Scenic USA - California
Each day Scenic USA presents a new and interesting photo feature from somewhere in the United States. Chosen from a wide variety
of historic sites, city scenes, backcountry byways, points of interest and America's best parklands, this site offers the viewer hundreds
of unique vacation destinations and photographic subjects. Each feature is coupled with a brief explanation. For further detailed
information, links to other sites are provided, but are never to be considered an endorsement.
Carson Pass Highway
Reaching the height of fall colors during the first few weeks of October, this dazzling display may easily be mistaken for one of Colorado's famous mountain pass routes. However this view of Hope Valley and Carson Pass is found about 650 miles to the west in the Eldorado National Forest.
Bearing both California byway and national forest scenic byway designations, the Carson Pass Highway crosses through the western slopes of the Sierra-Nevada, over the summit at Carson Pass and out into Nevada's Carson Valley. Stops along the 58 mile route include many meandering streams, pristine alpine meadows and brilliant showplaces of fall foliage. Hope Valley's attractions include a year round list of destinations. A favorite in winter among cross country skiers, snowmobilers and snowshoers, where record snowfalls crack the 800 inch mark. Conversely, its sparkling creeks and deep blue lakes draw out the fly fishermen in early summer. In the fall, the Eldorado forests of contrasting fir, spruce and pine set the background for this scene of glowing aspens and brilliant golden leaves of black oak.
Famous for its first 1844 winter crossing by a party lead by Kit Carson and John C. Freemont, it's here the Donner party (inset) also made history for its untimely winter debacle. The modern highway now makes access easy anytime of the year, a great bonus for backcountry hikers. Along with a beautiful collection of alpine lake destinations and volcanic mountain peaks, outdoor enthusiasts appreciate the popular Mokelumne Wilderness. Entertaining over two million visitors a year, the Eldorado National Forest offers 80 developed campgrounds, miles and miles of forest roads and trails, four major rivers, and miles of incredible scenery. Even if you're not into backcountry exploration, this scenic drive near the Lake Tahoe Area is well worth exploring.
Copyright © 2012 Benjamin Prepelka
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