From the Pacific Ocean to a metropolis like San Francisco, the state of California packs in a lot to do. When it comes to scenic wonders though, the Sierra Nevada range is a MUST for ALL who visit the state. Here’s a glimpse at 4 of the must see natural attractions in the High Sierra.
Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest
What are the oldest recording living things on Earth? Most would think it’s some kind of fungus in the Amazon or tiny bacterium in Africa. Well, they’re wrong! It’s actually the trees in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. You’ll find them in the White Mountains, about an hour’s drive east of Bishop. While many are over 2,000 years old, the “Methuselah” tree in Schulman Grove is dated at more than 4,773 years old. Just think about that for a second. That means these trees were already here when the Great Pyramids of Giza were being built.
Emerald Bay Lake Tahoe
Mark Twain once said that “Lake Tahoe would restore an Egyptian mummy to his pristine vigor.” If that’s true, then Emerald Bay is the crown of unlocking that beauty. It’s considered by many to be not just the most beautiful in Lake Tahoe but on the planet. A large cove filled with jade and sapphire colored waters, Emerald Bay is nearly surrounded by mountainous peaks. And in the center of it all like a cherry on top of a sundae, the ONLY island in all of Lake Tahoe – Fannette Island. Each time you visit, you’ll come back astounded again and again by its beauty.
It’s difficult to wrap your head around the size, age and stature of the General Grant Tree. This tree is the centerpiece of Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park. Standing at 267 feet tall and 29 feet wide, it’s a massive specimen of the Giant Sequoia. It’s also been in our nation’s history for so long that it was named in 1867 after General Ulysses S Grant before he was even president of the United States. Another interesting fact is that good ‘ole General Grant gets the honor of being our nation’s Christmas tree since it was declared by President Calvin Coolidge in 1926. We highly recommend putting it on your MUST-SEE list when visiting the High Sierra.
Columns of the Giants
There’s something about natural phenomena that sparks our imagination and triggers our inner child. The rock formations known as the “Columns of the Giants” are a great example of this. This rare example of strange columnal, hexagonal basalt rock formations were weathered into fantastic shapes by previous glacial ages. Located next to the Pigeon Flat Campground about 4.5 miles west of Kennedy Meadows, the trail provides an easy quarter mile walk to the unusual geologic formation. With views of basalt columns as well as being known to rock climbers for hosting some of the steepest clip-ups in North America, it is a wonder to experience.
The seven wonders of the world might be interesting to see, but getting to them requires passports, vaccinations and expensive airfare. Before you venture internationally, why not see what mother nature has created right here in the High Sierra? These 4 must see natural attractions in the High Sierra are only a glimpse into the vast collection that exist here.
Author: Alex Silgalis
Alex Silgalis is an outdoors travel writer who enjoys snowboarding, mountain biking, or having a cold one from a local mountain brewery. See more of Alex’s work at https://localfreshies.com
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