Bidwell Park is “divided” by Manzanita Avenue. The area west of Manzanita Avenue is referred to as Lower Park and the area to the east is referred to as Upper Park. The noticeable difference between Upper and Lower Park is the terrain. Upper Park is located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It has steep terrain and contains many rock formations, including the unique Chico Formation sandstone and Lovejoy Basalt rocks. Lower Park is flat and level with a thick canopy of trees which provide ample shade for visitor.
Vehicle traffic through Lower Park is open on Peterson Memorial Way on the north side of Big Chico Creek and on South Park Drive east of the Chico Creek Nature Center (access via East 8th Street).
Upper Bidwell Park is located in a majestic canyon with spectacular vistas. With Big Chico Creek flowing through and a diverse selection of flora, fauna and geology, Upper Park is a wonderful place to spend the afternoon. With the exception of the pedestrian-only Yahi Trail, all trails (approximately 70 miles worth) are open to hikers, equestrians and bicyclists. During times of wet weather, trails may be closed to bikes and horses. For a safe visit, bicyclists of all ages must wearhelmets when riding off pavement.
Swimming in Upper Park, although fun and relaxing, has the potential to be hazardous. Don’t be a victim. For your safety and the safety of others, stay in areas where there is no white water and swim with friends.
Horseshoe Lake, at the base of Upper Park, is the perfect place to begin your hike or bike trip into the foothills. Follow Upper Park Road or one of the many park trails for a good workout and spectacular views. Although there is no swimming allowed in Horseshoe Lake, it is the perfect place for a family outing. Bring a picnic and view the magnificent spring flowers. Kids can try their hand at fishing
in the lake from the new, handicap-accessible pier.
The Chico Community Observatory offers public telescopes for star-gazing.
Five Mile Recreation Area offers visitors picnic tables, barbecues and plenty of open space, making it a popular spot for large group gatherings.
Hooker Oak Recreation Area is a great place for an all-American game of baseball. It is operated by the Chico Area Recreation and Park District and is utilized by several local softball and baseball leagues. Two children’s playgrounds and plenty of open space make Hooker Oak a terrific place to spend the day.
Horseshoe Lake is a good spot for staring a hike as well as spring wildflower viewing.
Bidwell Park Municipal Golf Course is an 18-hole course with a par of 72/73. The tree-lined course offers a beautiful view and great golfing for any skill level. For a tee time contact the course at
The area west of Manzanita Avenue is referred to as Lower Park.
vehicle traffic through Lower Park is open on Peterson Memorial Way on the north side of Big Chico Creek and on South Park Drive east of the Chico Creek Nature Center (access via East 8th Street).
One-Mile Recreation Area is located within Lower Park, just a few blocks from downtown Chico and easily accessible from East 4th Street. Enjoy swimming at Sycamore Pool, barbecues, softball, horseshoe pits and more. For those interested in swimming, the Sycamore Pool, located at the One-Mile Recreation Area, is an uncommon swimming experience, being a concrete pool built around Big Chico Creek. Lifeguards are on duty from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend each year at the pool. When swimming in Big Chico Creek, be sure to use caution. Water which may appear to be shallow and/or slow moving can actually be swift and powerful. Don’t be a victim! Stay in areas where there is no white water. When possible, swim with friends. Also, as with all other activities, bring enough drinking water to stay hydrated.
Caper Acres: Caper Acres is a fantasy playground area for children 12 and younger. Children, accompanied by an adult, can visit Humpty Dumpty at the sandbox, swing to their heart’s content, climb into a “treehouse” and slip down its slides, and much more! A new toddler-oriented play area, the “Nico Project”, was constructed in Spring 2007. Caper Acres is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. until sunset, and is closed on Mondays for maintenance.
Cedar Grove: Cedar Grove is located off of East 8th Street, west of Forest Avenue next to the Chico Creek Nature Center. Shakespeare in the Park performances are featured in the area as well as other educational and cultural events. The Grove offers picnic tables and barbecues that are easily accessible. The World of Trees Independence Trail meanders around one of the first forest experimentation stations in the United States.
The Chico Park Department typically holds volunteer trail maintenance projects throughout the year. The Park Department has also instituted an Adopt-A-Trail program. Individuals or groups interested in volunteering or adopting a trail can call the Park Department at (530) 896-7800.