9 Moderate Hikes in Butte County
2488 Cherokee Rd
Hikers looking to push themselves a little more will find a variety of moderate Northern California hiking trails in Butte County. While you’ll still find shorter hikes among the moderate hikes list, overall, the mileage starts increasing, the elevation changes become more pronounced, and you’ll start working up more of a sweat on these.
Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve
3521 14 Mile House Rd
Forest Ranch, CA
With nearly 4,00 acres of diverse habitat and 4.5 miles of Big Chico Creek, the BCCER offers a variety of trails to explore. From the main trailhead at the gated entrance on 14 Mile House Road, it’s a short but steep half-mile walk to the Reserve headquarters where you can find two short but scenic loop options - the nature trail loop (0.7 miles) or the round trip through Loop Meadows (1.5 miles). Hikers that want to go further can find miles and miles of trails and gated dirt roads to explore. Dogs not allowed.
Located on the North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve, Phantom Falls is a seasonal waterfall that comes to life during the rainy season. The 4.2 mile out-and-back hike is a cross-country trail that's easy to get lost on, so we recommend downloading the free Avenza Maps app and the Phantom Falls map before your hike so that you can follow the GPS coordinates in real-time on your hike. Remember to do your part in keeping this gem clean by staying on the established trails and following Leave No Trace principles. Dogs allowed on leash.
Forks of Butte Creek Recreation Area
At the Forks of Butte Creek Recreation Area, enjoy the 2.4 mile out-and-back Butte Creek Trail, which offers frequent access to the water's edge. You can also explore the Indian Springs Trail, which plunges nearly 900 feet in just 1.5 miles. Visitors in the autumn are treated to beautiful fall colors while springtime hikers may see a variety of wildflowers. Dogs allowed.
South Rim Trail
Chico, California, United States
Hugging the south-east border of Upper Bidwell Park, the South Rim Trail offers up big views of Big Chico Creek Canyon’s—you guessed it—southern rim. The 3.4 mile out-and-back rewards with an expansive vista at the top before making the return trip downhill. Dogs allowed on leash.
Bidwell Canyon Trail
Oroville East, California, United States
The Bidwell Canyon Trail is a 9 mile out-and-back trail that features great views of Lake Oroville. Expect stretches of gradual but extended inclines and declines throughout your trek, making for a moderately strenuous experience. The views at Kelly Ridge Point are worth it, though—you’ll see the back side of Oroville Dam, the Bidwell Bar Suspension Bridge and can even dip your toes in the water (when levels are high) before returning. Dogs not allowed.
Annie Bidwell Trail
Annie Bidwell Trail
The 8.8 mile out-and-back Annie Bidwell Trail in Chico's Upper Bidwell Park starts off with short, punchy climbs up to the rim of the canyon, and follows with a steep, rocky downhill. At the bottom, you’ll enjoy a nice meadow and several swimming opportunities, followed by more climbing and drops, making it a moderate-to-challenging trail. Your best experience will be in the spring during wildflower season and in the fall during the color changes. Dogs allowed on leash.
Butte County, CA
In the Humboldt Peak area, you'll find two moderate trails to explore. The 3.2 mile out-and-back Humboldt Peak hike offers a short high-country hike to 7,087-foot peak, almost the highest point in the county. Hiking the 6.8 mile point-to-point Humboldt Peak to Cold Springs trek offers great views and a 1,000-foot total elevation gain. Dogs allowed on leash.
Dan Beebe Trail
Oroville, California, United States
The Dan Beebe Trail takes you on a scenic journey past Oroville Dam down to the Lakeland Trailhead near Downtown Oroville. The 11.9 mile point-to-point equestrian-accessible trail features lake and river views, beautiful spring greenery, and nice views from the top of Sycamore Hill. Different access points are available to shorten the hike to 5- or 7-mile adventures. Dogs not allowed.
Lime Saddle Memorial Park Trail
Located on the northwestern side of Lake Oroville, the 3.8 mile out-and-back Lime Saddle Memorial Park Trail wraps around the Lime Saddle Campground area and features lake views. Enjoy acres of rolling hills dotted with trees and views of the marinas (and in the Spring, delight in the wildflowers that will be in bloom) in a less-populated hiking area. Dogs allowed on leash.