Extreme topographic differences and a striking elevation gradient (ranging from 1,360 feet (412 m) in the foothills to 14,494 feet (4,417 m) along the Sierran crest) create a rich tapestry of environments, from the hot, dry lowlands along the western boundary to the stark and snow-covered alpine high country.
Vegetation ZonesWhile the parks' vegetation is diverse and complex, it can be categorized broadly into the following zones:
The foothills oak woodlands and chaparral shrublands are habitat for a variety of plants and animals. Visit in spring to see wildflowers.
Whitebark pines are characteristic of the Sierra subalpine forests. Learn more about these and other treeline pines. Photo by Peggy Moore.
Many plants or types of vegetation occur across a range of elevation zones. Learn more about wetlands, invasive non-native plants, and plants of conservation concern and how park managers inventory, monitor, and manage them.
Invasive Non-native Plants
Non-native plants crowd out natives, changing habitats. Find out what we're doing to reduce impacts.
Use the NPSpecies tool below to get park plant and animal checklists. Be aware that species lists and taxonomy are dynamic and some of the lists in this database may need to be updated.
Last updated: September 3, 2020