Chapter 1: Getting to Know the Golden State

Sweeping clockwise around the Golden State we will explore the physiographic regions of California starting in the northwest and ending on the central coast.  After closing the grand circle, we will look at the Central Valley.

It is good to keep in mind that overlap is common between these somewhat arbitrary delineations of the state, especially along their margins. They are not uniform, discrete entities.  Some boundaries are abrupt, like where the escarpment of the eastern Sierra Nevada drops off to meet the Basin and Range Province.  While others, like the Mojave and Colorado Deserts exhibit discontinuity in places.  And still others, like the Coast Ranges, morph slowly into their adjoining regions to form what might be best described as a continuum. 

The slideshows attached in the links below provide a general overview of the major regions of the state. While they focus on the physical features, landscapes and a few cultural attributes to be found in each area. More specificity on both the physical and human geography of the state as a whole can be found in the remaining chapters.

Northwest-Klamath
Northwest-Klamath
Cascades
Cascades
Northeast-Modoc Plateau
Northeastern-Modoc Plateau
Basin and Range
Basin and Range
Sierra Nevada
Sierra Nevada
Mojave Desert
Mojave Desert
Colorado Desert
Colorado Desert
South Coast-Peninsular Ranges
South Coast & Peninsular Ranges
Transverse Ranges
Transverse Ranges
Central Coast-South
Coast Ranges-South
Central Coast-North
Central Valley