Snow & Mountains Unify California's Landscape

You may not always see an ocean or lake in California, but after the winter storms the one thing nearly every city does see is a mountain (close or distant) topped with snow. Pictured is Belmont Shore in Long Beach where bay homes are framed by snow-capped peaks of the San Bernardino mountains. While these very mountains are often not visible due to smog that lies on the valley floor, the rain & snow clears the air s0 that during the holidays such as Christmas and New Year's you're often assured views of the majestic peaks.

Formed over millions of years, the major mountain range in California is the Sierra Nevada in the eastern portion of the state. It runs approx. 400 miles north to south, and contains three national parks-Yosemite National Park, Kings Canyon National Park, and Sequoia National Park. Among its ski attractions are Mammoth Lakes and South Lake Tahoe-both will be sharing a white Christmas this year.

Other mountain ranges throughout the state include the Cascade Range that extends all the way from British Columbia, Canada, to northern California; Coast Ranges where you'll find the world's tallest redwood trees, and drive through mountains along Big Sur coast; and the really odd Tranverse Ranges that are east-west trending. Santa Monica mountains in Los Angeles are part of this range. 46 miles in length and around 10 miles wide, the Santa Monica Mountains make up the only mountain range in the world that divides a city (Los Angeles) into.

Millions love California's beaches, but what keeps California interesting and fun are its mountains. Tourists from around the world hear about and come to see the world's largest trees in Sequoia, the world's tallest trees in the Coastal Range, and the famed Half-Dome in Yosemite immortalized by photographer Ansel Adams.

If you visit California, there's a good chance you are going to see its mountains. They are a unifying force visible even at the beach. Some tout that "We can sunbathe and swim at the beach in the morning, and be snow skiing in the mountains by afternoon." This statement is actually true.

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