Minnehaha Falls: An Historic Pictorial Look

Part of the Mississippi National River & Recreation Area of the National Park Service and on the National Register of Historic Places is the iconic Minnehaha Falls. It has been a Minnesota Landmark since 1855 when Henry Wadsworth Longfellow featured the falls in his poem 'The Song of Hiawatha':

In the land of the Dacotahs,
Where the Falls of Minnehaha
Flash and gleam among the oak-trees,
Laugh and leap into the valley.
  There the ancient Arrow-maker
Made his arrow-heads of sandstone,
Arrow-heads of chalcedony,
Arrow-heads of flint and jasper,
Smoothed and sharpened at the edges,
Hard and polished, keen and costly.
  With him dwelt his dark-eyed daughter,
Wayward as the Minnehaha,
With her moods of shade and sunshine,
Eyes that smiled and frowned alternate,
Feet as rapid as the river,
Tresses flowing like the water,
And as musical a laughter;
And he named her from the river,
From the water-fall he named her,
Minnehaha, Laughing Water.

Though Longfellow never made it to the falls himself, people flocked here. It has been featured in Travel Guides ever since along the likes of Yosemite National Park. More than 850,000 people visit each year making it the most photographed place in Minnesota. 

5 Native American Rock Art Sites

Native American Rock Art Sites of California

1. Pictograph Trail Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

More than two thousand years ago, the Kumeyaay Native Americans lived in this desert and painted these fragile Pictographs on giant boulders. Though the meaning is now lost, some believe they were created for spiritual rituals. Hiking Pictograph Trail involves an easy 2 mile round trip hike if starting from the trailhead parking lot.

Pictograph Trail Anza Borrego Desert State Park

2. Barker Dam Petroglyphs Joshua Tree National Park

Barker Dam in Joshua Tree National Park is a man-made reservoir created in 1900 by early cattlemen. It has become a watering hole for Desert Bighorn Sheep. Nearby giant boulders contain petroglyphs which make for a great 1.3 mile loop hike.

Barker Dam Petroglyphs

3. Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park

Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park outside of Santa Barbara protects a sandstone cave adorned with Native American rock art. These Pictographs are thought to depict the universe as seen through the eyes of the Native Chumash. The Chumash lived on the Central Coast from Ventura County to San Luis Obispo County as well as the Channel Islands.

Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park

4. Painted Rock Carrizo Plain National Monument

Painted Rock in the Carrizo Plain National Monument is an amazing pictograph rock art site. Thousands of years old, these pictographs were created by the Chumash, Salinan and Yokut Natives. The pigments were created from a yucca shrub while they were painted using brushes made of rodent hair. Although the meanings are now lost, the art remains sacred. 

Painted Rock Carrizo Plain National Monument

5. Hospital Rock Sequoia National Park

Hospital Rock in Sequoia National Park preserves Native American pictographs estimated to be from 1350. The site is located along the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River on the Generals Highway. Notable pioneers, John Swanson and James Everton, were both injured at the spot giving it its unusual name. 

Hospital Rock Sequoia National Park

Pictograph/Petroglpyh Etiquette: Take many photos but DO NOT TOUCH. Oils from our hands can destroy forever. Do not alter the rock art in any way or form and please stay on the trail to protect the fragile desert ecosystem.

8 California Palm Oases

8 California Palm Oases

California's Palm Oases are sacred places. They are the only true spots in California where palms grow and thrive naturally while providing important food, water and shelter for wildlife.

1. Borrego Palm Canyon

Borrego Palm Canyon is a stunning 3 mile hike in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Gorgeous rocky waterfalls surround this lush Palm Oasis, the largest in the park while more than 80 migratory birds use it as a watering hole alongside Desert Bighorn Sheep. Visit after a rain for gushing falls and cooler weather. 

Borrego Palm Canyon

2. Palm Canyon

Palm Canyon is a magnificent palm oasis on the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Reservation. These natural palm canyons are what gives Palm Springs its name and are the only palms, along with other nearby oases, that grow naturally in California.

Palm Canyon

3. Murray Canyon

Murray Canyon is a hidden oasis part of the Indian Canyons of Palm Springs. A 3.9 mile out-and-back trail follows Murray Creek and its cascading waterfalls along stunning palms oases. The trail ends at the secluded Seven Sisters Waterfall and is best done after a winter rain when steady water is flowing through the falls.

Murray Canyon

4. Andreas Canyon

Part of the Indian Canyons of Palm Springs, Andreas Canyon is the perfect natural Palm Oasis. Stunning fan palms surround rock canyons and 150 plant species along the lush Andreas Creek. One visit will give new meaning to the idea of the desert.

Andreas Canyon

5. Thousand Palms Oasis

Thousand Palms Oasis in the Coachella Valley Preserve is a fine example of a desert palm grove. With its towering California Fan Palms and glorious trails, it is the perfect escape into a wonderland. It is a must to see the 'Palm' in Palm Springs.

Thousand Palms Oasis

6. Willis Palms Oasis

Willis Palm Oasis, located in the Coachella Valley Preserve, is a great place for solitude. A half-mile hike takes you to the base of the oasis which can be explored by hiking the cliffs and springs. Climbing to the top provides sweeping views of Palm Springs, the Coachella Valley and the San Jacinto Mountains making it the perfect spot to watch the sunset.

Willis Palms Oasis

7. Fortynine Palms Oasis

A 3-mile round-trip hike will take to a more remote part of Joshua Tree National Park with 49 fan palms. Fed by a fault spring, the oasis also serves as an important water source for desert bighorn sheep and coyotes.

Fortynine Palms Oasis

8. Oasis of Mara

At the Twentynine Palms Entrance to Joshua Tree National Park is the enchanting Oasis of Mara. Serrano Native Americans planted 29 palms along the spring, one for each boy born during their first year. The palms provided food, clothing and housing while spring water allowed corn, beans, pumpkins and squash to grow.

Oasis of Mara

10 Mojave Desert Ghost Towns

10 Mojave Desert Ghost Towns

1. Calico Ghost Town

Founded in 1881 as silver mining town, Calico Ghost Town is now an attraction. In the 1890's when the silver boom declined and borax was discovered, the population soared to 3,500 and became a thriving desert community. This would end by the turn of the century and by 1907 became a true ghost town.

Calico Ghost Town

2. Cima

Cima is a ghost town located in the Mojave National Preserve. Founded in 1900 with the opening of a store and later post office in 1905, H.C. Gibson made the town famous because he did not pump gas for his customers making this the original self-service station. The Union Pacific Railroad passes the lazy town each day on its historic route. 

Cima Ghost Town

3. Ivanpah

Ivanpah, Native American for 'clear water', was a silver ore mining town established in 1869. At its peak, the town included a hotel, two stores and post office. By the 1880's, better mines were discovered in nearby settlements so residents abandoned Ivanpah in search of bigger riches. 

Ivanpah Ghost Town

4. Kelso

Kelso was an important railroad service stop for the Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad and was crucial during World War II for the war effort delivering key goods via Union Pacific. The National Park Service saved the iconic train depot from demolition when abandoned after passenger service ended in 1964 and restored it to its original glory.

Kelso Ghost Town

5. Amboy

Amboy is an historic Route 66 Ghost Town on the outskirts of the Mojave National Preserve. It became a boom town in 1926 after the completion of Route 66. In 1938 'Roy's Motel and Café' opened to serve tourists traveling the famed Mother Road. It's iconic Mid-Century modern neon sign was added in 1959. Interstate 40 opened in 1972 and put the town completely out of business.

Amboy Route 66 Ghost Town

6. Zzyzx

Zzyzx is the former site of Zzyzx Mineral Springs & Health Spa in the Mojave National Preserve. Curtis Howe Springer founded the spa in 1944 naming it Zzyzx so that it would become the very last word in the dictionary. He claimed his hot springs could heal all health problems. The springs were actually just faked by warming the water with a boiler and adding herbs! The government caught up with Springer in the 60's and the Resort was shut down. California State University built a Desert Studies Center here in the 70's while all that remains of the resort are ghostly ruins. A car graveyard is the highlight of the ruins.

Zzyzx Ghost Town

7. Randsburg

Gold was discovered in 1895 at the Rand Mine and a camp was soon formed in this remote Mojave Desert enclave. Located near the other boom town of Johannesburg, the two names merged to spell Randsburg. With a population today of about 70, it is a true western ghost town. The famous General Store as well as its charming abandoned sites and sounds make it a must stop along the beautiful Highway 395. 

Randsburg Ghost Town

8. Ballarat

At the edge of the Panamint Mountains on the western outskirts of Death Valley lies Ballarat, an historic mining camp that lasted from 1897 to 1917. The town had several hundred residents at its peak with seven saloons, three hotels, a Wells Fargo station, post office, school and infamously no church. 

Ballarat Ghost Townb

9. Keeler

Keeler is a ghost town outside of Death Valley National Park in the Eastern Sierra Nevada known as the 'End of the Line'. The Carson and Colorado Railway extended their railroad all the way here during the Gold Rush in 1883. When nearby mining towns went bust, plans to extend the railway further to Mojave fell through and Keeler became the last stop of the line.

Keeler Ghost Town

10. Harrisburg

Harrisburg contains the ghostly remains of Peter Aguereberry's famous Death Valley mining camp. He first discovered gold here with his partner Shorty Harris in 1905. Pete would remain here for forty years until 1945. His camp and mining ruins patiently stand against the test of time.

Harrisburg Ghost Town

6 Los Angeles Art Deco Landmarks

Top 6 Los Angeles Art Deco Landmarks

1. Catalina Casino

The Catalina Casino has been one of the most iconic landmarks in Avalon on Santa Catalina Island since 1929. The Art Deco and Mediterranean Revival architecture helped to create the look of the city. It continues to serve as the island's movie theater and grand ballroom.

Catalina Casino

2. Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory is the crown jewel of Los Angeles. On a clear day, gorgeous views of Los Angeles, Hollywood and the ocean are seen for miles. Hugo Ballin painted the Observatory's iconic murals in 1934 depicting gods of the stars, planets and zodiac. 

Griffith Observatory

3. Union Station

Opening in 1939, this was the last great railway station built during the Golden Age of train travel. Art Deco, Mission Revival, and Streamline Moderne are its architectural styles making it timeless and iconic.

Union Station Los Angeles

4. Los Angeles Central Library

The Los Angeles Central Library was built in 1926 in the Art Deco architectural style with Mediterranean Revival and Egyptian influences. The centerpiece is the rotunda with its 4 massive murals, each 40 feet wide, created by artist Dean Cornwell.

Los Angeles Central Library

5. RMS Queen Mary

The RMS Queen Mary was the last great ocean liner built during the golden age of world travel and sailed the Atlantic Ocean from 1936 to 1967. Luxury & Opulence is the key to this Art Deco Dream. Elizabeth Taylor, Lucille Ball, Gloria Swanson & Fred Astaire among many other silver screen stars called this sailing palace home while on voyage to Europe.

Queen Mary

6. The Nethercutt Collection Grand Salon

The Nethercutt Collection contains one of the finest sets of automobiles in the World. With more than 130 antique and vintage autos, the collection will keep you amazed for hours. Its Art Deco Grand Salon recreates the stunning car palaces of the 20's and 30's complete with marble, gold and chandeliers. 

The Nethercutt Collection Grand Salon