Wonders of California
Although California is one of the states in the United States of America, Americans often compare it to a separate country, e.g. "if California would be a country, it would have the eighth largest economy in the world". We can go on with this comparison – California has more landmarks and attractions than many large countries in the world.
The most amazing wonders of California are:
- Cliff formations and waterfalls – in Yosemite National Park are located some of the most impressive cliff walls and waterfalls in the world, such as the 1,444 m tall Half Dome or the 739 m tall Yosemite Falls.
- Unique ecosystems and giant trees – California has the oldest, tallest, and largest trees in the world – on in some places these trees form unique forests. California has also some of the most spectacular desert ecosystems.
- Modern architecture – California has been one of the most affluent places on Earth for many decades – and thanks to the ambitions of Californians here have been created many spectacular and unusual structures.
Map with the described wonders
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Top 25 wonders of California
These falls are 739 meters high, have 7 drops, and are some 28 meters wide. One of the most visited waterfalls in the world. The tallest plunge is 436 m tall.
Granite monolith with 900 m tall, vertical wall. One of the most challenging climbing routes in the world.
Granite dome rising 1,444 m tall above the surroundings. One side of the dome looks as if sheared down, thus the mountain resembles a dome that is divided in half.
Up to 914 m deep, glacier-carved cleft in granite rocks. Impressive landscape. A site of mass tourism with more than 4 million visitors per year.
This beautiful cave was discovered in 2006. The ceiling of the cave is sparkling due to millions of small crystals. The cave is rich with rare speleothems – several meters long soda straws, cave pearls, and others.
Lake with alkaline water and characteristic, eerie tufa towers. Lake has an unusual, very productive ecosystem that includes also the unique bacteria GFAJ-1 which uses arsenic in its cellular structure. Here live also other endemic species, e.g. Mono Lake brine shrimp (Artemia monica). Paoha island in the lake contains many hot springs and fumaroles.
Dry lake in Death Valley, where the "sailing stones" have left traces in the mud. Stones are moved by the wind in wet mud together with thin ice sheets at the moment when ice sheets are melting.
Deep, dramatic-looking canyon. Approximately 16 km long. Walking in the canyon is dangerous and there are stories about the curse of Chief Tenaya.
Up to 2,500 m deep canyon shaped by glaciers in granite bedrock. Here is located Kings Gate – a granite peak with a nearly vertical, 610 m tall wall.
A very tall, seasonal waterfall that in late February, if the weather allows, is illuminated by the sunset. The waterfall is 650 m tall, the tallest cascade is 480 m tall.
Group of more than 500 tufa spires rising from the bed of dry Searles Lake. Spires are up to 43 m high.
Cave with vertical entrance shaft. Here died prehistoric people and extinct animals. Water drops created a moaning sound that was heard outside the cave. This effect was lost when the cave opening was expanded for tourists.
Giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum), the largest tree in the world by volume. Volume 1,487 m3. Height 83.8 m, girth at the breast height 25.9 m. Believed to be 2,300 – 2,700 years old.
Unique forest with stands of giant sequoia trees (Sequoiadendron giganteum) – the largest trees in the world. This is the easiest-to-access sequoia grove but also contains the largest trees – five of the ten largest trees on Earth are located in this grove. Area – 7.6 km2. In California are located several more notable groves of these giant trees.
Grove of Great Basin Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva), contains the oldest known individual trees in the world, more than 4,750 years old.
Giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum (Lindl.)), the second largest tree in the world. Height 81.5 m, girth at breast height 27.8 m, volume 1,320 m3. This beautiful tree is declared as a National Shrine, a memorial to those who died in the war.
The tallest announced tree in the world (there are known taller ones), coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens (D. Don) Endl.). 115.85 m tall, diameter 4.84 m. Contains 502 m3 of wood. In total, more than 500 coast redwoods exceed the height of 103 m.
Some of the largest and most impressive spring wildflower fields in California, more than 1,000 km² large. Diverse types of meadows, rare and endemic species of plants.
High desert environment, area of the richest and most consistent flowering of California poppy (Eschscholzia californica Cham.).
The stoutest coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens (D. Don) Endl.), with a circumference of 22.73 m, 93.6 m tall. Another great tree – Lost Monarch has a larger circumference of 24.13 m, but this measurement includes multiple stems.
The largest grove (1300 ha) of giant sequoia on Earth. Here grows also the tallest publicly announced giant sequoia in the world – Hyperion.
One of the largest coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) in the world. Volume 1,206 m³. Height 97.84 m, circumference 24.13 m (includes multiple trunks).
Small sandstone cave with red, white, and black paintings that depict the cosmology of the Chumash people. Age is unknown, between 200 and 1000 years.
Iconic bridge, one of the most popular bridges in the world. This 2,737 m long suspension bridge was constructed in 1933 – 1937. Pylons are 227 m high, and the span under the bridge is 67 m.
Moon California Hiking shows hikers the best way to experience all California has to offer-from breathtaking coastal walks north of Los Angeles to challenging backcountry treks in the Sierra Nevadas. Stienstra and Brown include unique trip ideas, including Best Desert Hikes, and Best Hikes for Redwoods. Complete with detailed regional maps, hiking tips, difficulty, and quality ratings for each hike, Moon California Hiking provides hikers with all the necessary tools to head outdoors.
A fun, fresh tribute to the Golden State, illustrated with gorgeous color photography, fascinating historical images, and cool memorabilia. Learn anew the legends, landmarks, and lore of historic sites, such as Bodie, Point Reyes, the Knights Ferry Bridge, Mission Santa Barbara, Carson Mansion in Old Town Eureka, Death Valley, Glacier Point, and Alcatraz.