Tucked away on Durham-Pentz Rd.between the region's famous buttes, is the Berry. R. Kirshner Wildlife Sanctuary. The original location was in Durham, but it was moved to Oroville, a few years ago. It is currently located on Durham-Pentz Rd., about 3 miles past Butte College. The sanctuary is like a zoo, which holds special needs animals, rescued and donated from other zoos and shelters. Although small in size, the sanctuary contains some of our planets rarest and most exotic animals, including white and Sumatran tigers, the almost extinct snow leopard, the genetically engeneered liger, clouded leopard, coatimundi, fennec fox, and giant tortoises; along with some native species such as coyotes, mountain lions, black bears, gray foxes, and bobcats.
The big animals are all in the cages and are easy to find, the other ones are not so easy. They also have snakes, alligators, monitors, and parrots there, but I have no idea where they keep them. There aren't any signs, so it's really hard to find stuff. I wouldn't have even found the tortoises if I didn't see some people staring at them. I only saw the animals in the cages. Most of the property is houses, so I don't know where they keep the rest of the animals, but if you ask them, I am sure they will tell you.
They also had some kangaroos, lemurs, a muntjac, and a porcupine, but the last few times I was there, half the cages were empty, so I don't know what they did with them. The bears are my favorite though. They're really fun to watch.
One bad thing is, that the animals are double caged for safety, so it's hard to get a good picture, and some of them like to hide in the back, and are hard to see, but they're still fun to watch.
This is a really rare find in a place like Butte County, so if you have a chance, deffinately check it out. There is a $7 entry fee, and all proceeds go to the animals. You can also sponsor an animal for $100-1,000 a month, depending on which category you apply in. They are open 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, everyday except Monday, but there is almost no one manning the entry table on weekdays, so you have wait 10-15 minutes before you can pay. They also do tours for small groups, but you have to ask ahead of time, because they're staff is small, and their schedule is really packed.
Don't bother calling, because they never answer the phone, or respond. It's best to just show up in person.
Table Mountain is the large volcanic plateau on the outskirts of town. It can be seen form almost everywhere in town and you can't miss it.
It is actually divided into two parts. The one with the large "O" is South Table Mountain. It is advised that people don't go up there without permission, as it is private land and there is a crazy guy up there who will shoot you with a beem bag.
The neighboring North Table Mountain contains an ecological reserve and is accessible to visitors. However, everything east of Cherokee Rd. is private, and there are some patches of private land that border the ecological reserve. The land is used for grazing cattle though, and no one actually lives up there, so no one will care if you trespass or not. There are a couple houses further, so if you see any don't walk by them.
From early December to mid April, vistors can get a look at some of the area's seasonal waterfalls. The most popular ones are Phantom Falls, Hollow Falls, and Fern Falls. There are about 20 different waterfalls up there. Most of them are in such remote areas, and so little known, that they are seldom visited. New waterfalls are constantly being discovered, and some of them are still unnamed. Some of the larger waterfalls also conrtain caves, and there is an abandoned mineshaft at Phantom.
The best time to visit is early March to mid April when the plateau is blanketed with miles of spring wildflowers.
There are no hiking trails anywhere, and it is very easy to get lost if you don't know the area, so it is recommended that vistors print out a good map, or go with someone who knows the area, and watch out for ravines and posion oak. They do offer free tours the first and third Saturday of each month during spring. It is advised that you not visit during the summer, as rattlesnakes are present, temperatures are really hot, and you won't see much anyways.
The best way to get there is to cross the Table Mountain Bridges over the Feather River, and take Cherokee Rd. You should pass the large sylicon mine.
A few years ago, Table Mountain was so little known, that only a few locals knew about its hidden beauty. Now it is becoming more and more popular with tourists every year. Now tourists from all around Northern California and even other states, and as far as Canada visit this magnificent wonder of nature every year. Most tourism is in the spring, when people come from all over to see the wildflowers bloom.
For more information visit Wikipedia, and see the link below.
The spectacular 600-foot Feather Falls is in a beautiful valley similar to the more famous one in Yosemite--but without the crowds. The hike is a good nine miles round trip.
On the way, look to the left for Bald Rock Dome. A huge granite rock, it stands over the valley like a silent sentinel. It's similar to El Capitan in Yosemite.
Also, observe the mortars (depressions) in the rocks along the way. Indians created them while grinding acorns on the rocks. They made them into a paste (I always wondered what that tasted like).
On a clear day, this site offers a splendid view of the northern Central Valley. When I visited, in mid-summer, no one else was around at all. Here is one of California's unspoiled, hidden treasures.
From Oroville, take Hwy. 162 North to Berry Creek, right on Bald Rock Rd. Pavement ends, go 2.2 miles on gravel rd, turn left into parking area.
The phone number is for the Lake Oroville Visitors Center.