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Discovering Alturas: A Comprehensive Guide to the Hidden Gem in Northern California

By Sarah Johnson, Posted on 03 May, 2023 at 02:30 am

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When most people think of California, they think of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego. However, the Golden State has many hidden gems that are worth exploring, and Alturas is one of them. Nestled in the heart of Northeastern California, Alturas is a small city that often gets overlooked by travelers. However, those who do take the time to visit will be rewarded with a wealth of natural beauty, rich history, and unique attractions.


A Brief History of Alturas

Alturas was founded in the late 19th century and served as an important center for agriculture and livestock production. The city's name is Spanish for "heights," a nod to its location in the high desert region of Northern California. Today, Alturas is the county seat of Modoc County and has a population of around 2,500 people.


Attractions in Alturas

Despite its small size, Alturas has plenty to offer visitors. Here are some of the city's top attractions:

  • Modoc National Forest: Located just outside of Alturas, Modoc National Forest is a sprawling wilderness area that's perfect for hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing.
  • South Warner Wilderness Area: Another popular outdoor destination, South Warner Wilderness Area features stunning landscapes and plenty of opportunities for hiking, fishing, and hunting.
  • Historic Downtown Alturas: Take a stroll through Alturas' charming downtown area, which features historic buildings, unique shops, and restaurants.
  • Modoc County Historical Museum: Learn about the rich history of Modoc County at this fascinating museum, which features exhibits on Native American culture, early pioneers, and more.
  • Essex Motel: Step back in time at the Essex Motel, a historic motor court that's been restored to its original 1950s glory.


Where to Eat in Alturas

Alturas may be a small city, but it has plenty of great dining options. Here are a few local favorites:

  • Marcello's Italian Restaurant: This family-owned restaurant serves up delicious Italian classics like pasta, pizza, and calzones.
  • Essex Diner: Located inside the historic Essex Motel, the Essex Diner is a classic diner that serves up all-day breakfast and other diner favorites.
  • The Brass Rail: This casual restaurant and bar is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike, thanks to its friendly atmosphere and delicious American fare.



If you're looking for a hidden gem in Northern California, Alturas is definitely worth a visit. With its stunning natural beauty, rich history, and unique attractions, there's something for everyone in this small but mighty city.

About Author

Sarah Johnson

Sarah produces creative and informative content based on her travel experience. She keeps her blogs up-to-date with the latest information. 

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