The areas will be in both Northern and Southern California.

We Just Got Two Newly Expanded National Monuments (And They’re Easy to Get to)
LakBerryessa. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Lake Berryessa in Northern California

President Joe Biden has been restoring many of the protected parklands that President Obama designated during his terms, starting with the The Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument in Western Colorado in 2022. And on May 2, he expanded two national monuments in California: San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. The first is in the San Gabriel Mountains east of Los Angeles, and the other spans the rolling hillsides north of Napa Valley,

These restored designations are a win for conservationists, with the hopes that it will increase access to nature for all. For the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, the proclamation will add 105,919 acres of U.S. Forest Service lands to the south and west of the current monument’s 346,177 acres. It was first designated a monument by President Obama in 2014.

And the proclamation also expands the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument (which was designated by President Obama in 2015), adding 13,696 acres of public lands to the monument’s original 330,000 acres that are joint-managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.

Glendora Mountain Road in the San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California.

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Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument takes in 330,000 acres in Northern California’s Inner Coast Range, running from due east of the Napa Valley all the way north into the wilds of Mendocino County. It lies relatively close to major population centers of the Bay Area, the Sacramento Valley and California wine country, but remains indisputably rugged and pristine. The peak that gives the monument its name, Snow Mountain, is 7,000 feet high, and the area is resplendent with chaparral, oak foothills, and pine-dotted higher slopes.

The San Gabriel Mountains are also a wonderful source of recreation for Angelenos. Perhaps most noted for being the snow-capped peaks behind Los Angeles while driving on the Highway 10 East, these mountain ranges provide excellent hiking just outside the city, complete with rugged landscapes and waterfalls. And, bonus, there are excellent Asian-American cuisines to be sampled in the San Gabriel Valley after your outdoor adventure.

In addition to the Camp Hale-Continental Divide and these two expanded California National Monuments, Biden also established new national monuments in Nevada and Texas. The Avi Kwa Ame National Monument (also known as Spirit Mountain, just two hours outside Las Vegas in Southern Nevada) is considered to be among the most sacred places on Earth by the Mojave, Chemehuevi, and some Southern Paiute people, among other tribes, many of whom considered it their spiritual birthplace. Castner Range National Monument, in El Paso, Texas, was designated at the same time. Located on the grounds of Ft. Bliss, it offers opportunities to explore both nature and history, but remediation work is currently being done before the public will be able to access it.