Natural Sights of California
California is the third biggest state in the US and stretches over 163,000 square miles. Its sprawling surface area and coastal location makes for a diverse climate and ecological landscape, which means that whilst some areas are arid and desert-like, others are far cooler and temperate. With European tourists eager to escape the Eurozone this summer, and more and more airlines offering cheap flights to San Francisco, here is my guide to some of the standout natural sights of the region.
The Death Valley desert is one of the hottest places in the western hemisphere and is the location of the highest recorded temperature, 56.7 degrees Celsius, measured in 1922. Located in the south east of the state, Death Valley National Park is visited by over 700,000 visitors a year who come to see the inspiring landscapes and ancient geology (some rocks are said to be billions of years old). As a consequence of its harsh environment, the valley is home to a host of unique animals such as the coyote and pupfish.
Redwood National and State Parks
Humboldt and Del North counties are located in the north east of the state, and are home to a great number of redwood forest and other areas of natural beauty – collectively known as the Redwood National and State Parks. The redwoods in the area descend directly from a species that grew 20 million years ago, though what remains today (almost 40,000 acres) is just 2 percent of what would have existed pre-civilization. Although there are no hotels or motels within the parks, nearby towns such as Orick and Crescent City offer sufficient lodging for visitors.
Lake County takes its name from Clear Lake, the largest natural lake (68 square miles) entirely in California. Aside from being a quiet and tranquil destination for nature lovers, the area is also famed for wine production, an industry that flourished until prohibition in 1920 but has been re-established since the 60s. The county is also home to a portion of Medocino National Forest – a prime destination for recreational activities.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite is located in the central east of the state, and stretches over 1,100 square miles. Despite its great size, the area that is mostly visited by the 3.5 million people each year is Yosemite Valley – a portion of the park that stretches over about 7 miles. The valley is popular due to the number of trails and the diversity of natural and geological sights within the relatively small area. Rock formations and cliffs such as El Capitan and Sentinal Rock offer inspirational scenery whilst the area boasts a Mediterranean climate.
Sarah Maple writes about how to book cheap flights and package holidays.