Multiple Cities Outdoor Adventurer

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.


As you trav­el, remem­ber to #Recre­ateRe­spon­si­bly and fol­low Leave No Trace principles.

Bid­well Park

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 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.

Butte Mead­ows

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.

Lake Oroville

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 year-round access, 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

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.