Summer vacation time is running out, though the temperatures might say otherwise, and we’re down to our last official summer month in Butte County. August is that perfect, flexible time of year where you can either try to cram in every last bit of summer fun possible, or simply start catching up on your rest and relaxation before the school year resumes. Explore or decompress—there are no wrong answers here, and the Butte County area is rife with opportunities to do both!
Butte County Fair
What is summer without a trip to the county fair? Once again, Gridley hosts the Butte County Fair, a three-day, something-for-everyone event from August 26-29. Affordable entry is a license to fill up a day with activity, from piglet racing, animal exhibits and livestock judging to a range of rides ranging across a spectrum of thrills.
And, of course, no county fair would be complete without a few culinary pleasures: funnel cake, hot dogs, Sno-Cones, and soft pretzels are all ready to help nail that essential late-summer county fair vibe. Best of all, you can take the whole family on the cheap, especially if you go on Thursday: seniors (62 and older) and children under 12 get in free, and adult admission is only $5 each! If you go Friday-Sunday, adult prices are still just $10 a ticket, and seniors pay $5. Children still go free on Friday, but Saturday-Sunday, it’s $5 for ages 6-12.
Visit the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve
The Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve, under the direction and ownership of the Chico State Research Foundation, contains almost 4,000 acres of canyon and ridge habitats for native species of flora and fauna over 4 ½ miles of Big Chico Creek.
To visit the reserve is an exercise in wonderment: Because of the fragile nature of the ecosystems being protected here, few recreational activities outside of nature hikes are allowed. But you’ll certainly be grateful you brought a camera, whether it’s to capture the natural scenic beauty or to document a rare and special sighting of local wildlife.
It’s a bit of real wilderness right here in the area, and in some ways it’s foreboding: Here in this natural setting, you truly are a visitor, and it creates an immense sense of appreciation for the natural world around us.
Recreate in Butte Meadows
Heading up Highway 32 in the summertime to Butte Meadows can yield opportunities for fishing, hiking and camping without the heat that comes so naturally in the valley. Just outside of Forest Ranch up the Deer Creek Highway, the creek itself offers a multitude of shaded fishing and swimming spots. Overlooking the canyon, the ecological reserve and, closer to Chico, Upper Bidwell Park, the drive itself is a breathtaking one.
With a stop in Butte Meadows, it’s almost a rite of passage to visit the Bambi Inn. It’s pretty much always open, whether for overnight visitors, hungry passers-through, or locals looking for a place to tie one on.
Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly way to spend a leisurely afternoon or if you’ve got exploration in mind, you’ve got plenty of creative options this month.