Enjoy a relaxing stroll through a truly international woodland at the Chico Seed Orchard. This facility is part of the Mendocino National Forest and began in 1904 as the Plant Introduction Field Station. Hundreds of plants were collected from around the world and were brought back to Butte County to be grown and researched by the United States Department of Agriculture. Many familiar plants spent their first years in the United States right here, including the kiwifruit, pistachio, and jujube fruit. This 209 acre botanical gem still contains many of these original plants, some of which are labeled with interpretive signs along the one mile long paved nature path. Currently, the Chico Seed Orchard focuses on producing seed trees for projects such as reforestation, wildfire recovery, watershed restoration, and mine reclamation.
Take a walk with your favorite four-legged friend (on leash) or enjoy a creek-side lunch at one of the seven established picnic sites. High tree canopies often filled with birds create the feel of a bustling bird aviary. A restroom provided along the loop trail and wheelchair accessibility make this location easy and enjoyable for the whole family.
Make your way to Chico via Highway 99 and exit east onto Skyway (Exit 383). Drive a quarter of a mile and turn right on Dominic Drive. At the end of the road turn left onto Morrow Lane then take the next right onto Cramer Lane. Proceed for about 2000 feet and parking is available just outside. Additional parking is available inside the gate during operating hours.
The main gate is open from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The pedestrian gate is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. through 7 p.m. in the summer and from 7 a.m. through 5 p.m. in the winter. Closed on holidays.