Mountains and Deserts of California

Photos taken in or near California's Sierra Nevada Mountains. A few photos show mountains that are part of the Cascade Range, which runs north of the Sierra Navadas, all the way to British Columbia. Photos from the Mono Lake area are part of the Great Basin, east of the Sierras. Several photos are from the Mojave Desert, south and east of the Sierras.


Sierra Nevada Mountains

The Sierra Nevada Mountains extend from northern California to southern California, and contain the hightest peak in the continental United States, Mt. Whitney. It has an elevation of 14,505 feet (4,421 m).

Sierra juniper (Juniperus occidentalis)

Alpine lily (Lilium parvum)

Crimson columbine (Aquilegia formosa)

Hartweg's iris (Iris hartwegii)

Mariposa lily (Calochortus leichtlinii)

Indian paintbrush (Castilleja sp.)

Grant Lake

Cloud's Rest

Purple Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)

Lee Vining Creek

White Mountain and Lee Vining Creek

Mt. Dana




Great Basin

The Great Basin is a large desert area east of the Sierra Nevadas, covering eastern Califonia and much of Nevada.

Sage Grouse

Western Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis)

Clark's Nutcracker

Pandora moth (Coloradia pandora)

Mono Lake

Mono Lake

West Walker River

Mono Lake




Mojave Desert

The Mojave Desert occupies an area south and east of the Sierras, covering eastern Califonia and southern Nevada (photos by Nate Nealley, an educator from northern California).

Ash Meadows

Desert Pupfish (Cyprinodon salinus)




Cascade Mountains

The Cascade Mountains extend from northern California, through Oregon and Washington, and into British Columbia.

Mt. McLoughlin, Oregon

Mt. Shasta

Mt. Shasta

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