Description - California is an outdoor recreation paradise. The state's size and tremendous diversity create an array of outdoor recreation opportunities that may be unmatched in North America.
Copyright: Bureau of Land Management
- Perhaps California's most defining and well-known feature is its Pacific Ocean coastline. Extending from its southern border with Mexico all the way to Oregon, the state's magnificent 1,264-mile coast undergoes an amazing transformation from one end to the other.
Heading inland across the mostly agricultural expanse of the Central Valley, boaters are attracted to the Valley's meandering rivers and vast Delta, while birders explore numerous wildlife refuges. To the east of this valley is the magnificent Sierra Nevada. The Sierra Nevada mountains and surrounding hills are laced with rushing rivers luring whitewater rafters, trout-filled lakes, and vast forests of pine, fir and giant sequoia. Lake Tahoe offers alpine splendor and endless outdoor recreation opportunities for hiking, boating, mountain biking, and golf. In winter, Lake Tahoe offer the greatest concentration of alpine and cross-country ski resorts in North America.
Yosemite National Park's scenic mountain and valley realm lies south of Lake Tahoe. Less visited but also spectacular are two other Sierra Nevada national parks: Kings Canyon and Sequoia.
To the north, more remote wilderness areas are rewarding to outdoor enthusiasts. Backpackers and hikers can take on the rugged Trinity Alps, Klamath Mountains, and Lassen Volcanic National Park. Skiers find snow at Mount Shasta. Houseboaters and anglers visit Shasta Lake. Adventurous backpackers and hikers are drawn to the Lost Coast Trail and the King Range Natural Conservation Area. In the state's far northeastern corner, known as the Modoc Plateau, the otherworldly landscape of Lava Beds National Monument offers a vast network of lava tubes and other volcanic oddities.
In dramatic contrast to other parts of California, the easternmost part of the state is arid desert. Death Valley National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park all embody the desolate beauty of the Mojave Desert.
Recreation - California is an outdoor recreation paradise. The state's size and tremendous diversity create an array of outdoor recreation opportunities that may be unmatched in North America. Due to the temperate climate throughout much of the state, these activities are often available year round. Some of the most popular activities available include hiking, backpacking, fishing, swimming, surfing, windsurfing, boating, kayaking, rafting, sailing, surfing, mountain climbing, camping, scenic driving, mountain biking, riding motorcycles and ATVs, bird-watching, and wildlife viewing. Winter brings deep snow to the mountains and opportunities for world class downhill skiing and snowboarding, as well as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling.
Climate - Thanks to California's generally mild climate, many recreation areas are accessible year round. Summer temperatures range from 100+ in the desert and Sacramento and Central Valleys, to a cool and often foggy 50 in San Francisco. The mildest weather statewide occurs in fall. Rain begins in late autumn and continues through winter in most areas. Winter brings heavy snow at higher elevations, particularly in the Sierra Nevada and other mountain ranges. Desert areas remain warm and coastal areas often experience mild temperatures during winter months.
California lies along the west coast of the United States, between Mexico and Oregon.