Who needs a pool? Touring Upper Bidwell’s swimming holes

By Katie Mills

The air is thick and muggy and the sun beats heavily down on your skin. The sun is absorbed into the pavement under your feet then spit back at you from below, but now twice as hot. Your shirt sticks to your back, your forehead is slick and your legs leave wet imprints when you peel them off the leather seats of your car.

Summer days in Chico can be as unbearable as being trapped in a locked sauna, but less than four miles northeast of downtown lies salvation from the city’s concrete inferno in the cool, freshwater swimming holes of Upper Bidwell Park.

Past the Chico Rod and Gun Club and the Bidwell Municipal Golf Course sits Upper Park Road­—a bumpy, winding dirt road about five miles from gate to end that offers magnificent views of Upper Bidwell along the way. But to the south of the road, bordered by the Yahi Trail hiking path, are Big Chico Creek, five public swimming holes and escape from the sweltering heat. Read More…

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Also in this issue…

You walk up the brick-red colored staircase shaped like an upside-down letter Y, through two sets of doors and face a decision. To your left is a live, encased honeycomb with a queen bee busily scurrying amid thousands of worker bees. To right, a gallery of posters, pictures and pottery all relating to bees.

While many believe that the Chico beer culture relies solely on red plastic cups and cheap, foamy kegs, there actually lies a much richer tradition of distinct and original beers brewed right here in our area.

Take a “daycation” and head out 12 miles east of Chico on Highway 32 towards Forest Ranch to check-out LaRocca Winery and Vineyards, one of only two well-known organic vineyards in the northern county.

For 26 years, Philip LaRocca, owner and winemaker from San Francisco, and his family welcomes guests who are looking to wine taste six different 100 percent organic wines and enjoy the natural wildlife scenery at the ranch.

Chico residents have found a new way to float. Twisting and turning its way through lush greenery and a steep, rocky canyon is Butte Creek. About 20 minutes from town, this section of water is slowly becoming locals’ favorite tubing destination.

The run starts off with a drop in elevation in the creek which causes the water to churn into white, frothy pillows of excitement. Tubers find themselves soaked and pumping with adrenaline after only a few minutes on the creek.

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