Many people are wondering if Butte County is ready for visitors after the devastating Camp Fire of November 2018. While the wildfire destroyed much of Paradise and neighboring communities of Concow and Magalia, less than 15 percent of Butte County’s over 1 million acres were directly touched by the November 2018 wildfire. The resiliency of the Paradise Ridge has seen 98% of residential lots cleared and in various stages of cleaning and preparation for building!
When you visit Butte County, you’ll find much of what was always here—beautiful vistas and hikes, cool creeks and swimming holes, and expanses of hiking and biking trails.
Here’s what to expect when visiting Butte County after the fire:
Many Paradise businesses that were displaced by the fire are excited to return to their beloved community and open their doors again. Some, like Old Barn Kitchen, have opened second locations in other Butte County cities while they wait until they can return to Paradise. Others are working on getting their doors open; Joy Lyn’s Candies is working hard to have candy again for the upcoming holiday season. And still others are already open in Paradise and ready for you to visit! The Theatre on the Ridge continues to stage beautiful productions in their original location, while the Gold Nugget Museum will welcome you at their interim location inside the Depot Museum.
More businesses are re-opening on a daily basis, and by supporting them with your visits and dollars, you encourage even more businesses to return. The Paradise Ridge Chamber of Commerce is a great resource to search for businesses who are open to serve the public.
If you are planning a trip to the Ridge, we suggest you check online to make sure the business you’re looking for is still in the same place and ready to welcome you.
If you’re not sure what there is to do, we recommend the following:
- Outdoor Adventure
- Grab a meal at one of the restaurants that have reopened, such as Lower Ridge locations Meehos, Sophia’s Thai, and Maria’s Kitchen, or Upper Ridge eateries such as Sakura Sushi, Hilltop Cafe, and LoveLock Inn Restaurant.
- Shop for antiques at Treasures from Paradise and Attic Treasures or cute clothes at Bobbi’s Boutique.
- Catch a show at the Paradise Performing Arts Center
If you plan to go, make sure you give yourself plenty of travel time as road conditions have changed. A trip to the Ridge is both affecting and hopeful, and shows how resilient the community is.
Though the Paradise Ridge communities are still in various stages of recovery, the majority of the region is open to explore. The surrounding towns have a new energy as they buzz with new-to-them residents, but the heart and soul of the region remains. When you’re here, you are welcome to explore Chico’s vibrant Downtown, stroll through Oroville’s historic riverside district, or experience classic Americana in Downtown Gridley.
Visit the Durham Wine District or one of the many delicious breweries and tasting rooms in Chico. Explore Butte County’s vast landscapes with a bike ride through Bidwell Park or a hike to Feather Falls.
We have dozens of lodging options to choose from when planning to spend some time in Butte County. Though all area hotels were impacted immediately following the fire, most residents have found more permanent housing, and our hotels are open and happy to welcome you.
For those hoping to stay in Paradise, all lodging options are temporarily closed. We do expect the Best Western Paradise Hotel to reopen, even if partially, by the beginning of 2020.
For the best information about hotel availability, visit explorebuttecounty.com/stay.
Whatever the season, you’ll always find great activities to enjoy throughout the county. The year kicks off with the county-wide Snow Goose Festival of the Pacific Flyway and Restaurant Week in January. Springtime features outdoor activities among the blossoming almond trees, such as the Velo Love Ride through Gridley and Almond Blossom Run in Durham, and the start of the Chico favorite Thursday Night Market. During the summer, Paradise hosts its weekly Party in the Park Music and Marketplace and Chico invites everyone to enjoy a Taste of Chico in September. Fall comes alive with Durham’s Autumn Fest and Kids Farm Fest, Sierra Nevada Brewery’s Oktoberfest and Hop Harvest Festival, Chico’s Treat Street, and Paradise’s Johnny Appleseed Days. During the winter, you can enjoy Paradise on Ice among the trees for three months and the town’s December Truck Parade of Lights.
From splashing around in urban swimming holes in the summer to enjoying snow in the higher elevations in the winter to visiting for one of our many events throughout the year, Butte County is the place to be.
Plus, every time you visit, you support the thousands of local residents who work in the tourism industry and help fuel our local economy.
Butte County’s friendly and fun communities are still here.
Want to see for yourself?
Come visit--and bring your friends.