Blythe lies at the heart of the Palo Verde Valley, a rich farming valley on the Colorado River in southern California. The flat bottom of the valley, a floodplain of the Colorado, stretches for miles to the west of the river, for many miles south of Blythe and some distance to the north. Barren rocky mountains rim the valley in all directions, rising at a distance above the irrigated fields. Beyond the reach of the canal network, the barren desert quickly takes over.
Blythe is named after Thomas Blythe, who in 1877 put in a claim for water rights from the Colorado River and made possible the settlement of the valley. The city was incorporated on July 21, 1916. Blythe is home to 12,155 people, as of the year 2000. A season influx increases the population during winter months, as people retreat from the cold.
The elevation at Blythe is 200 feet. Interstate 10 crosses the Colorado just east of Blythe, heading westward toward the coast. U. S. Highway 95 leaves Blythe northward, following the Colorado River. California Route 78 goes southwest from Blythe towards the Imperial Valley.