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“SIZE DOES MATTER” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Bidwell Park

Bidwell Park
965 Fir St, Chico, CA 95928
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Ranked #1 of 5 Attractions in Chico
Type: Outdoors
Attraction details
Chico, California
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2013

This is truly a gem for the city of Chico. it compares very well with the parks in large urban cities. it seems to run forever alongside a creek, with heavy tree cover and a almost wilderness setting. golf, hiking, biking, swimming, nature walks, it is all here. This park is in a class with the Ashland , Oregon park. The western end of it is located near the Campus of Chico State University and I runs for miles from there to the foothills of the Sierra Range of mountains.

Visited August 2013
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185 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Japanese first
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English first
15 reviews 15 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Bidwell Park”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2013

The scenery is amazing! Just walking the trail you can see all kinds of flora! Makes this former Midwesterner appreciate the beauty of the land! I walked the trail first time in March of 2012 & again in mid Summer 2012

Visited December 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chico, California
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“The jewel of Chico”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2013

This is a must see in Chico. The lower park you can drive through but try to walk through at least one side. Chico Creek runs through the park, and has bridges that you can cross back and forth. There is a tree grove that displays several varieties of trees. A large swimming area is located at One Mile. This park is beautiful any season of the year and is Something you should plan to spend a couple of hours exploring. The Upper Park is more rugged with a dirt road but has several popular swimming holes. There are hiking trails in both sections. There is also an Observatory and Golf course in the Upper Park.

Visited October 2013
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Chico, California, United States
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Best park ever”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2013

Love Bidwell park. The only place I know that has a pool that has a creek running through it. You can even walk your dog off leash in the upper park'

Visited November 2013
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Nortre Califonkneeonee
Top Contributor
104 reviews 104 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
“Old gray mare ain't what she used to be”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2013

I too once had fond memories of Bidwell Park. It was once a proud well maintained park. But this is a good the bad and the ugly review with the bad and ugly first.

It has a children's park called Caper Acres that I used to take my kids to, now a nighttime shooting gallery, that gets trashed often- favorite pastime seems to be breaking Humpty Dumpty off his wall. Watch out for the needles and broken glass when bringing the kids. It closes without warning at times due to damage- with the city demanding outside funds "to keep it open".

The Park itself caters to the homeless encampments whose denizens are allowed to run rampant, especially the last 8 years, even in the most used parts of the park. Some recent "show evictions" of the most blatant sites have occurred recently, but has not changed the scene much. Basically it is not so evident now from pathways but be careful roaming off path into the dense natural undergrowth. Be ready to clean your shoes from the byproducts left by the homeless. If you stumble into a homeless encampment retreat quickly, they are sometimes violently defended. Don't be surprised by lewd behavior especially near the deer pens, it has been semi condoned for years.

Also watch out for the bicyclists who have a small hard core element that will run you down for their claimed "right of way" of never needing to slow down or stop, ignore posted rules, create paths anywhere in the park, and are generally anarchy in the USA. Erosion from their activities in upper park are easy to find (they blame hikers). Large sections of the lower park have been closed for bicyclists (with pedestrians tolerated), effectively shutting out some of the few mid park handicap access spots to park and picnic in the wild splendor.

Upper Park is rarely seen by tourists, I notice in other posts saying it is barren. They are to lazy to walk and discover the plunging Cliffs to the creek. Be careful trying to climb the cliffs as rocks and grips are very friable and break off easily (in another words don't climb the cliffs- look for pathways). There you find Bear Hole which has great swimming in scenic cliff conditions but don't get talked into swimming through the natural tubes, as there are drownings now and then in the paper from people who don't make it out. Bear Hole is a Big High School Hang out with the Ranger busy writing citations (when there are so many secret holes why do they flock to this?). One mile area has safer swimming as well as downtown dammed concrete swimming hole the stream rushes through for cold water summer swims. I wear ear plugs to prevent ear infections, and don't drink the crystal clear water folks..

Don't go into it at night anymore period. Stabbings and rapes occur. I am not allowed to post links about this.

It is really a very large very beautiful Park, fairly safe in the day if you keep your head up and are aware of your surroundings, with lots of long hiking trails and a great rushing fish filled stream that goes through a varied landscape of volcanic cliffs into tree lined flat lands as it enters the town. Literally to walk from downtown to the end of upper park and back in an unhurried manner could take you all of a long summer day, and you will still have not seen it all. Bring plenty of water especially in the upper park. Hidden Indian caves have been rumored of in the local paper. Vista views in upper park will amaze. It has a inside shooting range for now,(the old outside one was banned). A fishing lake is near a nice public golf course. A vista filled outdoor disc golf course (accessed from Highway 32) has been finally allowed but with lots of environmental regulations which can close it during rain or arbitrarily for other regulatory reasons(it took years of squabbling to create and recall threats). Follow the rules as the Ranger watches you and there are lots of rules. No alcohol allowed anywhere, so no beer with lunch at the picnic bench or horseshoe pit.

Deer are common, I have even seen a six point buck near downtown. Bear and cougar sometimes stroll down and cause excitement in town. There are rattlesnakes- leave them alone. Remember never run from a cougar, make noise, act big and threatening. I saw a baby owl scurrying around down on the ground there that initially scared the heck out of me as it looked so strange in the dusky twilight (literally out of a Grimm's Fairy Tale in this park where the old Robin Hood movie was filmed.). It couldn't fly and ran/jumped around and finally ran hopping up a leaning tree with it big eyes always watching me. Lots of wildlife and birds so enjoy that. Boy Scout troops are still allowed use the park for prehike practice which prepares them for about any conditions seen in the Sierra Mountains,

I didn't mean to scare you away just remember the old gray mare ain't what she used to be, but she still has a lot to see left. Even a week of extensive exploration could not cover all she has to show.

Visited October 2013
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