There are more and more people who want somewhere that is far from the madding crowds and commercialization that have intruded upon most natural parks and monuments. California's Harvey Monroe Hall Natural Area is one of these special wilderness places. In fact, though it is a huge vegetation and wildlife research center, there are opportunities for recreation that can be very entertaining.
Mount Conness is one of the main attractions for visitors to the area. It rises over twelve thousand feet and has a natural beauty that is absolutely awesome. Other features nearby include varied lakes and off the beaten track trails. However, there are no campgrounds and camping is strictly banned.
Most choose to try the trails, which are very raw. In fact, they are not clearly marked and some of the terrain can be very treacherous. Forest Services recommend that any such travel requires at least map reading and compass skills as the chances of getting lost are not that difficult to accomplish.
The area was originally a proposition for research studies, suggested by an eminent doctor at the Carnegie Institution (1931). This was quickly authorized and studies began regarding the area's plant life, as well as its unique soil conditions. This continued well into the early seventies, but has not completely ceased. In fact, it is still a haven for trainee or current botanists.
The best recreation is by far the hiking. Opportunities include the alpine, subalpine and mountain peak areas, as well as the rocky outcrops. Volcanic formations are also another interesting challenge.