Sierra Nevadas

Some of the biggest California Mountains are in the Sierra. The Sierra Nevada Mountains is a 400-mile long mountain range that runs north to south along the eastern part of California. On the west, the High Sierras are bordered by the lush central valley. If you're looking for the top ski resort California has to offer, you're in the right place.

There are a number of natural landmarks and geological attractions in the Sierra Nevada. Lake Tahoe is bustling all year round with outdoor activities. In the winter, skiing and snowboarding is the thing to do, and most of the most popular California ski resorts are on the north and south shores of Tahoe. Summertime sees the shores of Lake Tahoe filled with swimmers and sunbathers, and hikers on the pleasant hiking trails. From Southern California celebrities to Northern California outdoor enthusiasts, the lodges of Lake Tahoe are filled with a cross section of California's population. Most of the California ski resorts are in Lake Tahoe, so this area is teeming with activity all winter long.

Almost every American has either heard of or been to Yosemite National Park. Deep canyons scoured by glaciers, granite domes, waterfalls, and miles of wilderness await your exploration. Kings Canyon and Hetch Hetchy Valley also have impressive canyons forged by giant ice floes thousands of years ago. There are Giant Sequoias along the western edge of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. These are the biggest trees in the world, and people from all over want to come and experience. The ride to this park is visually stunning, with thrilling roads and steep grades. The sequoias are found in elevations that range 10,000 feet. Mt Whitney is another major landmark in the High Sierra. As you go south along the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the peaks get higher, and Mount Whitney is no exception. This unusual, jagged peak is the highest peak in the lower 48 at nearly 15,000 feet. The Sierra has a wide range of elevation, from about 8,000 feet at Tahoe to 13,000 feet in Yosemite.

There are a number of rivers in the Sierra Nevada Mountains that eventually go past the Central Coast and flow into the Pacific. This is where the term High Sierra originated; when someone speaks of the High Sierra they are referring to the elevations that are 7,000 or more. On the east side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains is highway 395. This is a long highway that stretches hundreds of miles, so you can clearly see how different this side of the Sierra is. There are small towns through here that don't get a lot of visitors that make it over the mountains. A great scenic drive is taking Highway 1 to San Luis Obispo, then heading east through the central valley, bypassing Fresno to save some time. The southern part of the range does not have the most popular ski resorts California has to offer, but the deep snow, abundant sunshine and lack of clouds makes the High Sierra worth a visit.

East of Yosemite, Mammoth Mountain gets 600 inches of snow every year, making this one of the most popular ski resort California has to offer. Far from the crowds at Lake Tahoe ski resorts, Mammoth has an enormous ski area. While not as accessible any other California ski resort around Tahoe, braving the High Sierra to get here is worth the drive.

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