Discovering Northern California
Butte County California

Explore Butte County
Land of Natural Wealth and Beauty

Come to Butte County for a visit and discover the natural wonders of Feather River Canyon and Table Mountain; the engineering feat of Oroville Dam; and the charming small-town communities Butte is known for.

For instance, did you know that Ishi - considered to be the last of his tribe -  made himself known to Western civilization near Oroville California?

Or that the Sierra Nevada microbrewery started in and still has its headquarters in Chico California?

And that the commercial production of rice in California started in 1912 in Richvale, an unincorporated Butte County town? If you've ever purchased Lundberg Rice, then you've tasted the rice of Richvale!

But the county of Butte is also known for its motto, "Land of Natural Wealth and Beauty." Given that, you could expect to find beautiful scenery, geological features, and maybe even a scenic wonder or two in Butte. If that's what you expect, then you won't be disappointed.

The Natural Wonders of Butte County

Table Mountain by Wolf RosenbergTable Mountain by Wolf Rosenberg

The county of Butte is about 60 miles north of the state capitol, Sacramento. 

It's also where the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges meet.

At approximately the confluence of the two mountain ranges, sits Feather River Canyon with its cascading waterfalls, forested hillsides, and boulder-encrusted riverbed.

The Feather River Canyon drive along Highway 70 between Oroville in County Butte and Quincy in Plumas County is one of the most scenic drives in the state.

An especially nice time to do this drive is in the Fall when the colors are changing and there's a bit of crisp in the air.

One of our favorites, Table Mountain is actually two table-top shaped mountains right next to each other; both are dotted with unique lava formations, oak forests, streams, waterfalls, and grazing cattle.

South Table Mountain is mostly privately owned and not generally accessible to the public.

North Table Mountain is mostly private as well, but it does include a wildlife area where many people make the pilgrimage every year to hike the table top, picnic along a stream, view the wildflowers, and fly kites among the vernal pools.

One of the tallest falls in the United States is in the county of Butte. Feather Falls is a popular hiking destination in the Butte portion of the Plumas National Forest. It's also a favorite resting area for migrating ladybugs during the Winter months - hundreds of thousands of them.

The Sacramento River travels through the county on its way to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and ultimately, San Francisco Bay. Throughout the history of mankind in the area, the Sacramento has served as a source of water, food, transportation, and recreation year-round.

Then there are the mountains themselves. The towns of Chico and Oroville are nestled right up against the foothills of the two mountain ranges, while Paradise, Magalia, Forest Ranch, and other little towns and villages get their share of Winter snow for being at the higher elevations.

National protected areas include Butte Sink National Wildlife Refuge, Lassen National Forest, Plumas National Forest, and the Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge.

The Human Wonders of Butte County

Butte County Oroville Dam by Wolf RosenbergButte County Oroville Dam by Wolf Rosenberg

But Butte is also know for its human contributions and accomplishments.

Oroville Dam, an earth-filled embankment dam built on the Feather River in the 1960s as part of the California State Water Project, is the tallest dam in the United States.

In addition to flood control and water storage, the dam provides hydroelectric power from its built-in pump-generating plant, and a Fish Barrier Dam and Fish Hatchery to compensate for the blockage of migratory salmon, while Lake Oroville provides recreational and water sports opportunities like fishing, boating, jet skiing, and houseboating.

John and Annie Bidwell - civic leaders, ranchers, philanthropists, and California pioneers - played a huge role in the development of Butte. Their most treasured legacy for locals is Bidwell Park, located along Big Chico Creek and donated to the City of Chico by the Bidwells on the condition that it be used exclusively as a public park.

Additional acreage was added over the years so that Bidwell Park is now one of the largest municipal parks in the United States.

John and Annie's home in downtown Chico, Bidwell Mansion - a beautiful three-story, 26 room Victorian - is now a California State Historic Park, standing as a museum and a memorial to a remarkable couple.

To learn more about the county of Butte, please visit:

And stay tuned for more to come soon:

  • Butte County Attractions
    People come from far and wide...
  • Butte County Parks and Preserves
    We're on the Pacific Flyway, you know
  • Oroville
    County Seat and home to the Oroville Salmon Festival
  • Paradise
    Paradise or Pair o' Dice?
  • Gridley
    Gateway to Gray Lodge Wildlife Area

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