Open main menu

Eastern California is a region defined as either the strip to the east of the crest of the Sierra Nevada or as the easternmost counties of California in the United States.

Eastern California
Downtown San Bernardino, anchor of the largest metro area in East California and 12th in the United States.
Downtown San Bernardino, anchor of the largest metro area in East California and 12th in the United States.
Counties on California's Eastern Border
Counties on California's Eastern Border
CountryUnited States
Time zonePacific Standard Time
 • Summer (DST)Pacific Daylight Time
Area code(s)530, 442/760, 909, 951



According to the 2010 census, the population of the easternmost counties of California was 5,129,384. However, a single metropolitan area, consisting of San Bernardino and Riverside counties, has a population of 4,224,851.

Culture and historyEdit

Most of Eastern California does not fit the stereotypes of California and is more related in culture to southeastern Oregon, northwestern Nevada, and western Arizona. Northeastern California is very sparsely populated (except for the area around Lake Tahoe) and tends to be politically conservative, much like the rest of the rural Western United States. However, the counties of San Bernardino and Riverside form the 12th largest metropolitan area of the United States, and the counties of El Dorado, Placer, and Nevada are part of the Greater Sacramento area and are culturally influenced by their respective metropolitan areas.

Historically, Northeastern California has had strong ties to Nevada, with the exact boundary between the two states in some dispute.[1] Residents of portions of near Susanville, California, tried to break away from California in 1856, first by declaring themselves part of the Nataqua Territory[2] and then through annexation to Nevada. The two states further squabbled over ownership of Susanville in 1863. The town of Aurora, Nevada, was temporarily the county seat of both Mono County, California, and Esmeralda County, Nevada. Finally, the line between the two states was settled by a survey in 1872.


Cities Larger than 50,000 population[3]Edit

Placer CountyEdit

  • Roseville 135,329
  • Rocklin 64,838

San Bernardino CountyEdit

  • Apple Valley 73,077
  • Chino 73,077
  • Chino Hills 80,374
  • Colton 54,828
  • Fontana 211,815
  • Hesperia 94,859
  • Hignland 55,342
  • Ontario 175,841
  • Rancho Cucamonga 177,452
  • Redlands 71,554
  • Rialto 103,562
  • San Bernardino 216,995
  • Upland 76,999
  • Victorville 122,441
  • Yucaipa 53,683

Riverside CountyEdit

  • Cathedral City 54,596
  • Corona 167,836
  • Eastvale 63,211
  • Hemet 85,160
  • Indio 89,793
  • Jurupa Valley 106,028
  • Lake Elsinore 66,411
  • Menifee 90,595
  • Moreno Valley 207,226
  • Murrieta 113,326
  • Palm Desert 52,932
  • Perris 77,879
  • Riverside 327,728
  • Temecula 114,327


Because Eastern California is generally in the rain shadow of the Sierra Nevada or the Transverse Ranges, the climate is extremely dry and can be considered a desert. Indeed, the hottest and lowest area in North America lies in Death Valley, in the heart of Eastern California.

Geologically, Eastern California is mostly part of the Basin and Range Province, marked by crustal extension, with horsts and grabens. Volcanism is also evident in this region.


The majority of Eastern California experiences two longer seasons, including longer drought-stricken summers and more mild winters of rain. Some higher elevations experience a full cycle of the four seasons: winter, spring, summer, and fall. There are some areas where the weather is very diverse. The Sierra Nevada mountain range has larger amounts of snowfall, while the Imperial Valley has more desert-like conditions.[4] The Sierra Nevada's average temperature is around 47 degrees Fahrenheit and the Imperial Valley is on average 73 degrees Fahrenheit. A record-breaking heat temperature was recorded in Death Valley, at a scorching 134 degrees Fahrenheit on July 10, 1913.[5] With the mild rainy winters, California is more susceptible to drought, and in many parts of the state including Eastern California, there is very high fire danger and there have been several devastating wildfires.[6]


Most of the counties located in Eastern California are heavily timbered areas. The timber industry is a major contributor to the economy from sale of timber and forest products and the number of jobs that it provides. These timbered areas not only provide valuable income, but are also the main growing sector for the economy for recreation and tourism. In the Sierra Nevada National Forests they experience 50 million recreational visitor days per year.[7] When California became a state, it was one of the leading producers of these timber and forest products. Since then, it has held the third place for the top producer of softwoods since the 1940s. In California there were five counties that contributed to 55 percent of the wood harvested for the state. One of those counties, Plumas, is located in Eastern California.[8]


Major highwaysEdit

Modoc CountyEdit

Lassen CountyEdit

Plumas CountyEdit

Sierra CountyEdit

Nevada CountyEdit

Placer CountyEdit

El Dorado CountyEdit

Map of El Dorado County in Northern California

Alpine CountyEdit

Mono CountyEdit

Inyo CountyEdit

San Bernardino CountyEdit

Riverside CountyEdit

Educational InstitutionsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Bruce A. Metcalfe. "A Moving Monument". Retrieved 2006-03-28.
  2. ^ "US395:Lassen County (Susanville to Modoc County Line)". Floodgap Roadgap. Retrieved 2006-04-01.
  3. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: California". Census Bureau QuickFacts. Retrieved 2018-10-20.
  4. ^ Worldmark Encyclopedia of U.S. and Canadian Environmental Issues. Ed. Susan Bevan Gall and Margaret K. Antone. Detroit, MI: Gale, 2012. p61-72.
  5. ^ "Climate - California". Retrieved 2018-10-20.
  6. ^ Worldmark Encyclopedia of U.S. and Canadian Environmental Issues. Ed. Susan Bevan Gall and Margaret K. Antone. Detroit, MI: Gale, 2012. p61-72.
  7. ^ "Forest Economics". Sierra Forest Legacy. Retrieved 2018-10-20.
  8. ^ "California's Forest Products Industry: A Descriptive Analysis" (PDF). USDA.
  9. ^ "California (U.S. National Park Service)". Retrieved 2018-10-20.