Notes on California Mountain Ranges, by Richard Carey. With suggestions from Gordon McLeod, Bob Burd and

Mark Adrian.

My investigations have found 196 mountain ranges in California. There are 197 entries in the table because for the Guadalupe Mountains there are two possible high points. See note #10.

The following nine ranges are in California but extend across the state line into an adjacent state. The first two extend into Oregon. The remaining seven ranges extend into Nevada. In each case the highest point in the range is identified for both California and either Oregon or Nevada.

1. Siskiyou Mountains - This is a large range that extends over a wide area in northern California and into southern Oregon. The highest point seems to be Mountain Ashland at 7532 ft. in Oregon. The highest point in the range in California is Preston Peak at 7313 ft.

2. Warner Mountains - This range runs north-south for more than 60 miles in northeastern California in Modoc County. The range runs up into Oregon, but is not identified as such on the maps. The highest point is Eagle Peak at 9897 ft. in California. In Oregon the high point is Crane Mountain at 8456 ft.

3. Fort Sage Mountains - This range north of Reno runs across the state line and into Nevada. The highest point is State Line Peak at 7990 ft. in Nevada The high point in California is on the state line and is 7270 ft. (interpreted). The point has zero prominence. There was a cairn and register there when I visited and the point is listed on Peakbagger. The point is not in Lists of John so is not shown in that table but is shown in this table.

4. Carson Range - This range is a spur of the larger Sierra Nevada which runs from California north on the east side of Lake Tahoe. Much of the range is in Nevada. The high point in California is Freel Peak at 10,886 ft. In Nevada the high point is Mount Rose at 10,776 ft.

5. White Mountains - The long range northeast of Bishop. The high point in California is White Mountain Peak at 14,246 ft. The northern end of the range extends in Nevada and the high point there is Boundary Peak which is the state high point at 13,140 ft.

6. Grapevine Mountains - This range is mostly in California in the northeastern part of Death Valley National Park. But the range does extend into Nevada and the highest point is Grapevine Peak in at 8738 ft. In California the high point is an unnamed peak with a spot elevation of 8460 ft. about 3 miles northwest of Grapevine Peak.

7. New York Mountains - This range in eastern San Bernardino County extends into Nevada. The highest point is in California and is New York 2 BM at 7532 ft. In Nevada the high point is Crescent Peak at 5997 ft.

8. Castle Mountains - This is a small range south of the New York Mountains that also extends into Nevada. The highest point of the range is in California and is the unnamed small peak shown as 1701 m (5581 ft.) on the topo map. This peak is about 3 mi. SSW of Hart Peak. In Nevada the high point is on the state line at 1520 m or 4987 ft.

9. Piute Range - Another range south of the Castle Mountains is the Piute Range with its high point being Ute BM at 4215 ft. The range slightly spills over into Nevada, but is such a small set of hills that it is hardly worth considering. They are much lower than Ute BM anyway.

10. Guadalupe Mountains - This is a range in Mariposa County where there are two possible high points. The named summit is Catheys Mountain with a spot elevation of 2867 ft. One mile south is a bump with a closed contour at 2860 ft. Normal practice on LOJ is to add one-half the contour interval which is 10 ft. So the summit is listed as 2870 ft., but the actual elevation is unknown and could be only a foot or so above 2860 ft. So hikers wanting to be sure of reaching the highest point should climb both points.

11. Offield Mountains - The place names book has a range by this name. There is a peak Offield Mountain on the Somes Bar map in Siskiyou County, but none of the various scale maps show mountains (plural) so this is not listed.

12. Widow Valley Mountains - This name appears on the 100K and 250K maps in Lassen County but not on the 1:24K maps. The name is placed to the east of the dominant Big Valley Mountains and appears to be just a minor ridge off the larger range. The large valley to the east is called Big Valley and there doesn't seem to be any Widow Valley so this has not been included as a range.


1. "History of the Sierra Nevada" by Francis P. Farquhar. University of California Press, 1966.

2. "California Place Names" by Erwin G. Gudde. 3rd. ed. University of California Press, 1969.

3. "Place Names of the Death Valley Region", edited by T.S.Palmer, Sagebrush Press, 1980.