Skip to main content

Sutter Buttes

03/19/2013 12:30PM ● Published by anonymous

THE SMALLEST CONTINUOUS MOUNTAIN RANGE IN THE UNITED STATES

The Sutter Buttes introduce themselves somewhere south of Orland as you’re traveling along Interstate 5 through some of the flattest land imaginable. You glance to the east and there they are, looking like leftover props from a North State production of “The Land That Time Forgot.” Odds are you take a look at them whether it’s your first pass or your 500th. There’s something so improbable about a mountain range popping up smack-dab in the middle of the Sacramento Valley that it’s hard to resist a glance or two.

Michael Hubbartt didn’t even bother resisting. He became familiar with the Sutter Buttes in the early 1970s when he was stationed at Beale Air Force Base near Marysville and worked as a weather observer. “From my site I looked at the Buttes every day for three years,” Hubbartt says. “I met a gal out here and got married, found a place to live on the north side of the Buttes in 1977 and that was the beginning of my love affair.”

A few years later, in 1980, a neighbor invited Hubbartt along for a hike in the Sutter Buttes and the affair became a permanent relationship. “We walked in on New Year’s Day. We walked and walked and ended up on top of North Butte. As we climbed up, we broke through the fog and into the bright sun, and there were six peaks poking out of the clouds. It’s just an incredible memory.”

Poking up from the valley floor amid carefully cultivated fields and rice paddies, Hubbartt says the Sutter Buttes are both “out of place and out of time. The fascinating thing to me is they are much the way they were 150 years ago. That essence is still there. You get a sense of the way California used to be; a sense of peacefulness.”

Hubbartt and others are working to ensure others can enjoy the Sutter Buttes for years to come—and that they will retain the very qualities that can create memorable experiences.

“We would like to see future development frozen, but we recognize that families work around here. We just don’t want to see speculative building and subdivisions,” says Hubbartt, adding that it is an ongoing balancing act involving numerous stakeholders.

Toward that end, Hubbartt volunteers his time as a board member of the Middle Mountain Foundation, a non-profit organization established in 1989 to work with private landowners and local, state and federal agencies to preserve the Buttes’ natural and cultural resources.

According to the foundation, the indigenous Maidu people, who lived in the vicinity for thousands of years, revered the Sutter Buttes as a source of both spiritual and physical sustenance. Maidu Indians called the peaks “Histum Yani,” which, depending on the source, translates as either The Middle Mountain or Spirit Mountain.

Prior to the development of dams and levees for flood control and irrigation, the Sutter Buttes would serve as an inland island refuge for the Maidu, early settlers and wildlife when winter storms and spring runoff would flood the Sacramento Valley.

“The Middle Mountain Foundation recognizes the spiritual heritage of the mountains,” Hubbartt says. “The Indians lived in concert with the mountain and the landscape. That’s the memory we want people to take away when they visit the Sutter Buttes.”

The Sutter Buttes are the remains of a volcano that erupted about 1.6 million years ago, Hubbartt says. From the interstate, it looks like an elongated mountain range but it is almost exactly circular, measuring about 10 miles across. Its highest peak, South Butte, clocks in at 2,117 feet—a full 117 feet above the geologists’ minimum elevation to qualify as a mountain.

That distinction gives the Sutter Buttes a unique claim to geologic fame: It is the smallest continuous mountain range in the United States.

Land within the Sutter Buttes is almost all under private ownership. However, the Middle Mountain Foundation has worked out agreements that allow the foundation to offer guided hikes. Karen Morrison, a foundation board member and the hike coordinator, says about 2,000 people, including schoolchildren from Sacramento, Yuba, Colusa and Sutter counties, go on hikes each year. “We offer all kinds of hikes so people have a chance to choose their level and come in and enjoy the Buttes,” Morrison says.

Margit Sands, the foundation’s president, grew up with the Sutter Buttes. Her grandfather purchased a cattle ranch in the center of the Buttes in 1898 and her family continues to operate it. “We want to see the Buttes preserved,” Sands says. “They stand out because they’re the only relief on the valley floor. People see them as a landmark. It’s kind of an icon.”

Recreation, In Print nature hike The Smallest Continuous Mountain Range in the United States Michael Hubbartt Beale Air Force Base Marysville The Middle Mountain Foundation Karen Morrison Margit Sands
  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/25/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/26/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Cottonwood Community Library Book Sale

    01/26/2018
    11:00AM — 02:00PM

    A book sale to benefit the Cottonwood Community Library will be held on Friday, January 26 and Sa...


  • Redding Cultural Cruise - Day I

    01/26/2018
    04:00PM — 08:30PM

    Redding Cultural Cruise is just around the corner, coming Friday, January 26! Participate in t...


  • Wildcard Brewing Co. Foodie Friday

    01/26/2018
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    On Fridays from 5pm-8pm, we bring you the best of both worlds: a frothy pint and a flavorful plat...


  • Sleeping Beauty

    01/26/2018
    07:00PM — 08:30AM

    RSA Theater Booster Club is a Non-Profit organization. It is our mission is to teach our middle ...


  • Redding International Folk Dancers

    01/26/2018
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    Folk dance is for everyone and for all ages! Our motto is: If you can walk you can dance. We meet...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/27/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Cottonwood Community Library Book Sale

    01/27/2018
    11:00AM — 02:00PM

    A book sale to benefit the Cottonwood Community Library will be held on Friday, January 26 and Sa...


  • Redding Cultural Cruise - Day II

    01/27/2018
    11:00AM — 03:00PM

    Join us SATURDAY, JANUARY 27 for Day II of Redding Cultural Cruise! Visit a number of Redding ven...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tour

    01/27/2018
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • Redding Community Contra Dance

    01/27/2018
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    What is contra? Contra dance is the American cousin to Scottish and English Country set dances. I...


  • Sleeping Beauty

    01/27/2018
    07:00PM — 08:30AM

    RSA Theater Booster Club is a Non-Profit organization. It is our mission is to teach our middle ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/28/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Conductor and saxophonist Scott Seaton welcomes Terrie Baune (violin) and John Chernoff (piano) f...


  • North State Symphony

    01/28/2018
    02:00PM

    In this more intimate concert, Maestro Scott Seaton on his saxophone joins Concertmaster Terrie B...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/29/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/30/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/24/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Midweek Madness

    01/24/2018
    02:00PM — 08:00PM

    Visit either Wildcard location on Wednesdays and get $3 off a growler fill! Come by the brewery a...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/25/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/26/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Cottonwood Community Library Book Sale

    01/26/2018
    11:00AM — 02:00PM

    A book sale to benefit the Cottonwood Community Library will be held on Friday, January 26 and Sa...


  • Redding Cultural Cruise - Day I

    01/26/2018
    04:00PM — 08:30PM

    Redding Cultural Cruise is just around the corner, coming Friday, January 26! Participate in t...


  • Wildcard Brewing Co. Foodie Friday

    01/26/2018
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    On Fridays from 5pm-8pm, we bring you the best of both worlds: a frothy pint and a flavorful plat...


  • Sleeping Beauty

    01/26/2018
    07:00PM — 08:30AM

    RSA Theater Booster Club is a Non-Profit organization. It is our mission is to teach our middle ...


  • Redding International Folk Dancers

    01/26/2018
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    Folk dance is for everyone and for all ages! Our motto is: If you can walk you can dance. We meet...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/27/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Cottonwood Community Library Book Sale

    01/27/2018
    11:00AM — 02:00PM

    A book sale to benefit the Cottonwood Community Library will be held on Friday, January 26 and Sa...


  • Redding Cultural Cruise - Day II

    01/27/2018
    11:00AM — 03:00PM

    Join us SATURDAY, JANUARY 27 for Day II of Redding Cultural Cruise! Visit a number of Redding ven...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tour

    01/27/2018
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • Sleeping Beauty

    01/27/2018
    07:00PM — 08:30AM

    RSA Theater Booster Club is a Non-Profit organization. It is our mission is to teach our middle ...


  • Redding Community Contra Dance

    01/27/2018
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    What is contra? Contra dance is the American cousin to Scottish and English Country set dances. I...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/28/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Conductor and saxophonist Scott Seaton welcomes Terrie Baune (violin) and John Chernoff (piano) f...


  • North State Symphony

    01/28/2018
    02:00PM

    In this more intimate concert, Maestro Scott Seaton on his saxophone joins Concertmaster Terrie B...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/29/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/30/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/31/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Midweek Madness

    01/31/2018
    02:00PM — 08:00PM

    Visit either Wildcard location on Wednesdays and get $3 off a growler fill! Come by the brewery a...


  • The Peking Acrobats

    01/31/2018
    07:30PM

    For the last 30 years The Peking Acrobats have inspired fans young and old as they defy gravity w...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    02/01/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • ART SALE at Pawz for a Cause Boutique

    02/01/2018
    10:30AM — 05:00PM

    Pawz for a Cause Boutique/ ResQ Animal Coalition will be having a 15% Off All Framed Art SALE for...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Vinyl Night

    02/01/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Vinyl Night! Join us downtown the first and third Thursday of every month. We are going to ditch ...


  • Sparrow's Landing Open to Public

    02/02/2018
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    Furniture, plants, yard art and more! Most items made from repurposed, reclaimed materials. The ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    02/02/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • ART SALE at Pawz for a Cause Boutique

    02/02/2018
    10:30AM — 05:00PM

    Pawz for a Cause Boutique/ ResQ Animal Coalition will be having a 15% Off All Framed Art SALE for...


  • Wildcard Brewing Co. Foodie Friday

    02/02/2018
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    On Fridays from 5pm-8pm, we bring you the best of both worlds: a frothy pint and a flavorful plat...


  • Redding International Folk Dancers

    02/02/2018
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    Folk dance is for everyone and for all ages! Our motto is: If you can walk you can dance. We meet...


  • Sparrow's Landing Open to Public

    02/03/2018
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    Furniture, plants, yard art and more! Most items made from repurposed, reclaimed materials. The ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    02/03/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Friends of Shasta County Libraries

    02/03/2018
    10:00AM — 01:00PM

    Saturday, February 3rd, The Friends of Shasta County Libraries will sell gently used books in the...


  • ART SALE at Pawz for a Cause Boutique

    02/03/2018
    10:30AM — 05:00PM

    Pawz for a Cause Boutique/ ResQ Animal Coalition will be having a 15% Off All Framed Art SALE for...


  • 31st Annual One SAFE Place Crab Feed

    02/03/2018
    04:00PM — 09:00PM

    On Saturday, February 3, 2018, One SAFE Place’s 31st Annual Crab Feed will transform the Shasta D...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tour

    02/03/2018
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • Annual Scholarship Auction

    02/03/2018
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    The Highland Art Center’s Annual Scholarship Silent Auction is a fan favorite event every year! ...


  • Bold New Sound of Hawaiian Music with WAIPUNA

    02/03/2018
    08:00PM — 10:30PM

    In 2005, the Oaksong Music Society established itself as the premier source of live Hawaiian musi...


Enter to win!

 

Check out our sister publication, Enjoy Magazine: South Valley Living

 

Wedding Style Guide 2017
Enjoy Magazine Facebook
Enjoy Magazine Instagram Instagram
Enjoy Magazine Pinterest Enjoy Magazine

Enjoy Our Sponsors