Paradise Getaway Artist

Butte Creek Watershed Overlook

  • 4117 Skyway, Paradise, CA 95969
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The Butte Creek Water­shed is home to high green mead­ows, pools and rif­fles, slow mov­ing deep pools, and a minia­ture Grand Canyon” as it enters the val­ley floor. From the Over­look off of the Sky­way, you can take in this spec­tac­u­lar vista along the Par­adise Ridge.

About the Watershed

The Butte Creek Water­shed encom­pass­es approx­i­mate­ly 510,000 acres and lies pre­dom­i­nant­ly in Butte Coun­ty with small­er por­tions in Tehama, Glenn, Colusa and Sut­ter Coun­ties. The water­shed is home to a diverse and sig­nif­i­cant pop­u­la­tions of both plant and ani­mal life. This plant and ani­mal life along with the watershed’s var­i­ous and con­sid­er­able resources of water, farm­land, tim­ber, and recre­ation­al oppor­tu­ni­ties enrich the lives of both its res­i­dents and visitors.

Butte Creek, a major trib­u­tary to the Sacra­men­to Riv­er, orig­i­nates in the Jonesville Basin, Lassen Nation­al For­est, at an ele­va­tion of 7,087 feet. Sev­er­al small trib­u­taries con­verge in the Butte Mead­ows Basin, an area char­ac­ter­ized by a series of wide mead­ows and repeat­ing series of pools and rif­fles. Butte Creek tran­si­tions from the Butte Mead­ows area approx­i­mate­ly 25 miles through a canyon to the point where it enters the val­ley floor near Chico. Numer­ous small trib­u­taries and springs enter the creek in the canyon area.

The val­ley sec­tion of Butte Creek is divid­ed by the Sut­ter Buttes, locat­ed in the cen­ter of the Sacra­men­to Val­ley. The upper por­tion is approx­i­mate­ly 45 miles in length extend­ing from High­way 99 near Chico to the point where Butte Creek first enters the Sacra­men­to Riv­er at the Butte Slough Out­fall Gates south­east of Colusa. His­tor­i­cal records sug­gest that pri­or to lev­ees being built along the Sacra­men­to Riv­er, Butte Creek entered the Riv­er in this vicin­i­ty. Butte Creek in this reach is sur­round­ed by agri­cul­tur­al lands, sev­er­al state and fed­er­al wildlife areas, and is con­tained, at times, by a series of levees.

The reach of Butte Creek from Cen­ter­ville down­stream is a pro­duc­tive Salmon fish­ery, attract­ing both the endan­gered Spring-run Chi­nook and the Fall-run Chi­nook salmon. Fall-run Chi­nook migrate upstream for spawn­ing between the months of Octo­ber and Decem­ber while Spring-run Chi­nook migrate between the months of March and June. Juve­nile salmon from both races rear in Butte Creek from late win­ter through late spring en route to the Pacif­ic Ocean.

Butte Creek flows are reg­u­lat­ed into the Sacra­men­to Riv­er by the Butte Slough Out­fall Gates to accom­mo­date both flood flows and agri­cul­tur­al needs in the Sut­ter Bypass area. The Sut­ter Bypass sec­tion of Butte Creek is approx­i­mate­ly 40 miles in length. Butte Creek (now Butte Slough) splits into two chan­nels, known as the East and West Bor­row Canals, as it enters the Sut­ter Bypass near High­way 20. Gen­er­al­ly, Butte Creek enters the Sacra­men­to Riv­er via Sacra­men­to Slough imme­di­ate­ly upstream of the mouth of the Feath­er Riv­er near Verona.

Butte Creek Watershed Overlook