National parks get all the attention, and state parks seem to get overlooked by their bigger cousins. But you usually don't have to go too far from a major city to find some spectacular state parks that will leave you in awe.
While every state has a different approach to how they manage their parks, most state parks have nicely developed campgrounds to accompany the hiking trails, incredible views and other recreational opportunities they provide, and dogs are almost always allowed to come along.
These 20 state parks in the western U.S. are places all lovers of outdoor adventure should visit in their lifetime.
California's largest State Park, it has over 110 miles of trails in a desert ecosystem. Bring lots of water.
Hike through huge redwood groves along the North Fork of the Stanislaus River.
Enjoy miles of beaches and explore a historic lakefront mansion on the shore of Lake Tahoe.
See Big Sur at its most iconic point, McWay Falls, and hike the surrounding trails and beaches.
Find the perfect swimming hole along the Yuba River, or hike the trails that run through this large state park.
One of many places in Northern California to hike through massive old-growth coast redwoods, Jedediah Smith has over 10,000 acres to explore.
Hike to one of the highest points in San Diego county. Come in the spring for more wildlife and wildflower blooms.
Visit one of Oregon's most beautiful waterfalls, and explore the now defunct hydropower plant that was closed in 1960.
Oregon's largest state park has 24 miles of hiking trails and is home to the second largest concentration of waterfalls in the state after the Columbia River Gorge.
Join rock climbers from around the world at this renowned climbing spot, or hike one of the many trails with great views of the Crooked River below.
A trip to the Oregon Coast isn't complete without visiting the 1906 shipwreck of the Peter Iredale.
Follow in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark through a forest of massive Sitka spruce with amazing views of the Pacific Ocean.
Walk through deep canyons or fish the John Day River at one of Oregon's newest state parks.
See one of the most impressive waterfalls in the Pacific Northwest. The 198-foot waterfall plunges into a huge basalt basin.
Get up close to harbor seals away from the ferry lines in the Puget Sound. Sea-kayak to get here from nearby Sucia or Orcas Island.
Explore an old silver and gold mine and then see an amazing collection of Ichthyosaur fossils, the large reptiles that once swam the inland sea that is now Nevada.
Climb at one of Idaho's best rock climbing areas. Chances are it will be a lot less crowded than crags in more populated western states.
Walk behind and beneath waterfalls in this small green oasis in northwest Colorado.
Relax along the shores or by paddling in Sylvan Lake, or hike on the many trails that wind through and leave from the state park.
Climb at Boulder's world-renowned climbing spot, or explore the more undeveloped sections of the large state park.