Travel Guide to California - - GOLF -

Of all the moun­tain ranges I have climbed,” wrote John Muir, “I like the Sierra Ne­vada the best.” His pet name for it was “The Range of Light.” It’s not just the ethe­real lu­mi­nos­ity of the glacially pol­ished gran­ite that drew the renowned nat­u­ral­ist—and con­tin­ues to draw peo­ple—to the Sierra again and again. It’s the pris­tine lakes and rivers, the dra­matic hik­ing and bik­ing trails, the con­trast be­tween the green mead­ows and stony bat­tle­ments.

The Sierra Ne­vada may be one of the high­est and most ma­jes­tic moun­tain ranges in North Amer­ica, but it’s also one of the most ac­ces­si­ble and user-friendly. Stretch­ing 400 miles from north to south, and about 70 from east to west, it’s crossed by seven high­ways—four of them open all year—and en­com­passes ev­ery­thing from Lake Ta­hoe—where you might find your­self crowd­ing shoul­der-to-shoul­der around a bois­ter­ous craps ta­ble—to re­mote canyons in Yosemite or Kings Canyon na­tional parks where you can spend a si­lent and soli­tary af­ter­noon watch­ing Muir’s fa­vorite bird, the wa­ter ouzel, plunge into wa­ter­falls and cas­cades.

In a state with no short­age of su­perla­tives, the re­gion has more than its share: It can boast the world’s old­est tree, the world’s most mas­sive tree, the Old West’s largest ghost town, the na­tion’s high­est wa­ter­fall and—un­til Alaska came along and rewrote the record books—the na­tion’s high­est peak.

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