The Orion

Chico offers array of options for outdoor recreation enthusiasts

Nick Bragg

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Upper Bidwell Park offers many hiking and biking trails, swimming holes and views in its 3,670 acres of recreational space. Photo credit: Nick Bragg

With more than 3,670 acres of recreational space in just Bidwell Park alone, students who are interested in taking advantage of the outdoor activities that Chico has to offer have no shortage of choices.

Students simply do not know the capacity of outdoor options that Chico offers, said Chris Doi, a junior exercise physiology major.

“I think it’s a little combination of ignorance and just not knowing,” Doi said. “I think everyone should definitely appreciate and take advantage of the opportunities Chico provides.”

Out of the long list of places to start an outdoor adventure in Chico, here are three basic places for students to begin their quest:

  • Bidwell Park
  • The Flumes
  • Honey Run

Bidwell Park is broken down into two main areas: Lower Park, and Upper Park. Lower Park is filled with recreational activities, from big fields of grass to play frisbee on to a 170-meter long cemented pool. It starts at the corner of Vallombrosa and Mangrove avenues in downtown Chico and ends by Five Mile Recreational Area.

Upper Park consists of longer and more demanding trails, but beginners should not be deterred. During the week, students can drive up as far as the Bidwell Golf Course. But on Friday and Saturday, the gate is open so cars can drive up as far as Bear Hole, which is one of the main swimming holes in Upper Park.

Some of the popular places in upper park include:

  • Monkey Face rock
  • Bear Hole
  • Salmon Hole

Located just outside of Chico in Paradise, the Flumes get students just far enough away from Chico to let go of the stress of school and homework and become submissive to nature.

“It’s somewhere not too far but just far enough from downtown that you can go there on a Saturday and just hang with friends and relax,” Doi said.

Getting to the Flumes can be tricky for some. Going with an experienced friend would be the best way to get there safely, Doi said.

If students are feeling adventurous, then they can take the Skyway out of Chico until they hit Pentz Road. Next is a hike along narrow bridges with beautiful views. Once at the Flumes, students can gaze at the gorgeous swimming holes.

“There’s several watering holes where you can swim and cliffs up to about 25 feet where you can jump off,” Doi said.

Additionally, another Chico spot that attracts many is the Honey Run Covered Bridge. The bridge is easily accessible by car, but students who are feeling bold can bike up Honey Run Road. Once up there, students can set up a picnic, play catch or go for a dip in Butte Creek. They have tables with benches and areas to dispose of trash.

Rex Stromness, a Chico State kinesiology professor, has been riding his bike up Honey Run Road for the past 20 years.

“The ride is a gradual uphill climb, but it gets much steeper after the bridge, very doable,” Stromness said. “There is traffic you need to be mindful of as well.”

The bridge is on private property, and the owners ask for a $3 donation for the maintenance and upkeep of the area, so cleanliness is appreciated.

With the weather getting warmer, students have the option to have a more active spring by taking advantage of the beautiful areas of Chico. Grab some friends, water and snacks and begin the voyage today.

Nick Bragg can be reached at [email protected] or @Nick981 on Twitter.

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Chico offers array of options for outdoor recreation enthusiasts