Virtual Guidebook to El Camino Real
Northern Carrizo Plain
Carrizo Plain National Monument California


I have been fascinated by the unique geography and history of the Carrizo Plain for many years, and was very pleased when it was declared a national monument in 2001. I explored it in my old VW in the late 1960's, when none of the roads were paved and nobody had heard of it.

The northern part of the plain has been blighted by a real estate development (scam) in the 1960's that cut it up into thousands of small lots, very few of which have been developed. More recently it has been developed with a series of large photovoltaic arrays. Neither has completely ruined the landscape, especially since so much land further south is now protected.

The most famous feature in the northern plain is a series of offset drainages, where streams flowing west from the Temblor Range jog abruptly as they cross the fault. There is an exhibit and small trail at the most obvious of these, at Wallace Creek.



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Spring flowers along Highway 58 near McKittrick Summit

(March 20, 2005)


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Spring widlflowers from a hilltop in the northern Carrizo Plain

(March 20, 2005)


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Wildflowers near California Valley

(March 20, 2005)


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(December 31, 1969)


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Above the Elkhorn Scarp, east of the Carrizo Plain

(March 20, 2005)


Next Locality: Soda Lake and Painted Rock on the Carrizo Plain