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The rocky cliffs from the valley in Yosemite National Park

A snowboarder takes to the air at Northstar at Tahoe

Muir Lake in Sequoia National Park

Mount Whitney is seen from a hiking trail

Kaweah Valley and granite cliffs in Sequoia National Park

Kayakers enjoy the Carson River, near Markleeville

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Visit the Sierra Nevada for majestic beauty, boundless recreation


When you think of visiting California, you’re more likely to envision sun tanning on a sandy beach, cycling across the Golden Gate Bridge or wine tasting than you are exploring a massive pristine mountain range. But don’t let it fool you that some of the other state’s attractions get more attention from Hollywood depictions.


The stunning Sierra Nevada is a must-see destination that can take your breath away for anyone who appreciates natural beauty. The hard part? Choosing which area of the enormous mountain range to start with. Running 400 miles (640 km) north-to-south on the eastern edge of the state and about 70 miles (110 km) across east-to-west, the Sierra Nevada includes some of the United State’s most popular travel destinations.


Highlights include: Lake Tahoe, North America’s largest alpine lake that also has some of the nation’s best skiing; Yosemite National Park, world famous for its sky-high rocky cliffs and matchless beauty; Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks, home of the most enormous trees on earth; and while you’re in the area, see Mount Whitney in Inyo National Forest, which, at 14,505 feet (4,421 m), is the highest mountain in the United States outside of Alaska.


The mountain range and its variety of lakes and rivers lend itself to plentiful outdoor summer activities, including hiking, mountain biking, kayaking and white-water rafting, rock climbing, fishing, horseback and mule riding and golfing. Winter offers a whole different set of opportunities, such as cross-country and downhill skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, snowshoeing and snowmobiling.


If you’re up for a true adventure, try helicopter assisted skiing or hiking, rock climbing, or simply take a charter airplane ride through the mountains to see views unavailable by any other means.


Enjoying this nature doesn’t mean you have to rough it. Accommodations range from camping under the stars to opulent five-star hotels that treat guests like royalty.


So when visiting the golden state, don’t forget one of it’s most magnificent assets -- the Sierra Nevada.