Trail Mix: National park ratings have California flavor

FresnoAugust 7, 2013 

California is home to six of America's best 25 national parks.

According to whom? you might ask.

That's according to The Active Times, an outdoors-themed web site that enlisted a panel of experts to rate their 20 favorite national parks in terms of plant and animal biodiversity, range of visitor activities, scenic beauty and their own personal experiences. (The panel included former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and 17 travel writers and photographers.)

Yellowstone came out on top, followed by Yosemite at No. 2 with Acadia (Maine), Glacier (Montana) and Grand Canyon (Arizona) rounding out the top five.

Other California parks to crack the top 25 were Sequoia (No. 9), Death Valley (No. 11), Redwood (No. 15), Kings Canyon (No. 16) and Channel Islands (No. 21).

Additional California parks in the survey were Joshua Tree (No. 27), Lassen Volcanic (No. 41) and Pinnacles (No. 58), which became a national park this year.

Having not visited all 59 parks in the rankings, it's tough to nitpick. But Denali (No. 10) and Lassen both seem way, way low, while Redwood might be a smidge too high for my tastes.

For a complete list and details about the survey, go to If nothing else, perhaps these ranks will spur folks to visit.


China Peak Sprint Triathlon

When: Saturday

Where: Huntington Lake

Back for its third year, the China Peak Sprint Triathlon features a half-mile lake swim, 12 miles on the bike along the lake and a 3-mile run inside China Peak. The race begins with an 8:30 a.m. mass start at Lakeshore Beach. Wetsuits are recommended.

Fees are $80 for adults ($90 on race day), $70/$80 for 19 and under and $130 for relay teams. Race day registration begins at 6 a.m. at the beach. Details: Register at

SAR Wild Run

When: Sunday

Where: Shaver Lake, Fishing Club Road

Run, bike or hike around Shaver Lake in this fund-raiser for Fresno County Search and Rescue.

Options include the 5K "wild run" (trail run with a couple steep hillside scrambles), a 10K trail run, mountain bike rides of 10K and 16K, plus a 2-mile family hike. Running events start from 8-8:30 a.m; the bike race begins at 10.

Details: Save $5 (off $40 fee) by registering in advance.

News & notes

Trails in the Kaiser Wilderness remain closed due to the Aspen Fire, which had burned 22,000 acres and was 75% contained as of Wednesday. Huntington Lake's Rancheria Campground remains closed, along with numerous campgrounds off Minarets Road near Mammoth Pool. All other campgrounds and facilities at Huntington Lake and along Kaiser Pass Road are open.

Due to low water levels on the lower Kings River, officials are asking anglers to refrain from fishing in the catch-and-release section until after Nov. 1. Minimum flows (100 cfs) are expected by Sept. 1.

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