In addition to its spring wildflower displays, Carrizo Plains is famous for Painted Rock.
California's Carrizo Plain National Monument, designated by President Clinton in 2000, is the largest single native grassland remaining in western state.
Photo: mypubliclands, flickr
This spectacular national monument includes Painted Rock in the Carrizo Plain Rock Art Discontiguous District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2012 it was further designated a National Historic Landmark due to its rich archeological value.
Pictograph at Carrizo Plains' Painted Rock. Photo: USFWS, flickr
Carrizo Plains is one of the easiest places to see surface fractures of the San Andreas Fault (the boundary between the Pacific and North American tectonic plates), which are clearly visible along the eastern side of the plain at the foot of the Temblor Range. Visitors should plan to view the fault lines in the early morning and evening light, when shadows enhance the topography.
This site is home to 13 different endangered species, and represents the largest concentration of endangered species in California. Some of these rare animals include the San Joaquin kit fox, the San Joaquin antelope squirrel, the blunt-nosed leopard lizard, the giant kangaroo rat, greater and lesser Sandhill Cranes, and the California condor. The California condor has an enormous 9.8-foot wingspan and is North America's largest land bird.
In the last decade, The Wilderness Society and its partners have permanently protected more than one million acres of California wilderness. The Wilderness Society was part of a successful legal agreement that will protect more than one million acres of Southern California forest.
California condor. Photo: USFWS, flickr