I had the pleasure of spending most of my younger years in Northern California, specifically in Butte County. The county only has a population of 220,000 people as of 2010 with many of those in just a few cities that I would hesitate to call anything more than towns. The county is home to hippies and rednecks alike and is the home of the Sierra Nevada Brewery. More than any of these things though it is known for its outstanding beauty. Much of Butte County remains untamed wilderness and picturesque scenery.
One of the largest city parks in the United States, Bidwell Park is 11 miles long and more than 3,600 acres in total. It’s located in Chico, California; a university town that is the heart of Butte County. The park has what you would think of when you think of parks in a city with manicured grass and a playground for kids but it also has dirt paths, dangerous swimming holes, and over 40 miles of trails.
Thursday Night Market
Every Thursday during summer downtown Chico closes off its streets for the Thursday Night Market, a farmer’s market that is so much more than a farmer’s market. They have live entertainment, local artists, and of course delicious food. Of course, none of what I’ve said really does it any justice. The market is a celebration of the community in Butte County. 8 Years on I still miss going to them.
Lake Oroville may sound familiar to you. It caught the attention of the world with some shocking photos of what the drought in California did to the lake. You probably remember the image, it was quite shocking. Thankfully things are looking up for Lake Oroville which is a great place for fishing, swimming, or just spending a day out on the lake. It has 167 miles of shoreline which is dotted with camping spots. The water is all held in place by Oroville Dam, the tallest dam in the United States.
Bald Rock Dome
If you’re looking for a fantastic day out with amazing views and don’t mind a hike check out Bald Rock. Out here there are no park rangers, and no fences telling you to stay away from the edges, and it is a long way down. The area is also home to some dangerous wildlife so do keep an eye out. Photos don’t do this gorgeous location justice, take a picnic with you and your binoculars. You won’t regret it.
National Yo-Yo Museum
You may be thinking to yourself that one of these things is clearly not like the others, and you’d be right. The National Yo-Yo Museum is one of a kind and one of those wonderful American oddities you need to see. The highlight is a 256-pound wooden yo-yo that actually works! You just need a crane to use it.
Feather Falls was previously thought to be in the top 10 tallest waterfalls in the United States. Unfortunately, this has very recently been proven to be false, but that doesn’t take away from it any. Getting to Feather Falls is a bit of a hike but so worth it. There is an observation point which serves as the “end of the trail” for getting a good look at the falls. But if you want to you can actually hike all the way up to the top. If you don’t feel like a long hike the waterfall can be seen in a specific spot on Lake Oroville. But if you do that you’ll miss the invasion of ladybugs. Millions of ladybugs can be found near the waterfall as it is a favorite winter migration stop.
Take a tour through Lavender Ranch. It is exactly what it says in the name. Located in Biggs, California; the lavender growers invite people to visit their ranch during the May and June while their fields are in bloom. They also have a line of products which you can buy while you’re there. I’d never heard of it until I started researching this article, but next time I’m back in California in May or June you can be sure I’ll make the trip out there.
I’m sure you’re not at all surprised to see I’m ending this article with another beautiful natural wonder. In the winter and spring Table Mountain is home to dozens of seasonal waterfalls but what Table Mountain is really known for is the explosion of wildflowers that takes place at the top. This is a great place to go on an adventure for a few hours and a local favorite for photos.
Thank you to everyone whose photos were used in this article.