Chapter 1: Getting to Know the Golden State

California has always been a land of legendary extremes. Stories of its incredible natural beauty, its enormous wealth and diversity of natural resources and landscapes, and its violent and destructive natural disasters make world news headlines each year. These stories have been repeated since the first Spanish explorers and then settlers arrived here centuries ago. And, California’s people, both real and imagined, have always successfully competed with nature for the spotlight. Even its name originated from a mythical location.

Exploring California by physiographic region.

Explore the Northwest Coast/Klamath Mountains
Explore the Cascades
Modoc Plateau
Explore the Modoc Plateau
Basin and Range
Explore the Basin and Range
Sierra Nevada
Explore the Sierra Nevada
Mojave Desert
Explore the Mojave Desert
Colorado Desert
Explore the Colorado Desert
South Coast/Peninsular Ranges
Explore the South Coast/Peninsular Ranges
Transverse Ranges
Explore the Transverse Ranges
Central Coast
Explore the Central Coast