7 Places to Enjoy Wide-Open Spaces in Butte County
When you want to be alone in nature, Butte County is the place to be. Here, you can find beautiful expanses to explore without coming across too many other people (or any at all!). Even the most popular on our list are large enough for you to feel like you have the place all to yourself, so head outside and relish the solitude.
Without a doubt, Chico’s Bidwell Park is the most popular park in the city (and not a stretch to say the whole county). But that doesn’t mean that you can’t find less-traveled trails to enjoy on your own. In Lower Park, you’ll find Cedar Grove Picnic Area and Meadow a more secluded alternative to One-Mile Recreation Area, with room to spread out on the trails north of Highway 99.
In Upper Park, the 10 Mile House Road and Peregrine Point Disc Golf Course offer fewer people than the Horseshoe Lake area. 10 Mile House Road also connects to remote sections of the Annie Bidwell Trail for even more opportunities to feel like the park is yours alone.
Brad Freeman Trail
With 41 miles around the Oroville area, the Brad Freeman Trail offers a wide variety of scenic vistas and day-trip options for hikers and mountain bikers, many of which you’ll be able to enjoy all by yourself.
Enjoy some alone time in Butte Meadows in the high Sierras. Explore biking and hiking among the idyllic environment filled with Sierra lakes, meadows, and streams, perfect for casual adventurers and off-roaders alike.
Feather River Scenic Byway
For those looking for a reason to leave it all behind, hop in your car and appreciate the simple joy of a drive along the Feather River Scenic Byway. Following the North Fork of the Feather River, the Scenic Byway on Highway 70 features some of the most diverse and beautiful natural scenery in the state. This section of the Feather River is so beautiful that it was one of the eight original rivers designated as a National Wild and Scenic River in 1968. Stop for a short hike or simply keep driving—with 60 miles in the Feather River Canyon through Butte and Plumas counties and 130 miles total, you’ll have plenty of time to listen to your favorite tunes and take in the natural beauty.
During the summer months, Lake Oroville comes alive with all manners of water enthusiasts. But with 25-square miles of surface area, 167 miles of shoreline, and open year-round, you can always find a spot to call your own, especially in the off-months. Bring your gear to try your hand at catching a big one, reserve a boat-in camping spot for an amphibious adventure, or simply ride out to a secluded spot, turn off the motor, and enjoy the sounds of nature.
Oroville Wildlife Area
A popular location for hunting, fishing, and kayaking, you’ll find that the Oroville Wildlife Area is a great weekday location for solo sightseeing. With nearly 12,000 acres of primarily riparian woodland habitat along the Feather River, you discover an abundance of wildlife, with regular sightings of coyotes, deer, waterfowl, badgers, foxes, and more. Bring a camera, bring your dog, or just take it all in on your own.
Paradise Lake is a postcard picture of a serene forested lake with canoes lazily drifting atop glassy water. The 4.5 mile out-and-back trail along the lake’s western shore is perfect for casual walks, trail-running, and biking. Don’t be surprised if all you run into while you’re there is an eagle or two.