Frequently asked questions about Madera:

What cities are in Madera County?

Incorporated cities in Madera County include: Madera and Chowchilla.

Unincorporated towns and communities in Madera include: Ahwahnee, Bass Lake, Coarsegold, Fairmead, Fish Camp, Madera Ranchos, North Fork, O’Neals, Oakhurst, Raymond, Red Top and Wishon are some of the many towns and communities in Madera County that are in unincorporated areas.

What is the City of Madera’s population?

City of Madera’s population as of 01/01/17 is 65,508.

What is the square mileage of Madera City and County?

The City of Madera covers approximately 14 square miles and the County of Madera encompasses 2,147 square miles.

Where is the City of Madera?

The City of Madera is in the center of the State of California along Freeway 99 and approximately 22 miles north of Fresno, 240 miles north of Los Angeles, 166 miles southeast of San Francisco, and 150 miles south of Sacramento.

State Freeway 99 and State Route 145 transect the City.  State Route 152 is 15 miles to the north; Interstate 5 is 47 miles west via State Route 152; State Route 41 is 16 miles to the east.


Drive six miles north of the San Joaquin River on Highway 99 and you’ll notice an odd couple in the center of the highway divider: a palm tree paired up with an evergreen. Legend has it that this marks the divide between Southern California (the palm tree) and Northern California (the evergreen). While no one has been able to verify the origin of the trees, a public outcry went up in the late 1980s, when the trees were nearly bulldozed to make room for Highway 99. Cal-Trans relented, and the trees remain a symbolic reminder of Madera’s place in the center (between north and south) of the State.

The geographical center of the State is located in North Fork (Madera County) where an attractive wooden sign at the intersection of North Fork Road and Auberry Road marks the point. This is about 20 miles from the south entrance of Yosemite National Park.

Where is the county seat of Madera County?

The county seat of Madera County is the City of Madera.

The county seat is located at the junction of Highway 99 and Highway 145 on the Fresno River. Officials of the California Lumber Company had the town laid out in 1876 at the end of a flume that brought lumber 63 miles from the mountains to the railroad. Madera means “wood” or “timber” in Spanish.  The Madera Post Office has been open since 1877. The town was incorporated in 1907.

What is the elevation of the City of Madera?

The elevation of the City of Madera is 282 feet.

What is the highest elevation pointing in Madera County?

Mount Ritter is the highest elevation point of Madera County at 13,157 feet.

Mt. Ritter is the highest peak in the Ritter Range, a volcanic ridge west of the Sierra Crest, just outside Yosemite’s southeast boundary. The Minarets, a set of more than a dozen fantastically sharp pinnacles in this range, together with Mt. Ritter and Banner Peak make for a striking skyline when viewed from the Mammoth Lakes area. “Mount Ritter is perhaps the most prominent peak in the High Sierra, and can even be seen from certain summits in the southern portion of the range.” It is easily recognizable (in conjunction with its neighbor Banner Peak) from as far north as the peaks around Sonora Pass, and far into the southern parts of the range, from the Palisades to Mt. Goddard, and some points even further. For highpoint seekers, Mt. Ritter is also the highpoint of Madera County, one of the more arduous of the 58 county highpoints in California.

Mt. Ritter is a popular climb, primarily approached via Agnew Meadow. It can be climbed as a day hike, but is most often done as a multi-day outing into the surrounding Ansel Adams Wilderness. Alan Ritter’s 7 attempts to climb his namesake have become almost legend in climbing circles.

What is the Sales Tax Rate?

City Tax Rate
Ahwahnee 7.75%
Base Lake 7.75%
Chowchilla* 8.75%
Coarsegold 7.75%
Madera* 8.25%
North Fork 7.75%
O’Neals 7.75%
Oakhurst 7.75%
Raymond 7.75%
Red Top 7.75%
Wishon 7.75%

* Designates an incorporated City

Sales Tax Rates for Cities and County, effective 04/1/23

SOURCE: California City and County Sales & Use Tax Rates

What is the population of Madera County?

Madera County’s population as of 01/01/20 is 156,225 per the California Department of Finance.