Multiple Cities Outdoor Adventurer Biking Trails

Rails to Trails in Butte County

The next time you’re on a bike path in Butte Coun­ty, you may just be trav­el­ing on a strip of rail­road his­to­ry! There are over 15 miles of ded­i­cat­ed trails for bik­ers and pedes­tri­ans that were once where trains trav­eled through Butte Coun­ty as it grew in the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry. Although the tracks are gone, these Rails to Trails” live on today con­nect­ing com­mu­ni­ties and neigh­bor­hoods (as well as mak­ing a great jump­ing off point for short work­outs or even huge bik­ing tours of the county).

Brad Free­man Trail


While much of West­ern Pacif­ic Railroad’s old route between Oroville and the Feath­er Riv­er Canyon is now under Lake Oroville, the track (now oper­at­ed by Union Pacif­ic) was rerout­ed before Oroville Dam was built in the 1960s.

Today, a 3.5‑mile sec­tion of the old rail-bed still exists on the south side of the Ther­mal­i­to Diver­sion Pool as part of the 41-mile long Brad Free­man Memo­r­i­al Bike Trail. Run­ning from near the Lake­land Boule­vard trail­head to the bot­tom of Oroville Dam, the high­light of this stretch is undoubt­ed­ly an old train tun­nel, which is just one mile north of the Lake­land Boule­vard trail­head or 1.6 miles north of the Feath­er Riv­er Nature Cen­ter. Just tap the but­ton to acti­vate the lights and enjoy a stroll through this unique fea­ture — kids espe­cial­ly love this part of the trail!

Comanche Creek Greenway


For­mer­ly the last mile-long stretch of South­ern Pacif­ic Railroad’s con­nec­tion between Chico and Stir­ling City, the Comanche Creek Green­way con­nects the his­toric Bar­ber neigh­bor­hood of Chico to the Mid­way Bike Path at Hegan Lane, and is a great way to explore the lush ripar­i­an habi­tat along Comanche Creek.

Mid­way Bike Path

Chico to Durham

Once used by elec­tric train cars that com­mut­ed between Chico and San Fran­cis­co along the Sacra­men­to North­ern Rail­way, today, you can expe­ri­ence a tran­quil 3.5 miles of this route along the Mid­way Bike Path.

The path begins in Chico at the inter­sec­tion of Park Avenue and East 20th Street. After cruis­ing by the Bev­er­age Dis­trict of South Chico, the bike path quick­ly enters the agri­cul­tur­al areas between Chico and Durham. Almond orchards erupt in pink blos­soms in late February/​early March and mature Chi­nese Pis­tache trees cre­ate a tun­nel of fall col­or dur­ing the autumn months. Three miles south, at the inter­sec­tion with Oro-Chico High­way, you’ll find the his­toric Patrick Ranch Muse­um. The path ends at Jones Avenue just a few miles north of Durham but many road bik­ers will con­tin­ue on and find loop options along Butte County’s coun­try roads. 

Yel­low­stone Kel­ly Her­itage Trail


The Yel­low­stone Kel­ly Her­itage Trail spans 5.1 miles along the for­mer Butte Coun­ty Rail­road (lat­er known as the Stir­ling City Branch of South­ern Pacif­ic Rail­road), which con­nect­ed the Dia­mond Match lum­ber mill in Stir­ling City to a fac­to­ry in Chico from 1903 to 1974.

Start at the Par­adise Depot Muse­um and then either enjoy an eas­i­er mile-long sec­tion head­ing down­hill towards Neal Road or head uphill to enjoy the remain­ing four miles through the heart of Par­adise for more of a workout!

Whether you’re a sea­soned bik­er or just look­ing for a short work­out, these Rails-to-Trails paths are a must-vis­it in Butte Coun­ty. They offer a unique glimpse into the area’s rich his­to­ry and are a great way to explore the beau­ti­ful out­doors. So, the next time you’re in the area, grab your bike or walk­ing shoes, and get ready to explore these amaz­ing trails!