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Which States Border California?


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Georgia Russo



California, known for its diverse landscapes, iconic cities, and vibrant culture, is one of the most popular destinations in the United States. As the third largest state by area, California is blessed with a stunning coastline along the Pacific Ocean, majestic mountains, sweeping deserts, and fertile valleys.


However, no state exists in isolation. California shares its borders with multiple neighboring states, each contributing to the unique tapestry that makes up the region. Understanding which states border California helps us delve deeper into its geography, history, and the interactions that have shaped the state.


In this article, we will explore the states that border California and the fascinating characteristics they bring to the region. From the northernmost reaches to the southernmost points, as well as the western and eastern borders, we will discover the diverse landscapes and rich cultural influences that exist at each boundary.


So, let’s embark on a journey across the borders of California and discover the states that influence and enrich the Golden State’s identity.


Northern Bordering States

California’s northern border is primarily defined by the state of Oregon. The border between these two states stretches approximately 320 miles, showcasing the diverse landscapes of the Pacific Northwest and Northern California.


Oregon, also known as the “Beaver State,” shares with California a love for natural beauty and outdoor activities. The border region features stunning mountain ranges such as the Siskiyous and the Cascade Range, which offer excellent opportunities for hiking, skiing, and exploring pristine wilderness areas. The iconic Mount Shasta, a dormant volcano, sits close to the border and serves as a breathtaking backdrop.


As we move eastward along the border, we encounter the Modoc Plateau, a unique region characterized by volcanic activity and stunning geologic formations. The Lava Beds National Monument, located near the border, preserves ancient lava flows and features over 700 lava tube caves, providing visitors with a fascinating underground adventure.


The northern border area is also home to numerous national forests, such as the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest and the Klamath National Forest, offering opportunities for camping, fishing, and wildlife spotting. The region’s dense forests and pristine rivers are havens for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.


Culturally, Oregon’s influence extends into Northern California, particularly in cities like Redding and Crescent City, which share a similar Pacific Northwest vibe. The border region showcases a blend of Californian and Oregonian influences, resulting in a unique cultural and artistic landscape.


While Oregon primarily defines California’s northern border, it is important to mention that a tiny portion of the northern border is shared with Nevada. This small section in the eastern Sierra Nevada region offers glimpses of the arid landscapes and desert beauty that Nevada is famous for.


Overall, California’s northern border is a captivating blend of mountains, forests, rivers, and cultural influences that shape the identity of both states. Whether exploring the wilderness or immersing yourself in local history and art, this border region offers a range of experiences for visitors and residents alike.


Southern Bordering States

California’s southern border is defined by two states: Arizona and Nevada. These bordering states offer a striking contrast to California’s diverse landscapes and bring their own unique flavor to the region.


Arizona, known as the “Grand Canyon State,” shares a border with California in the southeast. This border region is characterized by vast desert landscapes, including parts of the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts. The iconic Joshua Tree National Park lies near the border, showcasing the unique beauty of the Joshua Tree, a symbol of the desert Southwest.


The border area with Arizona also reveals the influence of Native American cultures, with several Native American reservations located near the border. Visitors can explore the rich history, art, and traditions of Native American tribes such as the Chemehuevi and the Colorado River Indian Tribes.


Moving towards the northeast, California shares a small border region with Nevada. Here, the landscape transitions from desert to towering mountain ranges. The border area includes portions of the Sierra Nevada mountains, offering breathtaking alpine scenery and outdoor recreation opportunities. Lake Tahoe, a popular destination for skiing, hiking, and watersports, straddles the California-Nevada border and serves as a scenic playground for visitors from both states.


Culturally, the southern border area is influenced by the proximity to Arizona and Nevada. Towns like Needles and Blythe showcase a blend of Californian, Arizonan, and Nevadan characteristics, creating a unique regional atmosphere.


Whether exploring the desert landscapes, immersing oneself in Native American history and culture, or enjoying the recreational opportunities of the Sierra Nevada mountains, the southern border region offers a dynamic mix of natural beauty and cultural diversity.


These bordering states provide a fascinating glimpse into the broader Southwestern region of the United States, enriching California’s landscape and offering a wide range of experiences for residents and visitors alike.


Western Bordering State

California’s western border is defined by the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. Stretching over 840 miles, this border is characterized by stunning coastal scenery and a unique maritime influence that shapes the culture and lifestyle of California’s coastal communities.


The Pacific Ocean offers a wealth of natural beauty and recreational opportunities along California’s western border. From the rugged cliffs and rocky shores of the Northern California coast to the sandy beaches and renowned surf spots of Southern California, this coastline is a mecca for beach lovers, surfers, and nature enthusiasts.


The border region showcases iconic landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles, which have become symbols of California’s coastal allure. Visitors can enjoy scenic drives along the Pacific Coast Highway, basking in breathtaking views of the ocean and exploring charming coastal towns along the way.


The coastal region is also home to several world-class national parks, including Channel Islands National Park and Point Reyes National Seashore, which protect unique ecosystems and offer opportunities for hiking, wildlife watching, and water-based activities.


Additionally, California’s western border provides a gateway to the vibrant maritime industry, with bustling ports and harbors. From the Port of Los Angeles, one of the busiest ports in the world, to smaller fishing harbors along the coast, the marine transportation and fishing industries play a vital role in the state’s economy and cultural heritage.


The western border area is a melting pot of cultures and influences, attracting people from all over the world. It is home to diverse coastal communities, each with its own distinct character and charm. From the bohemian atmosphere of Santa Cruz to the glamorous beach towns of Malibu and Newport Beach, California’s western border showcases a unique blend of lifestyles and cultures.


Overall, California’s western border is a captivating intersection of land and sea, offering breathtaking natural beauty, recreational opportunities, and a vibrant coastal culture that adds to the state’s iconic identity.


Eastern Bordering States

California’s eastern border is defined by the states of Nevada and Arizona, which offer a stark contrast to the landscapes and culture found on the western side of the state.


Nevada shares a significant portion of California’s eastern border, with a diverse range of landscapes that showcase the region’s rugged beauty. The border area includes parts of the iconic Sierra Nevada mountain range, known for its majestic peaks and world-class skiing destinations, such as Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Mountain. This mountainous region attracts outdoor enthusiasts year-round, offering opportunities for hiking, rock climbing, and mountain biking.


As we move southeast along the border, the landscape transitions into vast desert expanses, including portions of the Mojave and Great Basin Deserts. Death Valley National Park, located near the eastern border, is known as the hottest and driest place in North America, with unique geological formations and stunning vistas. The desert region also showcases the influence of Native American tribes, with areas such as the Bishop Paiute Reservation and Fort Independence Indian Reservation preserving their cultural heritage.


The eastern border also shares a small portion with Arizona, known for its desert landscapes and iconic natural landmarks. This border region includes parts of the Colorado River, which forms a natural boundary between the two states. This river system provides opportunities for recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and river rafting.


This border area showcases a unique blend of desert scenery, Native American culture, and outdoor adventure. Towns like Needles and Blythe, located along the eastern border, reflect the influence of both Nevada and Arizona, offering a mix of regional characteristics.


The eastern border region is also connected to the larger Southwestern United States, which is renowned for its rich Native American history, Mexican influences, and vibrant arts and cuisine. Exploring the border region allows visitors to experience the unique blend of cultures and landscapes that define this part of California.


In summary, California’s eastern border presents a scenic and diverse mix of mountain ranges, deserts, and river systems that provide ample opportunities for outdoor recreation and cultural exploration.



California’s borders are not just lines on a map; they represent the meeting points of diverse landscapes, cultures, and influences that shape the rich tapestry of the Golden State. From the iconic Pacific coastline to the majestic mountains of the Sierra Nevada, and the arid deserts of the east, California’s bordering states offer a wide range of experiences and attractions.


The northern border with Oregon showcases the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, with towering mountains, dense forests, and a blend of Californian and Oregonian cultures. Moving southward, the border with Nevada reveals stunning desert landscapes and opportunities for outdoor adventure in the Sierra Nevada mountains.


The southern border with Arizona brings the allure of the desert Southwest to California, with its unique flora, Native American influences, and recreational opportunities in places like Joshua Tree National Park and Lake Tahoe.


And let’s not forget the western border along the Pacific Ocean, which showcases the stunning coastal beauty, vibrant beach communities, and a flourishing maritime industry that have become synonymous with the California lifestyle.


As we explore these border regions, we discover a multitude of experiences, from exploring national parks and engaging in outdoor activities to immersing ourselves in the local culture and cuisine. Each bordering state adds its own character and charm, enriching California’s identity as a diverse and dynamic state.


So, whether you’re seeking outdoor adventure, cultural exploration, or simply a scenic drive along the coast, exploring California’s bordering states opens up a world of discovery and delight.


As the borders of California connect with these neighboring states, the true essence of the Golden State is amplified, showcasing the beauty, diversity, and unity that make California a beloved and iconic destination.