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California 

If you're looking for a unique destination, visit mysterious Mono Lake near the state's eastern border. Formed about 700,000 years ago, Mono is one of the oldest lakes in the world. White, mineral-encrusted shores and eerie tufa towers of limestone-now a nesting colony for countless California gulls-add to the intriguing scene. You can overnight in nearby Lee Vining. Most easily accessible in summer, Bodie State Historic Park is just north of the lake, not far from Bridgeport. "Big, Bad Bodie" is one of the best-preserved ghost towns in the West. Section:Mammoth Lakes & Owens ValleyOn the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada, Mammoth Mountain offers 30,000 feet of downhill runs plus superb cross-country skiing in winter. Mountain bike down the same slopes in summer. While in the area, visit the 100-foot-high Rainbow Falls, June Lakes, and Devil's Postpile National Monument, a fine example of columnar basalt.

Around the community of Mammoth Lakes, you can enjoy fishing, golfing, and horseback riding, and you'll find plenty of places to stay.

Between the magnificent Sierra Nevada and Inyo/White Mountain ranges, Owens Valley is a scenic place to camp and explore. At 4,000 feet elevation, this high-plains landscape is replete with glorious fall colors, gorgeous spring wildflowers, and year-round fishing in the Owens River.

Visit the historic buildings and exhibits at the Laws Railroad Museum in Bishop as well as the Paiute Shoshone Indian Cultural Center Museum. East of Bishop, in the Inyo National Forest, take a look at the oldest living things on earth, the gnarled bristlecone pines, more than 4,700 years old.

The Eastern California Museum in Independence is dedicated to Native Americans. Tour Manzanar, the World War II Japanese-American internment camp. Stop in Lone Pine for its spectacular mountain views, especially Mt. Whitney-the tallest peak in the continental United States. Some 2,000 climbers attempt the summit each year. Section:Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks The western side of the Sierra Nevada is home to giant sequoias, the largest trees on earth. In Giant Forest, you can see the 2,500-year-old General Sherman Tree, which measures 101 feet around, and take the 2-mile looped Congress Trail. Experience one more phenomenon in the land of superlatives: Descend into Kings Canyon, the deepest canyon in the U.S.A.

Lee Vining is situated near the foot of Lee Vining Canyon. California State Route 120 runs from town, through the canyon, up to Tioga Pass. Lee Vining Canyon is one of only two ice climbing venues in California.


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