Scenic USA - California

Cloverleaf Lake

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Cloverleaf Lake - Mono County, California

Photo by Fred Weyman
Fred Weyman Photography

     With the addition of 70,000 acres in 2009, the John Muir Wilderness grew to over 650,000 acres of some of the most striking alpine scenery in the Sierra Nevada Range. Formed by colliding tectonic plates, molten rock, Cretaceous Period granite plutons and metamorphic rock all contribute to today's colorful basins, mountain peaks and sharp ridges. Named for wilderness advocate John Muir, this great expanse of high altitude terrain encompasses much of the land which Muir himself explored in the 1800s.
     Surrounded by Ansel Adams, Dinkey Lakes, Golden Trout, Sequoia-King Canyon and Monarch wilderness lands, this area of protected territory would have fulfilled some of John Muir's dreams. Although Muir explored much of the world, it was among these Sierra Nevada Mountains where he would call home. Seeing the destruction of the forests and meadows, Muir spent the later years of his life pushing for wilderness reform and promoting the idea of national parks.
     Following the crest of the Sierra-Nevada Range, this land of snow-covered peaks and alpine lakes has become one of the most popular stretches of the Pacific Coast Trail. Doubling as the John Muir Trail, this second most visited wilderness is limited with a quota system for overnight stays.
     For day hikers, five miles of trails extend from Convict Canyon, following along a series of gorgeous alpine lakes. Unusually colored sedimentary and metamorphic rocks paint a much different wilderness setting. This striking view of Cloverleaf Lake gives a good idea of what John Muir had loved so much, and spent all his energy in trying to protect.

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