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Sutter Buttes in California

Some enthusiasts try to reach the summit of the highest mountains in the world, but how about the smallest?

Best time: late October–mid-May

Sutter Buttes
Sutter Buttes
Sutter Buttes
Sutter Buttes
Sutter Buttes

Did you know that northern California is home to the world's smallest mountain range? Well, now you know. The flat plains of the Sacramento Valley in Sutter County feature a volcanic cone, rising up to a height of 610 metres. The original name of the range was "Esto Yamini" which means "middle mountain." The Sutter Buttes are a series of small mountains and volcanic spires. The fact that it has multiple peaks, makes the Sutter Buttes a real mountain range.

Due to the fact that the Sutter Buttes are surrounded by private land, they are not easy to access. You can join one of the Middle Mountain Interpretive Hikes tours from late October to mid-May. The tour schedule is usually announced in early October for the fall and in February for the spring season.

The eastern side of the range is filled with oak forests, ravines, and creeks. This place is perfect for wildlife watching tours where you can see deer, squirrels, fox, bobcats, wild boar, and raptors like red-tailed hawks, owls, and golden eagles.

A little more trekking can be found on the way to the North Butte. Here you will need a pair of good mountaineering boots. From the peak you can get a great view over Sacramento Valley. At a height of 645 meters the South Butte summit is another exciting spot that has been kept secret.

Practical info

What is the height of the Sutter Buttes in California?

The Sutter Buttes volcanic cone rises to a height of 610 meters and is the smallest mountain range in the world. Oak forests, ravines, and creeks border the eastern side. The South Butte summit at 645 meters is also noteworthy but still lesser-known. Show more

When is the best time to visit the Sutter Buttes?

The Middle Mountain Interpretive Hikes schedules are best for visiting the Sutter Buttes. The tours are usually scheduled from late October to mid-May and announced in advance for the fall and spring season. Also, the autumn and winter seasons are ideal for wildlife-watching tours to see bobcats, deer, fox, and other animals. Show more

Can the Sutter Buttes be accessed easily?

The Sutter Buttes are surrounded by private land, making them challenging to access independently. Nevertheless, Middle Mountain Interpretive Hikes tours provide access and appropriate guidance from late October to mid-May on the range's eastern side. Tour schedules are announced in October and February annually for each respective season. Show more

What are the wildlife-watching opportunities available in the Sutter Buttes?

Bobcats, deer, foxes, squirrels, wild boar, red-tailed hawks, owls, and golden eagles constitute an attractive wildlife-watching opportunity in the Sutter Buttes. The autumn and winter seasons are appropriate for tours. Many hiking and outdoor companies provide different packages for experiencing wildlife across the range. Show more

What kind of boots are required to trek to the North Butte peak?

To reach the North Butte peak, sturdy mountaineering boots with a good grip are essential. The ascent requires more stamina and strength than regular hikes. Achieving the peak, 645 meters high, is easier with a partner and sufficient supplies for the journey's venture. Show more

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