Michael Smith, Friends of Butte Creek
Butte Creek
Chico Outdoor Adventurer

Butte Creek

Butte Creek is a 110-mile tributary to the Sacramento River that travels through Butte Creek Canyon, a spectacular mini-Grand Canyon, as it reaches the Sacramento Valley floor and flows towards the southwestern corner of the county. Butte Creek provides water for agriculture, a variety of wildlife, and recreation opportunities.


Paddle or float the classic run that goes from Centerville Bridge to the beautiful Honey Run Covered Bridge. This float does not require any serious whitewater skills, but does remove you from the crowds on the Sacramento River.

To find the put-in, take Skyway from Chico and take a left on Honey Run Road. Once the location of the former Honey Run Covered Bridge comes into sight, take a left onto Centerville Road, and take that 6 miles to the Centerville Bridge.


Since the mid-1990s, a complex collaboration and partnership between a variety of organizations have helped rebuild the population of endangered spring-run Chinook salmon (learn more in the video below).

From Keep Calm and Fly Fish: "Butte Creek is a tributary of the Sacramento River that is quite unique in that it hosts great runs of endangered spring-run king salmon. Anadromous fish swim up from the lower reaches of the creek navigating their way through the endless sloughs in the valley to get to the furthest point upstream, a natural barrier about one mile below the Centerville Head dam."


  • Above Centerville Head Dam: Open all year, five trout.
  • Centerville Head Dam to Oro-Chico Bridge in Durham: Open November 15 through February 15, catch and release only, barbless hooks.
  • Below Oro-Chico Bridge: Open all year, no salmon or trout may be taken.

Hiking & More

Explore Butte Creek on-foot at the Butte Creek Ecological Preserve, or take in expansive views from above at the Butte Creek Watershed Overlook.

Learn More

Find more information about Butte Creek at Friends of Butte Creek. You can also learn more about Butte Creek Canyon and its communities at the Colman Museum.

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