The western edge of this region is the "center" of the Central
Valley, California's agricultural pride. Stockton and Modesto are
medium-size cities with local lodgings and stores. Vacationers may want
to stock up on the way to Gold Country in the foothills or on to the
more famous destinations in the mountains.
History buffs will want to explore the many small towns with
mining in their pasts, including Sonora, Columbia, Jamestown, Angels
Camp, Murphys, Mokelumne Hill and Jackson - many along or near the
popular Highway 49 drive. For more vacation planning information, go to
the Historic Gold Country pages in the Top Destinations section.
The High Sierras offer visitors great skiing in the winter and
unlimited touring, hiking, camping, boating, fishing, biking and
horseback riding the rest of the year. The landscape of Yosemite
National Park and the surrounding forests are so unique, many come to
simple sit and stare at cascading waterfalls, wildflower-filled
meadows, snowy peaks, formidable rockfaces. At the southern edge of
Yosemite, the Mariposa Grove of sequoias is not to be missed.
To the south, Mammoth Mountain and the town of Mammoth Lakes is
best known for skiing but there is plenty to recommend a visit to this
glacier-carved, pine covered alpine landscape at any time of year.
Two of the many lakes worth visiting in the region are each unique
- June Lake and Mono Lake. Mono Lake is an extremely salty home to over
300 species of migrating birds that feast on the insects nearby. Known
for the strange tufa towers formed by limestone deposits, it has been
much photographed. June Lake is simply a gorgeous small lake in a