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Looking for things to do on your next vacation in the Sierra Nevada? From the largest gold leaf nugget in the world to the iconic falls that Ansel Adams made famous, here’s four weird & wonderful things you won’t want to not miss in the High Sierra.

The Classic “Fall” In All Those Pictures Of Yosemite

Learn more about the falls in Yosemite

Bridalveil Fall Yosemite things to not miss in the high sierra
Image appears courtesy: Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau

The glaciated Yosemite Valley at approximately 3,500 feet deep is home to one of the biggest collections of dramatic waterfalls in the United States. Within that assortment there might be bigger ones, but there isn’t one that stands out more than the Bridalveil Fall. And yes… there’s no “s” in its name. This is THE waterfall you see in all those classic photos made famous by world renowned photographer Ansel Adams.

Drive Through A Giant Sequoia

Learn more about Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park Tunnel Log Driving
Image appears courtesy: Visalia Convention & Visitors Bureau

There are roadside attractions and then there are attractions that are physically ON the road… like the Tunnel Log. After a Sequoia tree fell over the Crescent Meadow road in 1937, it was cut so visitors could actually drive through it, starting in the summer of ’38. Don’t miss your chance to drive through a Giant Sequoia.

See The World Split Apart

Learn more about the Earthquake Fault

Earthquake Fault
Image appears courtesy: Mammoth Lakes Tourism

The Sierra Nevada mountain range was created by the mighty uplift of two tectonic plates smashing into each other. And there’s no better way to see the geological evidence than by checking out the Earthquake fault. About 1 mile west of the Mammoth Scenic Loop, the fissure cuts through hard volcanic rock for several hundred feet, reaching a depth up to 60 feet. While called a fault, it’s more accurately described as a fracture since it’s believed to have formed during one of the recent Inyo/Mono Craters eruptions.

Visit the Largest Crystalline Gold Leaf Specimen Ever Found

Learn more about the “Crown Jewel” & Ironstone Vineyards

Ironstone Heritage Museum gold nugget crown jewel
Photo by: Menka Belgal – Image appears courtesy: Calaveras County Visitors Bureau

Have you heard of the Crown Jewels in London? Those puny stones pale in comparison to the crown jewel at Ironstone Vineyards. This wonder was unearthed just a few miles from the family owned vineyard. Weighing in at 44 troy pounds (and 98 percent pure), it makes the Ironstone specimen the largest gold leaf specimen ever found. In fact, for comparison, Ironstone’s specimen is double the size of the next two largest specimens combined with the Fricot specimen weighing in at 13.8 troy pounds & the Whopper specimen weighing in at 11.7 troy pounds.

Want even more ideas while in Calaveras county? Learn more at

From the highest peaks to the lowest valleys, each nook & cranny of the High Sierra is filled with unique things to see. Hopefully these “gems” will inspire you to plan a trip today!

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

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