborough State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Persse Place homestead off of the Fountain Valley Trail in Roxborough State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Shoreline trail at Boyd Lake State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Fishing pier on Boyd Lake, Boyd Lake State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Corral Center Mountain Bike Park at Lory State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Trail down to Soldier Cove of Horsetooth Reservoir at Lory State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding trail network at Mueller State Park.- State Parks You Can't Miss
  • Mueller State Park Visitor Center.- State Parks You Can't Miss
Article
Contributor

State parks are often hidden in the shadow of national parks and all of their spectacular glory, but they can be a quiet refuge for the outdoor adventurer who seeks a weekend away from the bustle of city life. Though humble, many of them claim their own unique natural beauty and offer the opportunity for outdoor activities that are unavailable in bigger parks with more visitors, more restrictive rules, and sprawling infrastructure.

For this week’s iteration of the #52WeekAdventureChallenge, we encourage you to seek out and explore some of the fantastic state parks in your area.

State parks, in fact, are the model by which the national system was created. Few know that Yosemite National Park actually began its long and storied legacy as a California State Park. On June 30, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill into law ceding the federal land around Yosemite Valley to the State of California to hold in trust for the preservation of the park’s beauty and enjoyment of the state’s citizens. This is the first instance in which land was designated for preservation by the government, and it is considered by historians to be the birth of the national park system. Yosemite officially became a national park in 1890, building on its legacy as a popular recreation destination, even in the 19th century. 

Interestingly, the systems of state parks throughout the country evolved with the automobile and the development of infrastructure supporting their use. For all practical purposes, remote areas in the United States were off limits before the development and mass production of the car. Once Americans had access to a means of transport as individual and efficient as the car, new horizons were opened to many, and many responded by crossing them. For instance, the Oregon State Park system, which has become an park system exemplar, was born out of the state’s efforts to create a highway system in the early 20th century; the intent wasn't to protect Oregon’s natural spaces. Sam Boardman, its first superintendent, acquired and protected more than 50,000 acres of Oregon’s wilderness for the purpose of scenic byways—not preservation or conservation for recreational use. Similarly, by 1921 Washington State had just eight parks in its state park system. The number took off in the 1920s, in step with the explosion of car ownership. The state quickly added 12 parks to its roster of protected lands. By 1953 and the introduction of the Cadillac Eldorado, the state had added more than 60.

New forms of transportation to come in the future are sure to ease our passage to the lands that we love—hopefully, in ways that are more in keeping with the spirit of preservation. No matter how you go, state parks are a beautiful and serene reminder of the inheritance we are all responsible for preserving and passing on. Take an opportunity this weekend to visit one of these parks and ensure that they remain, as ever, an important part of our outdoor legacy.

Washington

Oregon

California

Utah

Colorado

#52AdventureChallenge

We believe good things come from people spending time outside. We strive to provide inspiration and supporting information on incredible adventures to make it easy for you to get outdoors and explore new places. We understand that life is busy, but we strongly encourage you to make time for outdoor recreation on a weekly, if not daily, basis. To keep you inspired all year, we've put together a list of 52 geologic features and adventure themes. Check them out and join us in our #52AdventureChallenge!

Advertisement
Published By

Published by

Contributor
118 Adventures Explored
116 Adventures Published

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info