The Sacramento Valley is the portion of the California Central Valley that lies to the north of the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta in the U.S. state of California. It encompasses all or parts of ten counties.
The terrain of the Sacramento Valley is primarily flat grasslands that become lusher as one moves east from the rain shadow of the Coast Ranges toward the Sierras. Unlike the San Joaquin Valley, which in its pre-irrigation state was a vegetation-hostile desert, the somewhat less arid Sacramento Valley had significant tracts of forest prior to the arrival of settlers of European ancestry. Most of it was cut down during the California Gold Rush and the ensuing wave of white American settlement.
Foothills become a lot more common from just south of Corning to Shasta Lake City. These are known as the Valley Hills. The start of the valley hills is just south of Rolling Hills Casino at the Tehama-Glenn County line near Corning. There are also a few hills in Red Bluff and Corning. There is one major range of foothills between Cottonwood and Red Bluff known as the Cottonwood Hills (a.k.a 9 Mile Hill), and there is the Cottonwood Ridge between Anderson and Cottonwood. There are some hills in Redding, a few more than Red Bluff, and after Redding it is mainly foothills.
One distinctive geographic feature of the Sacramento Valley are the Sutter Buttes. Nicknamed the smallest mountain range in the world, it consists of the remnants of an extinct volcano and is located just outside of Yuba City.
Other principal routes in the region include State Route 99, which runs along the valley's eastern edge, roughly parallel to I-5, from Sacramento until its northern terminus in Red Bluff; State Route 20, which traverses the valley from west to east on its route from State Route 1 in Mendocino County to the Donner Pass; State Route 49, named in honor of the California Gold Rush and running through many old mining towns in the foothills of the valley; and State Route 45, which runs along the course of the Sacramento River roughly ten miles (20 km) east of I-5.
The Union Pacific Railroad serves the valley, with its principal north-south line from Oakland to Portland, Oregon, via Sacramento, Marysville, Chico, and Redding. This is also the route of Amtrak's Coast Starlight passenger train. The Union Pacific also has two east-west lines, through Donner Pass (the former Central Pacific Railroad), and through the Feather River gorge (the former Western Pacific Railroad). Amtrak's California Zephyr uses the Donner Pass route. The BNSF Railway has a line from Klamath Falls, Oregon, to a junction with the Union Pacific Feather River line at Keddie. The BNSF has trackage rights on both the UP east-west routes. In addition, the California Northern Railroad operates the former Southern Pacific Railroad line on the west side of the valley from Davis to Tehama (near Red Bluff).
Finally, summerlike weather makes it feel like August ; 11 days of temperatures in the 80s follow sixth coldest July since 1873
Aug 18, 2009; Better late than never. The "Bermuda High" that was supposed to have established itself off the East Coast late this spring has...