THERE IS THE CALIFORNIA we’ve all come to know and love ­­the West Coast with its sun-­kissed sand and colorful cities, its celebrated beaches and celebrity culture. Then there is the “other California” — the backbone of the state — the darker alter ­ego to California’s glittering coast. Here, where the Sierra Nevada’s silhouette is speckled with sweet smelling pine trees, where the fog hangs thickly over a moody palette of blue­gray lakes. The scenery changes swiftly — from fairy tale­-like views to desolate ghost towns to rolling sand dunes and striped canyons. Route 395 stretches from the Canadian border to Los Angeles, cutting a clear path through the Sierra Nevada mountains and Death Valley.

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South Lake Tahoe

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Lake Tahoe Beach

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The natural beauty of Route 395

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Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve

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Twin Lakes, Mammoth

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Manzanar Japanese Internment Camp Memorial

Photo: Max Whittaker

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Golden Canyon, Death Valley

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Dante’s View, Death Valley

Photo: nikkivargas

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Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley

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The ghost town of Bodie

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