Paradise Lake: Picnic in the Pines
Paradise Lake is a postcard picture of a serene forested lake with canoes lazily drifting atop glassy water. It’s a special place in Butte County to visit for a relaxing paddle, picnic, or hike, and with gorgeous conifer woodland surrounding the shoreline, you might even spot a bald eagle or a bear! There’s a lot of room to explore via kayak, canoe, or row-boat on this 244 acre lake. Don’t forget to bring your pole and fishing license if want to try catching the big one with trout, bass, and perch populating the waters, and you'll find many good locations to fish from shore as well.
There are occasional restrooms and benches along the trail, and after your adventure, the shaded picnic area is a wonderful spot to gather with your family and friends. Kids can explore the playground, and there’s a horseshoe pit available, too. Several group picnic areas as well as the scenic gazebo are available for reservation.
The lake is open daily, except for Wednesdays, from 5am to sunset. Bring $3 for the parking fee if you’re staying onshore. The fee for boating is $10. The water in Paradise Lake is an important drinking supply for the area, so be aware of special regulations designed to keep the water pristine. More information is at visitparadiselake.com and paradiseprpd.com
Hike Paradise Lake
On this easy trail, you’ll enjoy some of the best views of the picturesque lake. The trail is flat and well-maintained with plenty of shade, making it perfect for young or inexperienced hikers, even with the full 9-mile length (you can always turn back at any time), as well as casual walks, trail-running, and even biking. Enjoy beautiful fall colors and keep an eye out any time of year for deer, various birds, fish, and even a bear or two (just leave the dog at home, as they’re not allowed at the lake).
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Trail Length & Type: 9 miles out-and-back
Best Used: Accessible year-round
Dogs: Not allowed
Trail Map: PRPD Map
Other information: $3 parking pass required; closed on Wednesdays
Paradise Lake is only about 30 minutes up the hill from the floor of the Sacramento Valley. If coming from the south via Oroville, take Highway 70 north past the City of Oroville and continue north on Highway 70 at the 70/149 split. Turn left after six miles onto Pentz Road which will take you through the Town of Paradise. Pentz Road will end at the intersection with Skyway after 11 miles. Those coming from the north and west via Chico can exit Highway 99 onto Skyway (Exit 383). Take Skyway through the Town of Paradise and you’ll reach the intersection with Pentz Road in 15 miles. Paradise and Magalia are busy with recovery and rebuilding efforts so drive with care!
From the intersection of Skyway and Pentz Road, continue up the hill on Skyway for another mile and turn right onto Coutolenc Road as you enter Magalia. Continue on Coutolenc Road for 3 miles and turn left onto Lucrecia Road. This short road will dead end at the Paradise Lake picnic area. The boat ramps can be accessed by taking Coutolenc Road north for another two miles and turning left onto North Lake Road.