Modesto is on California State Route 99, the major north-south arterial between Sacramento and Bakersfield.
The Modesto Census County Division, which includes the cities of Ceres and Riverbank, had a population of 312,842 as of 2010. Modesto is located in the Central Valley, 90 miles (140 km) north of Fresno, 40 miles (64 km) north of Merced, California, 92 miles (148 km) east of San Francisco, 68 miles (109 km) south of the state capital of Sacramento, 66 miles (106 km) west of Yosemite National Park, and 24 miles (39 km) south of Stockton. Modesto has been honored as a Tree City USA numerous times. It is surrounded by rich farmland; Stanislaus County ranks sixth among California counties in farm production. Led by milk, almonds, chickens, walnuts, and corn silage, the county grossed nearly $3. 1 billion in agricultural production in 2011. The farm-to-table movement plays a central role in Modesto living as in the Central Valley. Filmmaker George Lucas, who was born in Modesto, graduated from Thomas Downey High School in 1962 and attended Modesto Junior College, immortalized the city in his award-winning 1973 film American Graffiti.