Backpacker magazine's latest issue took a stab at naming the best view each state has to offer, and Channel Islands National Park in Southern California beat out Yosemite, Death Valley, and plenty of other logical spots for their pick. I think it's a great choice.
Whenever I talk to people about Channel Islands, I pull out my smartphone and start scrolling through my photos. There are a lot of "oohs" and "ahhhs" at the views of Santa Cruz Island, which I photographed while on hikes and kayaking trips, but the biggest wide-eyed moment is when a photo from neighboring Anacapa Island comes up.
Inspiration Point, Backpacker's pick, is one of Channel Islands National Park's most recognizable features. It's also a really cool experience to stand atop and look out. The small 1.1-square-mile island of volcanic rock is divided into three sections with the eastern portion only accessible for hiking and camping. This grand view overlooks the mid and western portions of the island, where brown pelicans take shelter. When I'm there, this is the spot where I always eat lunch. I mean, why not? It's not even a mile hike from the dock (okay, there is about 150 stairs to conquer from dock to the island's topside).
It should go without saying that there are a lot of insanely beautiful views in California, and it was likely no easy task to print a definitive answer. This is stuff of debate, after all. Even Backpacker's Editor, Dennis Lewon, got nixed: His favorite Golden State view is in the Trinity Alps at the northern end of the state.
Did Backpacker get it right or do you think somewhere else in California deserves the prize? Let us know in the comments section below.