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Paradise Ridge Communities -

Guide to
Butte County, California

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!

[Map - Butte County, CA]


Butte 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:

    Bangor, Berry Creek, Biggs, Brush Creek, Butte City, Butte Meadows, Centerville. Cherokee, Chico, Clipper Mills, Cohasset, Dayton, De Sabla, Durham, Feather Falls, Forbestown, Forest Ranch, Gridley, Hamilton City, Honcut, Lovelock, Magalia, Nelson, Nord, Oroville (county seat), Palermo, Paradise, Pentz, Pulga, Richvale, Stirling City, Thermalito, and Yankee Hill.

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Information Resources

  • Chamber of Commerce, Visitor Centers
    In Chico, 500 Main Street, (530) 891-5556 or (800) 852-8470
    In Gridley, 14 East Gridley Road, (5300 846-3142
    In Oroville, 1789 Montgomery, (530) 538-2542 or (800) 655-GOLD
    In Paradise, 5550 Skyway, (530) 877-9356

  • Recreation & Park Departments
    In Chico, 545 Vallombrosa, (530) 895-4711
    In Oroville, 1200 Myers, (530) 533-2011
    In Paradise, 6626 Skyway, (530) 872-6393

  • County Library Branches
    In Biggs, 464-A B Street, (530) 868-5724
    In Chico, 1108 Sherman Avenue, (530) 891-2761
    In Durham, 2545 Durham-Dayton Hwy., (530) 343-4094
    In Gridley, 299 Spruce Street, (530) 846-3323
    In Oroville, 1820 Mitchell Street, (530) 528-7641
    In Paradise, 5922 Clark Road, (530) 872-6319

  • California State Auto Association
    In Chico, 2221 Forest Avenue, (530) 891-8601
    In Oroville, 1430 Feather River Boulevard, (530) 533-3931
    In Paradise, 6332 Clark Road, (530) 872-2236

  • Newspapers & Magazines
    Enterprise Record, 400 East Park Avenue, Chico, (530) 891-1234
    Chico Examiner, 337 Main Street, Chico. (530) 343-7718
    Chico News & Review, 353 East 2nd, Chico. (530) 894-2300
    Mercury-Register, 2081 Second, Oroville, (530) 533-3131
    Paradise Post, 5399 Clark Road, Paradise, (530) 877-4413
    Rabbit Creek Journal, Box 309, Clipper Mills, (530) 675-2270

  • Radio & Television
    Stations serving Butte County are listed here.

  • County Agencies & Services
    Butte Humane Society - Chico
    Northwest SPCA - Oroville
    Butte Environmental Council
    Butte County Board of Education
    Butte County Association of Governments
    ... an association responsibile for the preparation of all federal and state transportation plans and programs that go to secure transportation funding for highways, local streets and roads, transit, aviation, rail and bikeway/pedestrian facilities. Schedule of bus service serving Chico, Paradise, Oroville, Biggs, and Gridley.

Butte County QuickFacts - from the US Census Bureau. Click Here.

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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.

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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 for visiting.

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:

    Kelly Ridge Recreation Area - Visitor center and boat ramp.
    Bidwell Canyon Recreation Area - Campgrounds and marina.
    Loafer Creek Recreation Area - Campground, picnic area, boat ramp.
    Potter Ravine Recreation Area
    Spillway Marina Recreation Area - Boat launch area.
    Foreman Creek Recreation Area - Boat-in campground, boat ramp.
    Bloomer Primitive Recreation Area - Boat-in campgrounds.
    Goat Ranch Recreation Area - Campground, boat ramp.
    Sycamore Creek Recreation Area
    Craig Saddle Recreation Area - Campground, boat-in campground.
    Thermalito Forebay - Boat ramp, beautiful park-like picnic area.
    Lime Saddle Recreation Area - Picnic area, campground, and boat ramp/marina.

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.

Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park, located 5 miles west of Chico on West Sacramento Avenue. A day-use park; 185 acres.

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.

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Butte County Museums, Historic Sights

Museums throughout Butte County reflect the history and culture of the area. Among them are:
  • Butte County Pioneer Memorial Museum, 2332 Montgomery Street, in Oroville, (530) 538-2529. The museum was built in 1932 by the Native Sons & Daughters of the Golden West as a replica of a 49'er cabin, since enlarged to hold its many historic treasures, including furnishings from the Lott Home, a hat collection, dolls, clothing, indian artifacts, Chinese exhibits, and more. No admission fee; donations appreciated. Open Sundays 1-4 pm. Tour information (530) 538-2497.
  • Military Museum, 4514 Pacific Heights Road (Surplus City), in Oroville. Info (530) 534-9956. The owners have been collecting military history, art, and memorabilia for over 30 years. Collection includes machine guns, rocket launcher, Dutch Army motorcycle, military carts and wagons, posters, and much more.
  • Cherokee Pioneer Musuem, in Cherokee on Table Mountain. Info (530) 533-1849. This museum displays old gold mining artifacts and other memorabilia from the early pioneer days. Include in your tour of this museum a visit to Cherokee Pioneer Schoolhouse, and Cemetery.
  • Yuba Feather Historical Museum, in Forbestown southeast of Oroville. Info (530) 675-2377. Exhibits include pioneer snowshoes, mining artifacts, antique clothing and furniture, plus the outdoor mining displays and replicas of a miner's cabin, general store, and an old schoolhouse. Open 12-4 pm during the summer. Admission is free; donations appreciated.
  • Chico Museum, 141 Salem Street, in Chico. Info (530) 891-4336. The Chico Museum offers permanent and rotating exhibits. Some permanent displays include artifacts from Chico's Chinese Temple, historic photos of the Chico area, 19th century musical instruments. Various lectures, seminars, and slide shows are offered. Open Wednesday-Sunday from 12-4 pm. Admission is free.
  • Coleman Memorial Community Museum, 13544 Centerville Road, in Centerville (Butte Creek Canyon), (530) 342-9124. Small private museum housing local Indian artifacts, gold mining equipment and tools, and relics of the Civil War era. Open 1-4 pm weekends. Admission is free. Visit the Colman Museum website.
  • Gold Nugget Museum, 502 Pearson Road in Paradise. Info (530) 872-8722. For more information look here!. Open Wednesday-Sunday from 12-4 pm. Admission is free.
  • Museum of Anthropology, Langton Hall 301, CSU Chico. Info (530) 898-5397. Open Monday-Friday from 11 am to 3 pm. Guided tours by reservation. Admission is free.
  • Forbestown Museum, (530) 675-1025.
  • Stirling City Museum, 16993 Skyway, (530) 873-1598. For information, please click here.

Historic buildings:

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.

    The Ehmann Home is located in Oroville at 1480 Lincoln Street. It was built in 1911 by Freda Ehmann and her son Edwin. Mrs. Ehmann founded the California ripe olive industry. Her son served as mayor of Oroville from 1919 to 1923. The home was deeded to the BCHS in 1981 and became the Society's headquarters which includes a history museum featuring displays on Erle Stanley Gardner, Ishi, Robin Hood, and the Ehmann Olive Company.
    The community of Bangor in the mid 1800's boasted four lively saloons, three blacksmith shops, a Wells Fargo freight and banking office with stage connections from Oroville to Marysville. In 1882 a church was built. The church has been refurbished and is available for weddings and other activities.
    Oregon City was one of Butte County's earliest mining camps. The school was established in 1885. The school houses a small museum of local history and is available for tours by appointment.

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Historical Landmarks

California Historical Landmarks marked with "*" are landmarks where a state plaque has been placed. Others are private.

  • Hooker Oak, Manzanita & Hooker Oak Avenue, 4 m. NE Chico. SHL 313
    Named in 1887 by Anne Bidwell after English botanist Sir Joseph Hooker. It fell in 1977 and was estimated to be over 1000 years old, about 100 feet tall and 29 feet in circumference.
  • Suspension Bridge, Bidwell Canyon Marina, Oroville. CHL 314
    The Bidwell Bar Bridge was California's first suspension bridge. It was transported here from New York via Cape Horn in 1853 and completed in 1856. Site is now covered by Lake Oroville.
  • Rancho Chico, Bidwell Mansion State Historical Park, Chico. CHL 329*
    The 26,000 acre Rancho Chico was purchased by John Bidwell in 1849. In 1865 he began construction of the mansion nearby.
  • Bidwell's Bar, Bidwell Canyon Road, Oroville. CHL 330
    From 1853 to 1856 Bidwell's Bar served as the second county seat of Butte County.
  • Chinese Temple, 1500 Broderick Street, Oroville. CHL 770*
    Dedicated in 1863, this building served as a temple of worship for the nearly 10,000 Chinese living in the area. Build by them from funds provided by the Emperor and Empress of China. In 1935 it was deeded to City of Oroville by the Chinese area residents.
  • Dogtown Nugget, Old Skyway in Magalia, Paradise. CHL 771
    Magalia (Dogtown) was the center of some of the richest mining activity in the county. The famous 54 pound Dogtown Gold Nugget was discovered here nearby in the Feather River Canyon.
  • Last Yahi Indian - Ishi, Oroville-Quincy Hwy & SR 162. CHL 809*
    The Yahi Indians roamed the foothills for thousands of years. After the death of Yahi by white settlers, disease and hunger, only a few Yahi remained after the turn of the century. The last known Yahi, Ishi was discovered at this site in 1911.
  • Oregon City, off Cherokee Road on Derick Road, Cherokee. CHL 807*
    A party of Oregonians, led by Peter H. Burnett, arrived here in 1848. Two year after establishing Oregon City, Peter Burnett became the first Civil Governor of California. As a busy gold mining and supply town, it is now virtually gone.
  • Forestry Station & Nursery, Cedar Grove & East Eighth Street, Chico. CHL 840*
    The State Board of Foresty in 1888 established an experimental foresty station and nursery. Exotic and native trees were tested and produced for scientific and conservation purposes. It was one of two such stations in the nation.

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Entertainment, Sports, and Casinos

Special Events

  • Silver Dollar Fair, Chico. In May. Information (530) 895-4666
  • Butte County Fair, Gridley. In August. Information (530) 846-3626
  • Chico Air Show & Antique Fly-in, Chico. In September. Information (530) 894-3218
  • Country Harvest Celebration, Gridley. In October. Information (530) 846-3142
Movie Theaters

  • Cinemark, 801 East Avenue, Chico, (530) 879-9612
  • El Rey Theater, 230 West 2nd Street, Chico, (530) 342-2727
  • Feather River Cinemas, 2690 Feather River Blvd., Oroville, (530) 534-1885
  • Pageant Theater, 351 East 6th Street, Chico, (530) 343-0663
  • Paradise Cinema 7, 6701 Clark Road, Paradise, (530) 872-7800

[Cards] Gaming Casinos

  • Feather Falls Casino - in Oroville at #1 Alverda Drive. Take Hwy 70 to Ophir Road, then 3 miles east. Open 24/7. Special tournament and top entertainment events. Senior Days Monday, Tuesday. and Wednesday. Information (530) 533-3885.
  • Gold Country Casino - in Oroville at #5 Tyme Way. From Hwy 70 take Oro Dam Boulevard to Olive Highway. Open 24/7. Live music Wednesday nights, special nights for ladies, gentlement, and seniors. Information (530) 538-4560 or 800-334-9400.
Golf Courses

  • Bidwell Park Golf Course, Bidwell Park, Chico, (530) 891-8417
  • Butte Creek Country Club [Private], 175 Estates Drive, Chico, (530) 343-7979
  • Canyon Oaks Country Club [Private], 999 Yosemite Drive, Chico, (530) 343-2582
  • Dingerville USA, 5813 Pacific Heights Road, Oroville, (530) 533-9343
  • Kelly Ridge Golf Course, 5131 Royal Oaks Drive, Oroville (530) 589-0777
  • Lava Creek Golf Course, 5325 Clark Road, Paradise (530) 872-4653
  • Paradise Pines Golf Course, South Park Drive, Magalia, (530) 873-1111
  • Sunset Hills, Esplanade & Garner Lane, Chico, (530) 342-4600
  • Table Mountain Golf Course, 2700 Oro Dam Blvd., Oroville, (530) 533-3922
  • Tuscan Ridge, Lower Skyway, Chico, (530) 343-3862

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Fun Facts

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

  • Bangor Cemetery, 1/2 mile sw on La Porte Road/Oroville-Bangor Road, (530)
  • Cana-Pine Creek Cemetery, off Cana Hwy & Hwy 99, North Chico/Nord area
  • Centerville Cemetery, Centerville Road (Butte Creek Canyon), Centerville, (530)
  • Cherokee Cemetery, Cherokee Road off Hwy 70, Cherokee
  • Chico Cemetery, 881 Mangrove Avenue, Chico, (530) 345-7234
  • Clear Creek Cemetery, Clear Creek Road off Clark Road, Paradise, (530)
  • Cohasset Cemetery, Harvey Road, Cohasset
  • Coutolenc Cemetery, Hupp-Coutolenc Road off Coutolenc, Magalia, (530) 877-1734
  • Durham Cemetery, 1730 Oro-Chico Highway, Durham
  • Forbestown Cemetery, Old Forbestown Road, Old Forbestown
  • Forest Ranch Cemetery, Hwy 32 & Conestoga Way, Forest Ranch
  • Glen Oaks Memorial Park, 11115 Midway at Hagan Lane, Chico, (530) 343-3002
  • Gridley-Biggs Cemetery, 2023 Highway 99, Gridley, (530) 846-2537
  • Honcut Cemetery, east of Dunstone Road on La Porte Road, Honcut/Loma Rica
  • Indian Cemetery, Indian Cemetery Road & Harrison Springs Road, Forbestown
  • Inskip Pioneer Cemetery, 70-B Line off Powellton Road, (530) 877-1734
  • Jewish Cemetery, South Feather River Blvd. at Mitchell, Oroville
  • Kimshew Cemetery District, P.O. Box 97, Magalia, (530) 877-1734
    For cemeteries in Magalia, Coutolenc, Nimshew, Lovelock, Stirling City, and Inskip.
  • Lovelock-Gangloff Cemetery, Alonzo Court off Lovelock Road, (530) 877-1734
  • Magalia Cemetery, Cemetery Road off Skyway, Old Magalia, (530) 877-1734
  • Mechoopda Indian Cemetery, West Sacramento Avenue, Chico, (530) 899-8922
  • Memorial Park Cemetery, 5646 Lincoln Blvd at Monte Vista, Oroville, (530) 533-2920
  • Missouri Hill Cemetery, on Roney land east of Hwy 99, 1/2 mile north
    of Broyles Road. North Chico/Nord area
  • Nicholl Cemetery, Helltown Road off Centerville Road, Centerville
  • Nimshew Cemetery, off Nimshew Road, Magalia, (530) 877-1734
  • Oak Grove Cemetery, Grand Oak Road off Hurlton Swedes Flat Road, south of
    Forbestown Road, Bangor/Hurleton area
  • Oroville Cemetery, South Feather River Blvd. at Cal Oak Road, Oroville
  • Oroville Cemetery District, 5646 Lincoln Blvd., Oroville, (530) 533-2920
  • Paradise Cemetery District, 980 Elliot Road, Paradise, (530) 877-4493
  • Pine Creek Cemetery, Broyles Road west of Hwy 99 near AAA Lane, North Chico/Nord area
  • Skyway Memorial Park, 13686 Skyway, Old Magalia,(530) 876-8000
  • Stirling City Cemetery, end of Mica Road, Stirling City, (530) 877-1734
  • Thompson Flat Pioneer Cemetery, Cherokee Road, Oroville
  • Toadtown Cemetery, off Skyway, Toadtown area, (530) 877-1734
  • Upham Cemetery, 1 mile sw of Rackerby, Rackerby, (530)

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Butte County & Community Links

Selected Web sites with more information about Butte County and local communities.

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