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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