Sutter County was one of the state's original counties at the time of statehood in 1850. In 1852 it was reduced in size, ceding some land to Placer County. The county is named for German immigrant John Augustus Sutter, who established a ranch in the area in 1841 and was one of the first people to recognize the Central Valley's potential for agriculture. Today nearly 90% of the county's land is used for farming and grazing.
The county is home to the Sutter Buttes, a circular complex of eroded volcanic lava domes approximately ten miles in diameter that are sometimes referred to as the world's smallest mountain range. Bordered by the Sacramento River on the west and the Feather River on the east, Sutter County also has an extensive levee system.
California State Route 99 is the county's primary north-south route, providing access to Sacramento in the south and continuing north through Yuba City and Chico before ending in the northern part of the state near Red Bluff.
- 1 Glenn County - Bordering Sutter County to the northwest, Glenn County is an agricultural region that is most likely to be experienced by travelers passing through on Interstate 5. While it lacks significant amenities, there are a few options for travelers to experience small-town America at events such as the Glenn County Fair, held in mid-May in the town of Orland, or at the Thunderhill Raceway Park outside of Willows, home to the longest automobile race in the United States: the 25 Hours of Thunderhill.
- 2 Butte County - Named for the Marysville Buttes that are actually found in Sutter County, Butte County is a rural destination featuring rolling hills, rivers, and large agricultural areas. The town of Chico is a college town that is home to many excellent restaurants, massive Bidwell Park, and the National Yo-Yo Museum. The town of Oroville boasts a downtown area that dates back to the Gold Rush, and is now home to America's tallest dam (tours available), behind which sits a reservoir that is enjoyed by boaters and hikers. Further afield, 410 ft (120 m) tall Feather Falls rewards hikers willing to traverse the 8 mi (13 km) loop trail.
- 3 Yuba County - Bordering Sutter County to the northeast, rural Yuba County is located along the western slope of the Sierra Nevadas, offering visitors recreational opportunities in the Plumas and Tahoe National Forests, and providing a glimpse into the area's Gold Rush past at the ghost town of Timbuctoo and neighboring Smartsville. The western side of the county is flatter, more populous, and primarily used for fruit orchards, rice fields, and grazing.
- 4 Placer County - Sutter County's eastern neighbor stretches from the suburbs of Sacramento to Lake Tahoe and the Nevada border. Named after the Spanish word meaning "sand or gravel deposits containing gold", the county was a hotbed of activity during the Gold Rush. Today visitors can enjoy mountain activities such as hiking and skiing, and will also be impressed by the historic courthouse in Auburn.
- 5 Sacramento County - Bordering Sutter County to the south, Sacramento County stretches from the wetlands at the edge of the San Francisco Bay to the rolling hills of Gold Country. The Sacramento and American Rivers played prominent roles in the county's development, and today offer outdoor opportunities ranging from boating to fishing to birdwatching. The capital city of Sacramento is located at the rivers' confluence, and visitors will appreciate its historic districts and more than 25 museums.
- 6 Yolo County - With extensive farmlands, Sutter County's southwestern neighbor offers numerous opportunities for visitors to engage in agritourism: farmer's markets are held regularly, organic farms offer tours and the opportunity to pick your own produce, and more than 35 wineries can be found in the county. The college town of Davis is home to California's third-largest state university and boasts the highest number of bikes per capita in the USA, a statistic that led the US Bicycling Hall of Fame to move to the town in 2010.
- 7 Colusa County - Located west of Sutter County, visitors to rural Colusa County will find an abundance of rice fields and almond trees, but a limited number of amenities and attractions. Sights that may be of interest include four national wildlife refuges, as well as the Colusa County Courthouse in the town of Colusa, which was erected in 1861 and is the oldest remaining courthouse in the Sacramento Valley.