Covering an area of 163,696 sq mi (423,970 km2), California is geographically diverse. The Sierra Nevada, the fertile farmlands of the Central Valley, and the arid Mojave Desert of the south are some of the major geographic features of this U.S. state. It is home to some of the world's most exceptional trees: the tallest (coast redwood), most massive (Giant Sequoia), and oldest (bristlecone pine). It is also home to both the highest (Mt. Whitney) and lowest (Death Valley) points in the 48 contiguous states.
The state is generally divided into Northern and Southern California, although the boundary between the two is not well defined. San Francisco is decidedly a Northern California city and Los Angeles likewise a Southern California one, but areas in between do not often share their confidence in geographic identity. The US Geological Survey defines the geographic center of the state at a point near North Fork, California.
Patrick H. Jones
Redding is a city in Northern California, located off Interstate 5, with the Sacramento River coursing through it. It is the county seat of Shasta County, California, USA. With a 2010 Census population of 89,861, Redding is the largest city in the Shasta Cascade region and is the fourth largest city in the Sacramento Valley behind Sacramento, Elk Grove, and Roseville.
The Sacramento River is an important river of Northern and Central California in the United States. The state's largest river by discharge, it rises in the Klamath Mountains and flows south for over 400 miles (640 km) before reaching Suisun Bay, an arm of San Francisco Bay, and thence the Pacific Ocean. The Sacramento drains an area of about 27,500 square miles (71,000 km2) in the northern half of the state, mostly within a region bounded by the Coast Ranges and Sierra Nevada known as the Sacramento Valley. Its extensive watershed also reaches to the volcanic plateaus of Northeastern California. Historically, its watershed has reached farther, as far north as south-central Oregon where the now, primarily, endorheic (closed) Goose Lake rarely experiences southerly outflow into the Pit River, the most northerly tributary of the Sacramento.
The Sacramento has been an important transportation route since the time of the region's first inhabitants, who settled in the river valley about 12,000 years ago. Hundreds of tribes sharing regional customs and traditions inhabited the Sacramento Valley, though they received little disturbance upon the arrival of Europeans in the 1700s. One of these early explorers, Gabriel Moraga, gave the river the Spanish name, Rio de los Sacramentos, later shortened and anglicized into Sacramento. The Sacramento's waters were once abundant in fish and other aquatic creatures, notably one of the southernmost runs of chinook salmon in North America. The original natives of the Sacramento Valley drew upon the vast natural resources of the watershed, which had one of the densest American Indian populations of California.
Mount Shasta (Karuk: Úytaahkoo or "White Mountain") is a volcano located at the southern end of the Cascade Range in Siskiyou County, California. At 14,179 feet (4,322 m), it is the second highest peak in the Cascades and the fifth highest in California. Mount Shasta has an estimated volume of 85 cubic miles (350 km3) which makes it the most voluminous stratovolcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc.
The mountain and its surrounding area are managed by the U.S. Forest Service, Shasta-Trinity National Forest.