The Sierra Nevada (Spanish for "snowy mountain range") is a mountain range located in the U.S. state of California. In a few places, it overlaps into neighboring Nevada. The range is also known informally as "the Sierra," "the High Sierra," and "the Sierras."
The Sierra Nevada stretches 400 miles (650 km) from Fredonyer Pass in the north to Tehachapi Pass in the south. It is bounded on the west by California's Central Valley, and on the east by the Great Basin. Physiographically, it is a section of the Cascade-Sierra Mountains province, which in turn is part of the larger Pacific Mountain System physiographic division.
In west-east cross section, the Sierra is shaped like a trapdoor: the elevation gradually increases on the west slope, while the east slope forms a steep escarpment. Thus, the crest runs principally along the eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada range. Rivers flowing west from the Sierra Crest eventually drain into the Pacific Ocean, while rivers draining east flow into the Great Basin and do not reach any ocean by natural means. [However, water from several streams and the Owens River is redirected to the city of Los Angeles (see Los Angeles Aqueduct). Thus, by