Multiple Cities Outdoor Adventurer

Trails, Waters, and Bites: A Two-Day Adventure

Two Days in Oroville and Chico

Stand on top of the nation’s tallest dam, explore the state’s sec­ond largest reser­voir, hike end­less trails at one of the nation’s most expan­sive munic­i­pal parks, and taste wine at a grow­ing urban winery.

Pack the car, lace up your hik­ing shoes, and pre­pare to dis­cov­er some of Butte County’s undis­cov­ered gems.

Day One

As you dri­ve up High­way 70 through orchards, the Gold Rush town of Oroville is the first major town you will encounter. After gold was dis­cov­ered at Bidwell’s Bar, thou­sands of prospec­tors flocked to this area, estab­lish­ing Ophir City (the orig­i­nal name giv­en to Oroville). Dri­ve past the Oro Dam Blvd. signs that point to Lake Oroville, and turn onto Mont­gomery Street, which will take you through the his­toric Down­town Oroville along the riverfront.

Break­fast at Mug Shots

On Mont­gomery Street, stop into Mug Shots Cof­fee House, the per­fect local cof­fee shop to fuel up on caf­feine and baked goods before dri­ving to Lake Oroville. Grab a spe­cial­ty cof­fee to go and jump back into the car.

Boat and Water-ski at Bid­well Canyon Marina

Now it is time to get out and explore the state’s sec­ond largest reser­voir via Bid­well Canyon Mari­na. Head down Kel­ly Ridge Road to Bid­well Canyon to rent a ski boat or pon­toon boat. From here, the options are end­less: hike Bid­well Canyon Trail, fish for hun­gry bass or salmon, wake­board or water­s­ki the day away, or motor under the 1,108-foot Bid­well Bar Bridge. If you are real­ly adven­tur­ous, and the reser­voir is real­ly full, pilot your boat high into a dis­tant fin­ger of Oroville to catch a glimpse of 410-foot Feath­er Falls.

Stay Shore­side at Loafer Creek Recre­ation Area

If you are look­ing for shore­line recre­ation, check out Loafer Creek Recre­ation Area, just up the road for shore­line pic­nick­ing, swim­ming, fish­ing, boat launch facil­i­ties, and even hik­ing and eques­tri­an trails.

Dine Out­side at Union

After a long day on the lake, stop in at the Union to unwind and refresh with live music and good eats on their expan­sive out­door patio. Spe­cial­iz­ing in Cal­i­for­nia cui­sine with a sea­son­al menu made with local­ly sourced prod­ucts, the Union is always a great way to end the day.

Stay the Night

Find a great hotel so you’re nev­er far from all the fun, wher­ev­er your explo­rations take you.

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Day Two

Con­tin­ue on High­way 70 to High­way 99, which will take you to Chico, the urban heart of Butte Coun­ty. The largest city north of Sacra­men­to, Chico is home to Chico State Uni­ver­si­ty, an abun­dance of out­door recre­ations, and din­ing and shop­ping galore, much of which is with­in the walk­a­ble Down­town Chico.

Break­fast at Morn­ing Thun­der Café

Grab break­fast at Morn­ing Thun­der Café, a pop­u­lar local break­fast spot known for gen­er­ous por­tions and friend­ly ser­vice. Try the Bid­well Egg, an egg-bacon-and-ched­dar bagel served with a heap­ing help­ing of coun­try potatoes.

Explore Bid­well Park

With a big break­fast in your bel­ly, explore one of the nation’s most spec­tac­u­lar munic­i­pal parks—Bid­well Park. Cre­at­ed by the gen­er­ous dona­tion of Annie Bid­well, wife of Chico found­ing father John Bid­well, the park extends from down­town Chico 11 miles into the foothills. You can access Low­er Park direct­ly from Down­town Chico — explor­ing tree-lined run­ning trails and bike paths — or dri­ve to Upper Park above Man­zani­ta Avenue, where more seri­ous hik­ing and moun­tain bik­ing trails await — as well as beau­ti­ful swim­ming holes. Hike North Rim Trail, accessed at the Park­ing Lot B in upper park, to expe­ri­ence great views of the park and Chico. Off of this trail you will find Mon­key Face,” a pic­turesque rock out­crop­ping that marks a great turn­around spot. If you are hot and sweaty after the hike, stop and take a dip at one of the many swim­ming holes along Big Chico Creek, includ­ing Bear or Alli­ga­tor holes.

If Bid­well Park’s for­est seems odd­ly famil­iar, it may be because por­tions of The Adven­tures of Robin Hood (1938) with Errol Fly­nn were filmed under the park’s impres­sive oaks.

Tour Bid­well Mansion

On your way back to down­town Chico, Bid­well Man­sion State His­toric Park is worth a stop and a tour. The icon­ic home of John Bid­well — pio­neer, con­gress­man, and agri­cul­ture inno­va­tor — is a great way to expe­ri­ence the his­to­ry of Chico and North­ern Cal­i­for­nia. Check the Mansion’s hours care­ful­ly before vis­it­ing, as the vis­i­tor cen­ter hours and tours are lim­it­ed. But the grounds are always open for pub­lic visitation.

Dine at 5th Street Steakhouse

Back in Down­town Chico, head to 5th Street Steak House for the restaurant’s sig­na­ture hand-cut steaks cooked in a high-heat (up to 1,000 degrees) broil­er to pre­serve tenderness.

Explore Nightlife at Park­side Tap House

If you are up for a final drink before turn­ing in, Park­side Tap House has an impres­sive array of craft beer on tap and a full range of cock­tail options. The indoor-out­door bar and fire­place-equipped patio make it a per­fect spot to enjoy an out­door drink.