High Sierra Area Attractions
Top Tourist Attractions in High Sierra Area
The High Sierra area of California includes the stunning Yosemite National Park and the infamous Donner Pass.
One of the most famous parks in the USA, Yosemite National Park, features a dramatic landscape of mountains, rivers, and waterfalls. Photographer Ansel Adams created some of his most well known images in the park.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks cover incredibly scenic areas with mountains, forests, lakes, and gorges. The parks have many mountains over 10,000 ft (3,000 m), including Mount Whitney at 14,495 ft (4,418 m).
Lake Tahoe is a beautiful mountain lake in eastern California, often associated with the nearby ski area. There are numerous towns along the shores, the most prominent tourist center being South Lake Tahoe.
The Donner brothers led a group of 89 people from Illinois to California in the mid 1800s. The Donner Pass was named to remember the struggle to survive and commemorate the 42 who perished.
Lone Pine, California
Inyo CountyLocation and importanceThis little township, situated on the CA 395, lies between Death Valley Monument 90mi/144km distant and the foot of Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in North America, 13mi/21km away, from where you can travel through the Alabama Hills (red sandstone mountains of varying size). From Lone Pine - especially at sunrise - there is a beautiful view of Mount Whitney and the neighboring tall peak of the western Sierra Nevada.In the previous century Lone Pine provided a living for the farmers who had settled here, and later became the setting-off point for mountain tours. Conquering Mount Whitney, which was first climbed in 1873, is a strenuous undertaking and takes at least three days, as the difference in level between Lone Pine and the Whitney peak is nearly 6,500ft/2,000m.The Alabama Hills were the scene of fierce battles between Paiute Indians, who were well able to hide out there, and the American troops. Because of their colorful appearance these hills have provided the setting for many films.
Mount Whitney at 14,494 feet is the highest peak in the lower 48 states. It is located in the Inyo National Forest, 15 miles west of Lone Pine.The Mount Whitney Trail is an extremely popular spot for hikers.
Mother Lode County
Mother Lode County describes the region from Mariposa in the south, near the western entrance to Yosemite National Park, as far as Georgetown, some 10mi/16km north of Coloma, where the first gold was discovered in 1848. It is about 120mi/192km long and its width varies from a few hundred meters up to 2mi/3.2km. Mother Lode County probably did not receive its name until 20 years after the discovery of rich deposits of gold-quartz. It was wrongly assumed that there were only a few quartz veins containing gold. In fact, however, there were other important mines north of so-called Mother Lode. You can drive to that area along the CA 49, passing uninhabited ghost-towns, once flourishing gold-mining townships.
During the Gold Rush Volcano was famous for its wild saloons and dance halls. The town is located southeast of Sacramento. It was reportedly so named because early settlers thought the site resembled a crater.Daffodil Hill is located three miles north, and is in bloom late-March to mid-April.
Black Chasm Cavern
Black Chasm Cavern was named a National Natural Landmark in 1976 by the National Park Serivce. It opened as California's newest show cave in 2001 for guided walking tours which culminate in a visit to the Landmark Room where the cave's trademark helictites are located. Twisting, turning and looping out of the walls, these usually rare formations have developed in spectacular profusion. The Colossal Room is traversed across a bridge suspended 70 feet above a lake made brilliant blue by naturally occurring calcium bicarbonate.
St George Hotel
The St George Hotel in Volcano was built in 1862 and was once the tallest hotel in the Mother Lode. The main structure has 12 guestrooms on 2 floors with a parlor featuring a grand fireplace. The grounds of the St George Hotel feature trees, flowering bushes, and hundreds of Daffodils and Tulips in Spring.
The Greater Arnold Area is located in the Central Sierra Nevada. Arnold is just a three hour drive from the Bay Area and is noted for the many recreational opportunities. The town began in the 1860's when the first mill opened.
Bear Valley Ski Area
Bear Valley Ski Area is located northwest of Yosemite near Arnold. It has a vertical drop of 1,400 feet and over 1,200 acres of skiable terrain. The hill is serviced by 11 lifts with 9 chairs. There are 65 kilometers of cross country trails.
Calaveras Big Trees State Park
Calaveras Big Trees State Park has some of the biggest trees on Earth. Two groves of giant sequoias can be found on this 6,000 acre site along with 40 miles of prime hiking trails. You can still walk through a tree here.
Tahoe City, California
Tahoe City is located on the west side of Lake Tahoe offering a wide variety of winter activities such as skiing, tubing, sledding, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. The summer months provide opportunity for hiking, swimming, camping and fishing.
Gatekeepers Log Cabin Museum
The history of the Tahoe area is on display in this original log cabin, built between 1910 and 1916. This was the home of the resident gatekeeper, whose duties included the measuring and regulation of Tahoe's water level within legally prescribed limits. The Gatekeepers Log Cabin Museum features indian artifacts, natural history displays, stories of our pioneers, a book and photographic library, and Lake Tahoe's vintage newspapers.
Address: 130 West Lake Boulevard, Tahoe City, CA 96145-6141, United States
Opening hours: May 1 to Sep 30: 10am-5pm; Closed: Tue
Oct 1 to Apr 30: 11am-3pm; Closed: Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri
Oct 1 to Apr 30: 11am-3pm; Closed: Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri
Entrance fee in USD: Adult $5.00, Senior over 65 $4.00, Child 12 & under FREE
Typical Visit: 30 minutes
Squaw Valley USA
Squaw Valley USA ski area is located six miles north of Tahoe City. It is one of the three largest ski resorts in the United States. There are 30 lifts and a vertical drop of 2,850 ft. The resort features 4,000 acres of skiable terrain. There are 18 kilometers of cross country trails.The resort also includes a museum of the 1960's Olympics, tennis club and swimming pool.
Big Pine, California
Big Pine (pop. 1,500) covers 28,000 acres in Inyo National Forest and preserves gnarled trees, some 4,000-years-old. Four self-guiding trails are available.
Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest
Big Pine (pop. 1,500) covers 28,000 acres in Inyo National Forest and preserves gnarled trees, some 4,000-years-old. Four self-guiding trails are available. The main point of interest is the Schulman Grove, unfortunately the visitor center was destroyed by fire in 2008 but is expected to be rebuilt.
Kernville (pop. 1,700) started as a gold town in 1860. Today, it's a resort community located in the high desert of Southern California.
Kern Valley Museum
The Kern Valley Museum in Kernville has artifacts from the history of the valley including displays of the Tubatulabal Indians, gold mining, agriculture and lumber. There are also displays from local artists.
Markleeville is located in Alpine county near the Nevada border south of Lake Tahoe.
Alpine County Historical Complex
The Historical Complex houses exhibits that highlight Alpine County history. Features include a one-room school built in 1882; an old log jail containing two hand-riveted iron cells and a museum with displays of an old country store, a blacksmith shop, Washoe Indian basketry, watch maker's desk, doctor's black bag with tools, supplies and medicines, mining exhibit, pioneer family exhibit, toys and dolls, clothing, photographs, paintings, and relics from prehistoric sites. The restored silver ore stamp mill operates during the summer months.
Grover Hot Springs State Park
Grover Hot Springs State Park, located on the east side of the Sierra Nevada, features hot springs with camping and hiking. It is four miles west of Markleeville, at the edge of the Great Basin Province.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks - Lodgepole Visitor Center
The Lodgepole Visitor Center has displays on the sequoias, geological history and plant life.
Taft (pop. 5,902), located 28mi/45km southwest of Bakersfield, attracts outdoors enthusiasts because of its mild climate, antique shops and bed & breakfasts.
West Kern Oil Museum
The West Kern Oil Museum in Taft is home to one of the last remaining original wooden derricks. The derrick stands over its original well, with all the cable tools intact. The museum preserves, exhibits and interprets artifacts, books, and equipment that highlight the story of oil in California, particularly in West Kern County.
Address: 1168 Wood Street, Taft, CA 93268-4336, United States
Opening hours: 10am-4pm; Sun: 1pm-4pm; Closed: Mon, Tue, Wed
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Thanksgiving - USA (4th Thursday, Nov), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee: FREE
Useful tips: Donations are accepted.
Tahoma is on the southwest edge of Lake Tahoe.
D L Bliss State Park & Emerald Bay State Park
The D.L. Bliss State Park is located on the west shore of Lake Tahoe adjacent to Emerald Bay State Park. Its 1,237 acres offer hiking, camping and fishing. D.L. Bliss State Park is named for a pioneering lumberman, railroad owner, and banker of the region. His family donated 744 acres to the State Park system in 1929.
The Ehrman Mansion, a two-story Queen Anne-style house, was built in 1902 as the summer home of the Hellman-Ehrman family. On the grounds is an 1870 cabin, a nature center and nature trails.