Alturas, California

Have you ever felt the need to get away from it all? To become one with nature, breathe in clean fresh air, and just fall off the earth for a little while? Well welcome to one of California's' best kept secrets - Alturas, where the west still lives.

As the seat of Modoc County, Alturas (Spanish for "Valley on Top of a Mountain") lies in the broad valley of the Pit River, near the center of the county. Alturas was originally occupied by a branch of the Pit River or Achomawe Tribe of Native Americans before white men arrived. The village was knows as Kosealekte. The valley is a prehistoric lake bed which formed from alternating erosion and rebuilding of the volcamic flows of the Modoc Plateau which surrounds all but the northeast side of it. The northeast edge of the valley is at the foot of the Warner Mountains which is the most western range of the Nevada Basin, about ten miles east of town.

The city's limit is bordered on the south by the Modoc National Wildlife Refuge, where natural wetlands have been preserved. A new vista point has been built along the highway a quarter mile from town to allow viewing of deer, antelope, Sandhill Cranes, Canada Geese, and other inhabitants. Animals, like deer, occasionally wander up Main Street.

The entire town is rich in history, geological formations and friendly folk who invite you to participate in their western heritage and recreational pursuits. Even today, cattle drives take place across open terrain and along the byways of Surprise and the Warm Springs Valleys.  With more than 70% public lands, nearby Modoc National Forest offers the outdoor enthusiast an abundance of recreational opportunities including fishing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, hunting and even cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter.

If it’s camping you desire, Alturas is well known as a camper’s paradise. But you'll also find cottages and cabins scattered across town.

So if your looking for a family friendly atmosphere to camp, fish, hike, or just have an old fashion romantic picnic, your search has ended. Alturas is easily accessible by California state routes 299 and 139, as well as Highway 395. Additionally, the Alturas Municipal Airport provides charter flights to and from the Alturas area.


Latitude: 41.487115 Longitude: -120.542455 Elevation: 4371 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Alturas CA


Visited Alturas in 1967 & camped at Blue Lake in the southern Warner Mts. Loved the area and the town.

Norm Wright, 2/6/2015

I was born here and my Grandma lived here for years everyone is gone now. Such beautiful area, miss it so much. We live in Indiana but went out west every summer when they were still living

Jill Powell webb, 1/14/2018

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