Sutter Buttes

Grass Valley, California

Sutter Buttes

Sutter Buttes Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"What once was a nearly perfect conical volcanic peak is now a collection of smaller andesite domes, heavily wooded and resembling the ramparts of a massive castle, protecting swales of grassland pocked with spreading oaks and blooming with wildflowers in season.

Known as Middle Mountain, this mysterious circle of summits attracts the eye for miles in the Central Valley north of Sacramento. The magic of the place, experienced by hikers in small groups led by docents schooled in its stories, is transformative. Even if you’re not inclined to take guided hikes, consider making an exception to walk within the buttes."

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More Sutter Buttes Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Top Trails Sacramento (Wilderness Press)
Steven L. Evans
"Reputed to be the smallest free-standing mountain range in the United States, the Sutter Buttes rise more than 2000 feet from the Great Valley floor. The volcanic Buttes are literally an island of nearly pristine nature surrounded by the Valley’s industrial farmlands. Most of the Buttes are privately owned, and public access is limited to hikes and outings led by the volunteer guides of the Middle Mountain Foundation. The Foundation works with local landowners to provide, for a reasonable fee, public access to the Buttes with an emphasis on education. The volcanic rock formations and dramatic topography of the Buttes, their rich oak woodlands and meadows, and their colorful tapestry of seasonal wildflowers are well worth the fee. The Foundation leads a wide variety of hikes and outings of varying difficulty, ranging in length from 2.0 to 8.0 miles. Many emphasize the natural history of the Buttes, including geology, wildflowers, birds, as well as Native American traditions and myths."

Trail Information

Grass Valley
Nearby City
Trail Type
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
6-8 hours
Middle Mountain Interpretive Hikes; (530) 671-6116;
Local Contacts
USGS Grass Valley CA; none needed, as the docent knows the way.
Local Maps

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