Northern California Science Writers Association

Sutter Buttes hike

  • Saturday, April 21, 2018
  • 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM
  • Sutter Buttes


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Explore the Sutter Buttes, a volcanic mini-mountain range in the midst of the Central Valley, with NCSWA on Saturday, April 21. Learn about its geologic origins, ecology, and significance in Native American cultures during a three- to five-mile moderately strenuous trek. The hike will wind through the Dean property, a working cattle ranch, at the heart of the Buttes. Wildflower displays should be glorious given recent rains. Steve Roddy, a certified California Naturalist and retired teacher, will be our primary guide. He is extremely familiar with the property and can tailor the hike to match participant interests and weather conditions. He’ll make frequent stops on this interpretive hike to examine natural features.

Children capable of walking the distance on their own are welcome. Bring food, water, hiking attire (sturdy shoes, hat, layers, etc.). No dogs are permitted on the property. Porta-potties are located at the trailhead. The duration of the hike may be somewhat longer or shorter than listed, depending on conditions and the interests of the group.

Travel information

We'll meet in a shopping center at Yuba City and caravan to the Buttes together with our guide. Because the Buttes are private property, you cannot drive in on your own.

Supplemental reading

The U.S. Geological Survey has published an excellent four-page fact sheet providing an geological overview of the mountain range: Sutter Buttes—The Lone Volcano in California's Central Valley.

In addition, Roddy recommends two books for those interested in learning more about the area beforehand. Secrets of the Oak Woodland, by Kate Marianchild offers introductions to the natural history of 22 native species ranging from toyon to woodrats. Go to the author's website to buy as it's largely out of print; she offers $4 flat rate shipping on up to 10 signed copies.

Inland Island: The Sutter Buttes, by Walt Anderson, is the definitive text about this unique range.

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