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Foothills are geographically defined as gradual increase in elevation at the base of a mountain range, higher hill range or an upland area. They are a transition zone between plains and low relief hills to the adjacent topographically higher mountains, hills, and uplands.
Foothills primarily border mountains, especially those which are reached through low ridges that increase in size closer and closer to the mountain, but can also border uplands and higher hills.
Areas where foothills exist, or areas commonly referred to as the foothills, include:
- The Sierra Nevada foothills of California
- The Foothills of the San Gabriel Valley in Los Angeles County, California
- The Colorado Front Range along the Rocky Mountains in Colorado
- The Wasatch Front along the Wasatch Mountains in Utah
- The Rocky Mountain Foothills in British Columbia and Alberta, Canada
- The Alpine foothills around the European Alps
- The Silesian Foothills in Silesia
- The Siwalik Hills along the Himalayas in the Indian subcontinent
- The Catalina Foothills in Tucson, Arizona
- The foothills in Western North Carolina and Northwestern South Carolina
- The Margalla hills near the Himalayas in Pakistan
- The Duars, Chos and Terai on the foothills of Himalayas (India)
- The foothills around Boise in Idaho
- 'The foothills' of the Dandenong Ranges in Melbourne, Australia. Generally the area from Ferntree Gully/Boronia/The Basin through to Belgrave.
Another word for a foothill region is "piedmont", derived from "foot of the mount" in Romance languages. The Piedmont region of Italy lies in the foothills of the Alps, and several other foothills in other parts of the world are called "Piedmont".
They are also known as submontane zones, especially when referring to montane ecosystems.
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