Unincorporated Outdoor Adventurer Hiking

Tackle Dome Trail

Butte County's Toughest Hike

Look­ing for chal­leng­ing hik­ing in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia? Head to Dome Trail in Butte County.

Butte Coun­ty has big gran­ite, and the Plumas Nation­al For­est main­tains two trails that show off how Butte Coun­ty rocks. Big Bald Rock, a rock-hop­ping play­ground, is eas­i­ly acces­si­ble from a short trail near the town of Berry Creek. Just a short dis­tance away is Bald Rock Dome which hov­ers over the wild and scenic Mid­dle Fork of the Feath­er Riv­er. The Dome Trail plunges near­ly 1,600 feet in a lit­tle over two miles to reach the Mid­dle Fork just under­neath Bald Rock Dome, one of the north­ern­most gran­ite domes in the Sier­ra Neva­da Moun­tains. This is the dome that is eas­i­ly vis­i­ble to the north­east from the Feath­er Falls Trail. 

The Dome Trail starts above Bald Rock Canyon and quick­ly shows the best view of Bald Rock Dome. After a few hun­dred feet of hik­ing through a burn-recov­ery area, a steady pro­gres­sion of switch­backs will begin through pock­ets of trees and won’t let up until you’re well with­in the canyon. This sec­tion of trail will fea­ture an assort­ment of wild­flow­ers dur­ing the spring and splash­es of fall col­or in the autumn. The trail is most­ly etched in stone dur­ing the last quar­ter-mile with one sec­tion squeez­ing you through a nar­row rock crevice. The final approach to the riv­er is made along a steep staircase.

Key Info

Trail Dif­fi­cul­ty: Dif­fi­cult

Trail Length & Type: 4 miles, out-and-back

Best Used: Acces­si­ble year-round

Dogs: Allowed on leash

Once you reach the Mid­dle Fork of the Feath­er Riv­er, you’ll be enjoy­ing one of eight orig­i­nal stretch­es of riv­er in the Unit­ed States pro­tect­ed by the Nation­al Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968. Vis­i­tors dur­ing warmer weath­er can enjoy swim­ming in the many nat­ur­al swim­ming holes. Adven­tur­ers look­ing for an added chal­lenge and pay­off can wade and boul­der upstream for about 2000 feet to find Cur­tain Falls, a 30 foot wide water­fall draped across a slab of gran­ite which falls into a large swim­ming hole.

Although only four miles long round-trip, five if you include Cur­tain Falls, this adven­ture is for expe­ri­enced hik­ers. The trip back up to the trail­head is stren­u­ous and can be exhaust­ing in hot weath­er. Be sure to bring plen­ty of water for the trip back uphill. The Mid­dle Fork of the Feath­er Riv­er will like­ly be too strong for swim­ming in the win­ter, spring, and some­times in ear­ly summer. 


(Note — Google Maps may mis­lead you near the trailhead!)

You can reach the city of Oroville by trav­el­ing south on High­way 99 from Chico. Fol­low the signs to High­way 149, then to High­way 70. If trav­el­ing from the south, take High­way 70 north from Sacra­men­to or Marysville. In Oroville, take Exit 46 and head east on High­way 162 (Oro-Dam Boule­vard) for 1.7 miles. Fol­low High­way 162 as it turns right onto Olive High­way. It will then turn into Oro-Quin­cy High­way and con­tin­ue across the New Bid­well Bar bridge to the town of Berry Creek. After about 19 miles from High­way 70, turn left onto Bald Rock Road. 

Trav­el on Bald Rock Road for 8.5 miles and turn left onto For­est Road 21N35Y (this does not show up on Google Maps — the road that does show up to the south is pri­vate). Look for the sign that says Dome Trail 3.” As the sign sug­gests, con­tin­ue for three miles along this slow-going dirt road until the trailhead.

Tackle Dome Trail
Butte County Resource Conservation District