The Great Basin is the largest area of contiguous endorheic watersheds in North America. It is noted for both its arid conditions and its Basin and Range topography that varies from the North American low point at Badwater Basin to the highest point of the contiguous United States, less than 100 miles (160 km) away at the summit of Mount Whitney. The region spans several physiographic divisions, biomes/ecoregions, and deserts, and is the ancestral homeland of the Great Basin tribes.
The Sierra Nevada (English pronunciation: /sē-ˈer-ə nə-ˈva-də, -ˈvä-/, Spanish: [ˈsjera neˈβaða], snowy mountain range) is a mountain range in the U.S. states of California and Nevada, between the California Central Valley and the Basin and Range Province. The Sierra runs 400 miles (640 km) north-to-south, and is approximately 70 miles (110 km) across east-to-west. Notable Sierra features include Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in North America; Mount Whitney at 14,505 ft (4,421 m), the highest point in the contiguous United States; and Yosemite Valley sculpted by glaciers out of 100-million-year-old granite. The Sierra is home to three national parks, 20 wilderness areas, and two national monuments. These areas include Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks