Tag Archives: pine

California Elevations

conradkid
High Sierra hiking @ 12,000 feet above sea level

elevation

high altitude towns    well above sea level

The majority of California cities are located near sea level, with low lying farmlands and populated coastlines common throughout world geography. California has super diversity w/ the population, as well as the elevation and the terrain. Vast rugged deserts bordering Nevada, from high deserts (8000′ @ Bodie ghost town) to low deserts (below sea level for Mecca) near the Salton Sea. Towering granite peaks with minimal vegetation, to fern canyons and redwood groves at the coast, California has quite the unique landscape.

The beautiful golden state is also home to the highest and lowest point within the lower 48 states; and those points are only about 100 miles apart – Death Valley  (-282′ elev) and  Mount Whitney  (14,494′ elev).

I-80 Donner PassMTN TOWN: upper elevation mountain towns w/ forests and flowing water, are primarily located in the Sierra Nevada range which runs the backbone of California in a north-south direction,  separating the Pacific Ocean from the Great Basin. High altitudes are abundant in California, especially in the Eastern Sierra – but most are only accessible by foot.

Mountain communities in Southern California includes places like Mount Laguna, Palomar, Big Bear, Arrowhead, Idyllwild and Mount Pinos.

The coastal mountain range and the Sierra Nevada  encompasses most of Central California. The rest of the space is dedicated to large cities, farmlands and farming towns – which are most lower elevation. Orchards and vineyards can be found in the foothills (200′-2000′ elevation)

Northern California has more mountains and rivers, generally higher elevations and plenty more space to explore. Secluded forests, rivers, creeks, lakes, and reservoirs can be found above 2000′ elevation, north of Sacramento. The bigger mountains in the far north part of the state are part of the Cacade Range, which is volcanic in nature. (Mt. Lassen & Mt. Shasta). More water, more trees and more land – NorCal is very different than the lower half of the golden state.

hwy33overlook
North of Ojai, CA – Highway 33 winds up to Los Padres NF

California Elevation Breakdown

  • Alpine lakes, streams, forests, mountain peaks, granite scenery is abundant above 6000′ elev.
  • Pine forests, junipers, sage chaparral, manzanita, joshua trees can be found between 3000-6000′
  • Hot Springs, creek canyons and cottonwoods are usually discovered above 2000′ elev.
  • Oak hills, ghost pines, creek beds, river canyons  and most agriculture range from 1000-3000′
  • Under 1000′ elevation is the majority of the populated cities and towns within California; coastline, urban areas, foothills, farmland and a few reservoirs
Mecca Hills
Mecca Hills, below sea level

GoogleMaps – groundbreaking tool for trip planning and checking out trailheads, camps and dirt roads from overhead

USGS Viewer – topographic overlays for altitude estimates, and various imagery

California Elevations Map

shaverMS

snowflakeSnow is always a factor in mid to high altitude towns with road conditions being unpredictable with each mountain range and each micro-climate. Winter months range from late October to May, so be warned. Above 3000′ elevation usually gets some snow. Serious snow above 5000′. Some High Sierra Passesdon’t open until JULY (Yosemite Hwy 120 & Sonora Hwy 108). Carry tire chains or have 4×4 to travel safely on snowy roads. Guard rails are seldom around every curve.

list of California towns
by elevation

 

Rainbow Lodge California

bishopbelow
Above Owens Valley (US 395) at sunset, as seen from the Sierra side (8000′ elev)

Fiesta Days in Frazier Park

Frazier Park~ 2/10/07

Frazier Fiesta Days

40+ years running, this small mountain town fair is a local favorite in Frazier Park, California. Family fun and festivities include a parade, live local bands, carnival & rides, vendors, dances, pet show and maybe even a fishing derby.

Annual event; August

Mountain Memories Association
P.O. Box 858, Frazier Park, CA 93225
661-623-2340

frazierfiestadays.org

Frazier Park CA

Frazier Pond

Ellen Langsfeld

DSCN1422

Dome Land Wilderness

Southern Sierra Nevada Mountain / Domeland / Dome Lands
Kern Plateau, Sequoia National Forest

Dome Land Wilderness

130,081 acres

55 miles of trails (hiking & horseback)

Located at the southern end of the Kern Plateau about 20 miles east of Kernville, granite domes give this area its name. Domeland Wilderness is a unique geologic area with semi-arid to arid mountainous regions. Elevations ranging from 3,000′ to 9,730′ – it is surrounded by National Forest, where the Sierra mountains meet the North Mojave Desert. The Wilderness is the southernmost habitat for the Golden Trout. The South Fork of the Kern and tributary streams attract many fishermen. Vegetation is mostly mixed conifer and piñon (pinyon pine).

The Domeland Wilderness is located at the southern end of the Kern Plateau. This land was first protected by the Wilderness Act of 1964 as a 62,695 acre wilderness and was later expanded to 130,081 acres in 1984 to include the delicate transition ecosystems that meet to the east, south, and north of the original wilderness. These new additions, now jointly managed by the Bureau of Land Management and Sequoia National Forest, are rugged and dry.

Though it is considered within the Sierra range, the Domeland Wilderness includes the overlap of several ecosystems to form unique plant and animal communities. The banks of the South Fork of the Kern River offer important riparian habitats of cottonwoods and meadows which stand in sharp contrast against the characteristic smooth domes and bold granite outcroppings. Domes that range from the size of a cottage to football fields across and spear-like jagged spires can be found in the Domeland. This range is one of the driest in the Sierra with the semi-arid mountains of the north and east crumbling into desert.

Notable Wildfires: Dome Fire 1996. Manter Fire in 2000.

Dome Land trailhead locations:

East side access near Rockhouse Meadow and at the Long Valley Campground (BLM). Access is via Nine Mile Canyon Road (J41) from US Highway 395 or Chimney Peak Road (graded dirt road) via State Highway 178 , the main route that passes Lake Isabella.

West side trailheads are at Big Meadow and Taylor Meadow. Two trails from Big Meadow can be reached from Kernville via Tulare County Road M99, Sherman Pass, and Cherry Hill Roads. Leading to Manter Meadow, the upper Big Meadow Trail is a rugged hike while the lower Big Meadow Trail follows more gentle terrain. The trail from Taylor Meadow (southeast of Big Meadow) also leads to Manter Meadow. North side access is available from the Blackrock/ Sherman Pass Road via the Dark Canyon and Woodpecker trails.

dome land mapManter Meadow is popular along with other camp sites located at Little Manter Meadow, Woodpecker Meadow, Rockhouse Meadow, and in the Bartolas Country at the south end of the Wilderness.

Dome Land Wilderness Map USDA

 

surrounding lands & forests –

Sequoia National Forest
Ridgecrest Desert BLM

nearby towns –

National Forest & Wilderness Permits –

USDA Sequoia NF

More Dome Land Wilderness Info & Links –

sierrawild.gov/wilderness/domeland
summitpost.org/domeland-wilderness
Dome Land Wiki