Native American people have occupied the Carrizo Plain for at least the last 10,000 years. The Carrizo Plain National Monument lies primarily within the historical territory of the Chumash people. This 50-mile stretch of protected land includes the Temblor and Caliente Mountain Ranges and Soda Lake, the largest natural alkali lake in the state. This lake is a unique sight, whether it’s full of water and frolicking birds, or dried out with dust devils spinning across it. All of this natural beauty and diverse wildlife sits in California’s Central Valley, better known for industrial agriculture than for wildflowers. This location may help explain why, as the Bureau of Land Management puts it, the “Carrizo Plain National Monument is one of the best kept secrets” in the state.
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Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is located on the Colorado Plateau in northern Arizona. It includes the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. The Monument borders Kaibab National Forest to the west and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area to the east. The 3,000-foot escarpment of the Vermilion Cliffs reveals seven major geologic formations in layer-cake fashion. This remote, unspoiled 294,000-acre national monument is a geologic treasure of towering cliffs, deep canyons, and spectacular sandstone formations.
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Located at the northern end of the Chihuahuan Desert of Southern New Mexico, lies the amazing national treasure known as the White Sands National Monument. The closest major airport is in El Paso, Texas, a two hour drive away. The White Sands covers 275 square miles. About half of those 275 square miles are within the White Sands National Monument. It is also called White Sands Desert but this is not a desert of sand but a desert of gypsum. You will find there the largest concentration of white pristine gypsum sand in the world. The best way to explore the park and taking sunrise and sunset pictures is to camp there.
credit: Ariane Middel
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Devils Tower was the first declared United States National Monument, established on September 24, 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt. A National Monument is a protected area that is quickly declared by the President of the United States without the approval of Congress. Devils Tower sits across the state line in northeast Wyoming. It is 867 feet from its base to the summit. It stands 1,267 feet above the Belle Fourche River and is 5,112 feet above sea level. It was formed by the intrusion of igneous material. Devils Tower National Monument is open year-round 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. Admission is $10 per vehicle and $5 for bicycles and pedestrians for a seven day pass.
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credit: Jason Sturner 72
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