Tehama County is in the Shasta Cascades region of California. The county has a quintessentially "western" feel, with most county residents employed in ranching, timber or farming, and most tourists drawn to the region for fishing, boating, hiking, and other outdoor activities. While there are numerous streams and rivers, the Sacramento River is the largest, intersecting the county and offering excellent fishing for rainbow trout, king salmon, chinook salmon, steelhead, smallmouth bass, sturgeon, and striped bass.
Tehama County was formed from parts of Butte, Colusa, and Shasta Counties in 1856. The county is primarily rural, with terrain varying from the high point in the Sierras at 8,200 feet down to the Sacramento River valley, just 341 feet above sea level. The economy is driven by ranching, farming and timber production.
Outdoor recreation options include camping, hunting, fishing, hiking, golfing, snow skiing, and boating. Given its rural nature, visitors will find opportunities ranging from day hikes all the way to week-long backpacking adventures.
- 1 Shasta County - Tehama County's northern neighbor is a land of mountains, lakes and rivers. Massive Shasta Lake, California's largest reservoir, is the "houseboat capital of the world", with rentals available for those who want to vacation on the water. Several spectacular waterfalls can be found in the county, including the 129 ft (39 m) Burney Falls, which Theodore Roosevelt described as "the Eighth Wonder of the World", and McCloud River Falls, which is actually three scenic waterfalls. In the county's southeastern corner, Lassen Volcanic National Park is home to a geologic hotspot highlighted by 10,457 ft (3,187 m) Lassen Volcano. The mountain can be summitted via a steep trail, but plan to do so in the summer - the park's 600–700 inches (1,500–1,800 cm) of annual snowfall make it the snowiest place in California.
- 2 Plumas County - Located east of Tehama County, the forests, rivers and mountains of Plumas County were originally inhabited by Native Americans before miners arrived during the Gold Rush, followed soon after by loggers, and today tourists visit the county for its camping, fishing, whitewater, snowshoeing, and other outdoor opportunities. The Feather River Scenic Byway is a popular way to see the county's beauty, with the east-west route following California's first designated wild and scenic river past nearly one hundred waterfalls, historic bridges and tunnels, spring wildflowers, vivid fall colors, and the "Stairway of Power" consisting of seven hydroelectric powerhouses installed along the river.
- 3 Butte County - Named for the Marysville Buttes that are actually found in neighboring Sutter County, Tehama County's southeastern neighbor 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.
- 4 Glenn County - Bordering Tehama County to the south, 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.
- 5 Mendocino County - Lying halfway between San Francisco and the Oregon border, Tehama County's southwestern neighbor boasts redwood forests, wineries, breweries, and remote, untouched coastline. In addition to its natural features, the county is home to the largest Buddhist Temple in the Western Hemisphere, the 400+ acre City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in Ukiah. The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, located near Fort Bragg, is a 47 acre public garden with oceanside views. While hikers and backpackers will find no shortage of options, those looking for less strenuous ways to enjoy the scenery can ride the Skunk Train, a railroad that has been in operation since 1885 and takes riders 40 miles through old growth forests and across historic trestles between Fort Bragg and Willits.
- 6 Trinity County - One of only three California counties with no incorporated cities, rugged Trinity County lies among the Salmon and Klamath Mountains along the Trinity River. The county seat of Weaverville is home to some of California's oldest buildings, with the state's second oldest courthouse (built in 1856), a drugstore that has filled prescriptions since 1852, and California's oldest Taoist Temple (operating since 1873). Those looking for outdoor adventure will find numerous opportunities for camping, backpacking, rock climbing, boating, rafting/kayaking, hunting, and fishing, with Trinity Lake in particular a favorite spot for houseboat rentals.