Transverse Ranges

The Transverse ranges are a group of mountain ranges of southern California, part of the North American Coast Ranges that run along the Pacific coast from Alaska to Mexico. The Transverse ranges run predominantly east-west, while the other coast ranges tend north-south, including the Central Coast Ranges to the north and the Peninsular Ranges to the south. This is caused by a bend in the San Andreas Fault, which has pushed the mountain ranges up around it.

The Transverse ranges begin at Point Conception in Santa Barbara County, and include the Santa Ynez Mountains that run parallel to the coast behind Santa Barbara. Also in Santa Barbara County, they include the San Rafael Mountains and the Sierra Madre Mountains, both of which extend approximately to the Ventura County line. The Transverse Ranges also include the Topatopa Mountains and the Santa Susana Mountains of Ventura County and Los Angeles County, the Simi Hills, the Santa Monica Mountains that run along the Pacific coast behind Malibu, and whose eastern portion are known as the Hollywood Hills, the steep San Gabriel Mountains northeast of Los Angeles, the Puente Hills and Chino Hills, and the San Bernardino Mountains. To the north of the Transverse ranges are the Central Coast Ranges, The Central Valley, and the Tehachapi Mountains, which separate the Central Valley from the Mojave Desert to the east, and link the Transverse ranges to the Sierra Nevada. The Mojave Desert and California's low desert, including the Coachella Valley, are at the eastern end of the ranges. The northern Channel Islands of California are also part of the Transverse Ranges; San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz and Anacapa Islands are a westward extension of the Santa Monica Mountains.

A number of densely populated coastal plains and interior valleys lie between the mountain ranges, including the Oxnard Plain of coastal Ventura County, the Santa Clarita Valley north of Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, which is mostly included in the City of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Basin, which includes the portion of Los Angeles County south of the Santa Monica Mountains and most of Orange County, and the Inland Empire basin, which includes the cities of San Bernardino and Riverside, lie between the Transverse Ranges and the Peninsular Ranges to the south.

The native plant communities of the Transverse ranges include grassland, Coastal Sage Scrub, Chaparral, and Oak woodland and savanna at lower elevations, and pine forests at higher elevations. The Angeles and Los Padres National Forests cover portions of the Transverse ranges. The ranges are part of the California chaparral and woodlands ecoregion, but the eastern ends of the range touch two desert ecoregions, the Mojave desert ecoregion, and the Sonoran desert ecoregion, which includes the California's low deserts.

Notable mountains in the Transverse Ranges:


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