Unincorporated Outdoor Adventurer Hiking Trails

Hike the Pacific Crest Trail in Butte County

The Pacif­ic Crest Nation­al Scenic Trail trav­els 2,653 miles between the bor­ders of Mex­i­co and Cana­da. Hun­dreds of adven­tur­ers each year attempt to make the entire jour­ney in one go but most hik­ers enjoy small­er sec­tions at a time.

In Butte Coun­ty, it’s clos­er than you think to take a walk on one of the world’s most famous long-dis­tance trails! You’ll find a 12-mile stretch of the famous PCT to tack­le only one hour away from Chico, Par­adise, and Oroville.

Know Before You Go

Make sure to check for any trail clo­sures on the Pacif­ic Crest Trail Asso­ci­a­tion’s web­site before you go

Check Trail Status

Butte Coun­ty shares a 12-mile stretch of the PCT with neigh­bor­ing Plumas Coun­ty in Lassen Nation­al For­est. Thru-hik­ers com­ing from the south (those try­ing to hike from Mex­i­co to Cana­da) usu­al­ly appre­ci­ate the cool­er weath­er and gen­tler climbs of this sec­tion (hov­er­ing between 6000 to 7000 feet in ele­va­tion). They know that they’re get­ting close to the half-way point of the entire trail, which lies clos­er to Chester. It’s also along this sec­tion that many thru-hik­ers expe­ri­ence some of their first panoram­ic views of Lassen Peak — sig­nal­ing that they’re leav­ing the Sier­ra Neva­da Moun­tains and enter­ing the Cascades. 

One of the quick­est ways to expe­ri­ence the PCT from most Butte Coun­ty com­mu­ni­ties is to take a dri­ve up the scenic Feath­er Riv­er Canyon to the town of Belden. It’s less than an hour away from Oroville and Par­adise along High­way 70. The PCT here cross­es the North Fork of the Feath­er Riv­er and climbs steeply in both direc­tions. This sec­tion of the PCT is tough (and usu­al­ly warm in the sum­mer), but you can go as far as you want and come back to swim in the Feath­er River.

Hum­boldt Summit

Hum­boldt Sum­mit is at the top of his­toric Hum­boldt Road that first con­nect­ed Chico to the cur­rent-day Lake Almanor area in the 1800s. Catch the PCT here to vis­it Hum­boldt Peak—one of sev­er­al places in Butte Coun­ty to get above 7000 feet. This 3.2 mile out-and-back hike has sweep­ing views of Lassen Vol­canic Nation­al Park, Lake Almanor, and the Butte Coun­ty high-coun­try!

Get there: Dri­ve up High­way 32 from High­way 99 in Chico for 26.7 miles. Turn onto Hum­boldt Road and trav­el 11.7 miles through Butte Mead­ows and Jonesville. After Jonesville, Hum­boldt Road turns to grav­el for the last 3.4 miles before the summit. 

Hum­bug Sum­mit at Cold Springs

Anoth­er beau­ti­ful day hike along the PCT starts near Hum­bug Sum­mit at Cold Springs, a refresh­ing source of spring water for hik­ers and hors­es alike. It’s about 4.8 miles round trip from the Cold Springs trail­head north along the PCT to a short spur trail that leads to the high­est point in Butte Coun­ty (7,140 feet). Moun­tain wild­flow­ers burst along this sec­tion in June and July, espe­cial­ly at the mead­ow just before the coun­ty high point. The 6.8 miles along the PCT between Cold Springs and Hum­boldt Sum­mit makes for a great shut­tle hike option for those want­i­ng to park vehi­cles at each end.

Get there: To get to Cold Springs, take Hum­boldt Road through Jonesville and turn left onto Jonesville Road where the road turns to grav­el. Con­tin­ue five miles to Hum­bug Sum­mit Road. Turn left and head anoth­er 1.3 miles on the grav­el road to Cold Springs.