Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Butte County?
Butte County is located in the Shasta Cascade region of Northern California. It is 1.25 hours southeast from the Redding airport, 1.5 hours north from Sacramento International Airport, and 3.5 hours northeast from San Francisco International Airport. It is accessible via Highways 99 and 70 from north to south and Highway 32 from the east and west.
How big is Butte County?
Butte County covers 1,636 square miles of land. The county’s estimated population as of 2019 was just over 219,000 people, with Chico the most populous city with 94,529 residents.
How can I travel to Butte County?
Hop in the car and enjoy a road trip! Highway 99, Highway 70, and Highway 32 all pass through Butte County and can get you to the major cities and towns. If you’re looking to save some time on the road, you can fly into Sacramento (SMF) or Redding Municipal Airport and enjoy a shorter drive with a rental.
How do you pronounce "Butte"?
You pronounce it the same way as the first syllable in “beautiful” (“BUTTEiful”).
What cities are in Butte County?
Butte County houses four cities—Chico, Oroville, Gridley, and Biggs—as well as the town of Paradise.
It also has 17 census-designated places: Bangor, Berry Creek, Butte Creek Canyon, Butte Meadows, Butte Valley, Cherokee, Clipper Mills, Cohasset, Concow, Durham, Forbestown, Forest Ranch, Honcut, Kelly Ridge, Magalia, Nord, Oroville East, Palermo, Rackerby, Richvale, Robinson Mill, South Oroville, Stirling City, Thermalito, and Yankee Hill.
The 11 unincorporated communities in the county are Centerville, Cresta, DeSabla, Dodge Place, Helltown, Inskip, Irish Town, Lomo, Lovelock, Mineral Slide, and Powerllton.
Will anything fun be happening while I’m visiting?
There’s always fun events happening in Butte County! Check out our events calendar to see what’s hot while you’re in town.
What is there to do in Chico CA?
Chico is the urban center of Butte County. It's home to expansive and beautiful Bidwell Park, with woodland trails, some of the best urban swimming holes in the country, a golf course, an observatory, and more. Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park is the former home of local pioneers John and Annie Bidwell. There are a variety of arts and cultural activities throughout the city, including museums, live performance spaces, glass blowing studios, and art galleries. The Downtown Chico area is home to the dining and shopping hub, where you’ll find dozens of local eateries and unique stores to explore. With the Sacramento River bordering its western edge, you can also enjoy tubing, kayaking, and beachside adventures. And of course, no visit is complete without a trip to Sierra Nevada Brewery and the other local breweries making names for themselves. For more information about Chico businesses and attractions, check out the City of Chico website and the Chico Chamber of Commerce website.
What is there to do in Oroville CA?
Oroville is the gateway to a variety of outdoor adventures. At the center of the city is Lake Oroville, where you’ll find plenty of space for water skiing, house boating, kayaking, and fishing year-round (as well as some unique-to-Lake Oroville gems like floating campgrounds). Phantom Falls on Table Mountain is a seasonal waterfall that flows in the winter and spring, while the year-round Feather Falls is one of the prettiest waterfalls in the state. The nearby Feather River—just minutes from Downtown Oroville—provides great kayaking and fishing opportunities, with a great view of the salmon and trout migrations at the nearby Feather River Fish Hatchery. Downtown Oroville is also home to fun shops and restaurants as well as history-focused museums, and you can also enjoy a variety of wineries throughout the city. For more information about Oroville businesses and attractions, check out the City of Oroville website and the Oroville Chamber of Commerce website.
What is there to do in Paradise CA?
Paradise and the Paradise Ridge communities, including Magalia, Concow, Yankee Hill, and others, offer higher-elevation adventures through pine tree forests. Throughout the area, you’ll find beautiful natural landscapes, including Bille Park in Paradise and Paradise Lake in Magalia, annual events and museums celebrating the region’s Gold Rush past, and antique shops, boutiques, and other local businesses. For more information about Paradise Ridge businesses and attractions, check out the Town of Paradise website and the Paradise Ridge Chamber of Commerce website.
What is there to do in Gridley and Biggs CA?
Gridley, the gateway to Butte County on Highway 99, offers visitors a quaint downtown area featuring historic buildings, locally run shops, and a hyper-local history museum showcasing the deep community roots. It’s also home to the county fairgrounds, which bustles with energy every August during the annual Butte County Fair. In fall and winter, the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area is home to thousands of migratory birds, making it a perfect spot for birders and hunters. Neighboring Biggs is a small farming community surrounded by rice fields and orchards and offers a quaint, quiet life for its residents, with the main drive B Street, lined with historic buildings, busiest during the Biggs annual 4th of July celebration. For more information about Gridley and Biggs businesses and attractions, check out the City of Gridley website, City of Biggs website, and the Gridley Area Chamber of Commerce website.
What else is there to do in the rest of Butte County?
Outside of the main cities, you’ll find even more adventures in Butte County’s census designated places and unincorporated communities. Enjoy a laid-back day of wine tasting at one of the region’s two wine districts—either at the Durham Wine District, just south of Chico, or the Bangor Wine & Spirits Region, just south of Oroville. In the high country—the area north of Paradise/northeast of Chico, along Highway 32—communities including Butte Meadows and Jonesville, turn into snow-covered wonderlands during winter and early fall. There, you can enjoy snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and even backcountry yurting. And throughout the county, you can discover beautiful hidden gems, if you’re just willing to explore, such as miles of rice fields in Richvale, one of the prettiest parks in the county at Clotilde Merlo Park in Stirling City, miles of hiking and biking trails, lakes and rivers, and more.
What are the best places to eat in Butte County?
Whether you find yourself in Chico, Oroville, Paradise, Gridley, or Biggs, you’ll find plenty of convenient and affordable places to eat in Butte County. From grab-and-go grub, perfect for enjoying while on the trails, to leisurely farm-to-table experiences, there’s a restaurant (or diner or pub or eatery or…) for you! Check out the best of our local and unique Butte County restaurants on our dining page.
What’s the weather like in Butte County?
Even with cities and towns in the Sacramento Valley, Sierra Nevada foothills, and Lassen and Plumas National Forests, you’ll find that the weather in Butte County is sunny and dry most of the time, perfect for having fun year-round! While in Butte County, you’ll enjoy hot, dry summers, warm Autumns, mild winters, and cool springs. In the valley, Chico and Oroville tend to be a little hotter than up-in-the-foothills Paradise, while you can even enjoy some fun wintertime snow-filled activities up in the higher elevations at Butte Meadows and Jonesville.
What are the best places to stay in Butte County?
Butte County’s accommodations range from your favorite hotel brands to affordable independent motels to RV parks (with more coming every year!). With nearly 2,000 rooms to choose from, you can find your next night’s sleep or event space in Butte County on our Stay page.
What are other fun facts about Butte County?
Butte County has eight ghost towns: Bidwell’s Bar, Butte Creek, Center Ville, Coutolenc, Diamondville, Forks of Butte Creek, Hamilton, and Lynchburg.
- The iconic oak tree in Gone with the Wind was in Butte County; unfortunately, the tree was destroyed 2018’s Camp Fire. The cotton fields of Tara and the O’Hara’s first horse ride were also filmed in Chico and Paradise Ridge locations.
- Butte County has been the film site for several movies and shows, large and small, over the decades, including: The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), Gone with the Wind (1939), Magic Town (1947), The Outlaw of Josey Wales (1976), Ruby Ridge: An American Tragedy (mini-series, 1996), George B. (1997), and Under Wraps (1997)
- The first suspension bridge built west of the Mississippi was Oroville's Bidwell Bar Suspension Bridge.
- Rancho Llano Seco is on of the largest remaining intact Mexican land grants in the United States.