Upper Bidwell Park
Bidwell Park is "divided" by Manzanita Avenue into Lower Park and Upper Park. The area east of Manzanita Avenue is referred to as Middle and Upper Park. Upper Park is located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It has steep terrain and contains many rock formations, including the unique Chico Formation sandstone and Lovejoy Basalt rocks.
Check the City of Chico's website for the latest updates on trail status and gate hours.
There are a variety of biking trail options throughout Upper Bidwell Park, including;
- North Rim Trail: The North Rim Trail is an advanced trail that sits atop the northern canyon of Big Chico Creek and offers stunning views in all directions once some elevation is gained. The trail itself is widened single track from years of use and erosion with very little soil sitting upon lava cap. The views start to become more magnificent the higher the trail gets. Towards the top there are some short downhill sections before climbing to B Trail and beyond to a lookout. The trail can be done as an out and back or a short backtrack to B Trail will take the hiker back into the canyon where one can return on Middle Trail.
- Middle Trail: The Middle Trail is an intermediate trail that fluctuates from sections of smooth dirt with short climbs out of drainages to several long chunky rock gardens. In the uppermost section, there are several short, steep climbs littered with loose rocks. Making a loop with Upper Trail or Lower Trail is a good option.
- Guardian Trail: Guardian Trail is an expert trail with exposed technical single-track. It's all downhill with some extreme drop-offs along the trail edges. Intermediate riders will hike a bike a good amount on this trail. All along the trail are views of Chico Creek Canyon below and the valley to the west. The birds will be soaring below you along this trail. It is generally recommended to ride this trail down, ascending Ten Mile House Road from the South Rim Trail or the trails on the north side of the park (wet crossing, unsafe during high water).
- Overall, Upper Park contains 12 scenic and challenging trails and multiple combination trail options.
- The pedestrian-only Yahi Trail in Upper Park is a recommended visit. Yahi Trail offers the hiker miles of scenic views along Big Chico Creek. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and to bring plenty of drinking water.
- The Annie Bidwell Trail begins with some short punchy climbs up to the rim of the canyon. After intersecting Guardian Trail, there is a steep downhill, littered with loose rocks and several drainages. This section is often referred to as "tennis ball hill." The bottom of the steep section leads to a nice meadow as well as several swimming opportunities in the Bear Hole area of Big Chico Creek.
- 10 Mile House Trail is a dirt road that is frequently used to access South Rim Trail and Guardian Trail, as well as Big Chico Creek, the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve and HWY 32. There is a parking area at the top of the road off of HWY 32.
- All of the other trails in Upper Park are mixed-use, and most are rated as medium-to-difficult hikes. Enjoy springtime wildflower blooms as well.
For additional information on hiking and biking trails in Bidwell Park, check out the Hiking Project.
Beginning just above Horseshoe Lake along the canyon side, keep an eye out for a variety of birds, including: a variety of sparrows, phainopepla, great horned owl, northern pygmy owl, California thrashers, Golden eagles, purple finches, dark-eyed Junco, ducks, and more.
With Big Chico Creek running through Bidwell Park, you'll find a variety of natural swimming holes to enjoy, especially perfect during the height of summer!
Map of Upper Park
Discover Upper Bidwell Park with this map. Get a free copy of the fold-out map, which includes the entirety of Bidwell Park, from the Chico Chamber of Commerce.