Wildflowers in the Carrizo Plain National Monument, California
© Dennis Frates/Alam
Nothing plain about it
The Carrizo Plain National Monument is a unique attraction in California—not just because of its breathtaking, colorful views, but also due to its quiet, isolated feel. Just a few hours north of Los Angeles, it covers almost 250,000 acres along the base of the Temblor Mountains, giving visitors a chance to escape the crowds and experience nature. In spring, wildflowers cover the hills and valley floor, creating the amazing scene pictured here. The area also features other diverse plant species, including several listed as threatened or endangered. Wildlife includes antelope and elk, as well as rare species such as the San Joaquin kit fox, the blunt-nosed leopard lizard, and the giant kangaroo rat.