California has the most diverse landscape of any state in the Union. It includes the lowest spot in the western hemisphere (Death Valley, 282 feet below sea level) and the highest point in the contiguous U.S. (Mt. Whitney, 14,494 feet above sea level). There is the bleak terrain of Death Valley and the Mojave Desert where only the hardiest plants can survive and the fertile San Joaquin valley where many of the country's fruits and vegetables are grown.

California is also home to the massive redwood and sequoia trees, the largest on earth. As if that were not enough for one state, California borders the Pacific Ocean and a beautiful and varied coastline stretches from the warm sandy beaches of San Diego to the cold and windswept cliffs of the north. And then there is the stunning Yosemite National Park to the east, a must-see destination for all lovers of natural beauty, and the strange tufa towers Mono Lake.

All this diversity adds up to a lot of photographs. The slide show above offers some highlights of the state. For a view of two of the famous National Parks in the Golden State, check out the Death Valley National Park and Yosemite National Park pages. There is also a separate page featuring photographs of the beautiful coast of California from the cool reaches of the north all the way to the border fence with Mexico in the south.