Butte County, California
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Introduction to Butte County
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The Paradise Ridge is just one treasure in gold-rich Butte County. It may not be another 54-lb gold nugget you will discover, but what you will find as you tour Butte County is the spectacular beauty of lakes, rivers and creeks, waterfalls, mountains and canyons, pine trees, deer, squirrels and other wildlife, and be able to enjoy all this doing whatever your heart desires. Like horseback riding, sports, hiking, fishing, hunting, boating, sightseeing, photography, history research, and lots more.
Butte County is rich in many treasures you won't be able to discover them all. So come back often!
DemographicsButte County covers approximately 1,676 square miles and was named for the Sutter Buttes, the very prominent small range of hills on the valley floor, west of Gridley. It is one of the original 27 California counties. The first county seat was Hamilton. In 1853 it was moved to Bidwell's Bar, then in 1856 to Oroville which is the county seat today.
The 2000 US Census population figure is 203,171.
Communitiess in Butte County:
Butte County QuickFacts - from the US Census Bureau. Click Here.
Attractions & Recreation
This section of Attractions & Recreation features include:
Table Mountain, Ghost Towns, Feather Falls, Oroville Dam, Lake Oroville Visitor's Center, Lake Oroville Recreation Areas, Bidwell Bar Suspension Bridge, Oroville State Wildlife Area, Bald Rock, Feather River Canyon, Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park, California State University/Chico, Bidwell Park, Chico Creek Nature Center, Gray Lodge State Wildlife Area, Barry A. Kirshner Wildlife Foundation.
Table Mountain, north of Oroville, is a popular location
for many to see the variety of wildflowers in early Spring, picnic along side
the road, or enjoy some of the views To reach Table Mountain, from
Highway 70 take the Nelson Avenue exit, go east. It ends at Table Mountain
Boulevard. Cross over and you'll be on Cherokee Road. Continue on to the
mountain top. Visit the Pioneer Cemetery and Thermalito Diversion Pool
along the way. Cherokee Road can also be reached from
Highway 70 ten miles north of Oroville, about 1/2 mile past Pentz Road.
Some areas of Table Mountain are now either restricted or not permitted
Ghost Towns? Many gold mining
and supply towns were established in gold rich Butte County. Today few of
them exist. When visiting the old sites observe private property as many residents
live in these areas. There's Oregon City, settled in 1848, where you
can visit the Oregon City Schoolhouse (maintained as a museum), Emmett Galbraith's
Museum, and a covered bridge. Nearby is Cherokee settled in
1853 and remains of hydraulic mining in the 1880's can be seen. A pioneer
cemetery and museum may be visited. All this when you take the Table
Mountain drive along Cherokee Road. And, located on the Oro-Quincy
Highway about 9 miles above Berry Creek is Mountain House, an
old stage coach stop and said to have been a hideout for Black Bart.
Other sites are Yankee Hill and Pulga along Highway 70 as you
head into the Feather River Canyon towards Quincy. On the ridge above
Paradise at the end of the paved Skyway is Inskip. Once a roaring mining
town, today exists only a few buildings, mainly the Inskip Inn where lives
"Charley the Ghost".
Feather Falls Scenic Area, located 20 miles northeast of Oroville along Lumpkin Road off Forbestown Road. Feather Falls is the 6th highest waterfall in the United States, cascading 640 feet over a sheer granite cliff. The observation deck for the falls is accessible by a 4-mile trail. Go prepared for walking this trail, and observe all signs at the observation deck. See this detailed guide to the Feather Falls National Recreation Trail
Oroville Dam is one of the tallest and largest earthen dams in the United States, 770 feet. Tours are available to visit the Thermalito Power Plant inside the cavern bottom of the dam to view the six enormous power generation units. Call (530) 534-2306 for tour information.
Lake Oroville Visitor's Center, located at the north end of Kelly Ridge Road off Olive Highway (162) east of Oroville. Telephone (530) 538-2219. Here you'll learn about Lake Oroville, the Lake Oroville State Recreation Area, and exhibits covering the history of the California water projects, the Maidu Indians, and local wildlife. A visitor's tower offers fantastic views of the lake area.
The Lake Oroville Recreation Areas include:
Bidwell Bar Suspension Bridge, built in 1856 was the first of its type west of the Mississippi River. Prior to the construction of the Oroville Dam it was dismantled and relocated in Bidwell Canyon, about 1 1/2 miles downstream from its original location.
Oroville State Wildlife Area, known also as the Thermalito Afterbay, is one of northern California's best fishing spots, and consists of nearly 11,000 acres of preserved natural beauty. The 4,300 acre Afterbay is surrounded by hundreds of acres of open grassland, with 26 miles of shoreline. East of the Afterbay is a 5,700 acre preserve area which features 12 miles of the Feather River. An area also popular for birdwatching, home to over 150 species of birds. From Highway 99 take Highway 162 east to the park headquarters at 10th Street; from Highway 70 take Highway 162 (Oro Dam Blvd.) west from Oroville. Information (530) 538-2236.
Bald Rock is located north of Oroville Lake on Hwy 162 near Berry Creek. Turn onto Bald Rock Road, but take caution as pavement ends and you'll have about 2 miles of gravel road, plus a short hike from the parking lot. Great scenic views of the Sacramento Valley await your visit, plus unique formations, and grinding holes created by the Maidu indians. Bald Rock rises to a height of 3,274 feet.
Feather River Canyon Drive, part of the 125-mile Highway 70, winds its way along and crisscrossing the Feather River between Oroville and Belden. It's a beautiful drive! Take care in driving and stop only where it is safe to do so, perferably in designated areas. Cross over a unique steel-arch bridge, other bridges, and travel through tunnels. There are two rest areas along the way. A must do item when visiting Butte County.
California State University, Chico offers a beautiful campus providing hundreds of trees and plants introduced by General John Bidwell, and building architecture. Campus is located at West 2nd and Hazel Streets. Visit CSU-Chico's Homepage.
Bidwell Park is the 2nd largest in the United States covering over 3,700 acres. The original Adventures of Robin Hood was filmed here. The upper park area is a wilderness area containing over 30 miles of hiking trails and beautiful swimming holes. Middle Bidwell and Lower Bidwell sections contain a variety of recreation areas; horse, foot, and bicycle paths; and swimming pools. Park maps available at the Chico Visitor Center.
The Chico Creek Nature Center at 1968 East 8th Street in Chico, (530) 891-4671, has exhibits, guided trails, and a petting zoo for children. Has scheduled events for all ages. Take the Highway 32 west exit from Highway 99. The Chico Creek Nature Center homepage has more information.
Gray Lodge State Wildlife Area, an 8,400 acre wildlife refuge managed by the California Department of Fish and Game, with more than 5-miles of trails for hiking and biking. There are scheduled daily tours, and group tours are available with reservations. Hunting and fishing are permitted in some areas with a permit. The refuge attracts millions of birds annually, including ducks, cranes and geese, especially during the fall and winter months. From Highway 99 in Gridley, take West Evans Reimer Road to Pennington Road.
Barry R. Kirshner Wildlife Foundation, non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about the care and preservation of wildlife. Home to a variety of non-releasable endangered species including tigers, lions, leopards, cougars and other exotic cats as well as reptiles and exotic birds. Open to the public by appointment. Donations welcome - includes a 1-hour presentation. Located behind Durham Park in Durham (South of Chico), on Laura Lane. Information (530) 899-1700.
Butte County Museums, Historic SightsMuseums throughout Butte County reflect the history and culture of the area. Among them are:
Oroville Chinese Temple and Garden is a reminder of the influence the Chinese culture had in Oroville. Built in 1863 to support the Chinese community of 10,000, three chapels and a main chapel served as a place of worship for Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism. Contains furnishings donated by the Emperor of China, and collection of puppets, costumes and tapestries. The Temple is located at Elma and Broderick Streets in Oroville. Information (530) 538-2496.
The Butte County Historical Society was deeded 3 historical buildings, one of which houses the Society's headquarters.
California Historical Landmarks marked with "*" are landmarks where a state
plaque has been placed. Others are private.
Entertainment, Sports, and Casinos
A little known fact is the Berkeley Digital Seismic Network (BDSN) which operates a network of high dynamic range, broadband seismometers in northern and central California has a station in Butte County, located in Oroville. Data is transmitted to UC Berkeley using continuous telemetry and is analyzed for earthquakes.
The last minor earthquake occurred at 2:13:32 PM (PDT) on Sunday, October 7, 2001.
The magnitude 3.0 event occurred 5 km (3 miles) NW of Paradise, CA.
The hypocentral depth was 21 km (13 miles).
Butte Cemeteries & Memorial Parks
Butte County & Community Links
Selected Web sites with more information about Butte County and local communities.