Lake Oroville Visitor Center
If you're interested in learning, about the area's history, and wildlife, you can pay a visit to the Lake Oroville Visitor Center.
They have a variety of exhibits, showcasing the area's history, and wildlife. Everything from, the local Indian tribes, to the Gold Rush, and the construction of the Oroville Dam. There is a train, where you can sit, and watch a video about the construction of the dam.
There are also a few natural history exhibits, the most unique being, the salmon incubator.
The main exhibit, is the large exhibit, showcasing, the area's wildlife, habitat, and Native American, lifestyle. There are figures of Native Americans, and a replica of a traditional Maidu teepee.
There is also a small display, of Maidu baskets.
The most interesting exhibit, is the Ishi wall. It is covered with pictures, and information about Ishi, and displays small artifacts from his tribe.
Another interesting item, is the steel windmill, used to harness water.
Along the path, to the visitor center, is a ceremonial grindstone, and at the parking lot, is a large stone, with Native American markings.
The museum is small, and the quantity of artifacts, is not very large, but it does a really good job showcasing the area's wildlife, and explaining its history. It's not worth a special drive, but it's worth popping in, if you are camping nearby, or hiking the trails. The museum is free.
There is also an observation tower, that you can climb, to get a view of the lake, and the surrounding area. On a clear day, you can see the Coast Range, and Sutter Buttes.
There are items available for sale in the front, and there is a small exhibit, where you can touch animal trophies.
There is also a theater, where you can watch a documentary upon request.
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
Feather River Nature Center (Bath House Museum)
Located in the old Bath House, the Feather River Nature Center, is probably, the most interesting museum, in Oroville. It is basically a natural history museum, history museum, geology museum, and archaeology museum, all in one. A lot of the rocks, and animal specimens are from other areas, and other countries, like Australia, and are all part of the owner's personal collection, but the Native American artifacts, are all local.
The museum is small, and a bit cluttered, but very interesting. It has a nice collection of rocks, animal trophies and skulls, old tools, a great collection of artifacts, from our local Maidu tribe, as well as old pictures and news paper clippings, explaining the entire history of the bath house.
Some of the museum's artifacts, are removed during the Salmon Festival, and used by the Maidu, during their Pow Wow shows.
The coolest thing about the museum, is that you can touch, and handle everything that isn't behind glass, so you can touch the animal trophies, rocks, and some of the artifacts. It’s fun to play the Native American drum. The museum is also free, which is another great thing.
I have been wanting to visit this museum for a long time, but it was always closed. The guy inside said it's open on Saturday, and sometimes on Sunday, from 12-4, but often, not even that. I don’t blame them, their staff is only a small group of volunteers.
The owner wasn't there, but I was told he gives great nature walks, and can tell you a lot of stories about his collection.
The two guys who were in charge that day, were really friendly. They also had a huge basket of rocks, and let each of us take one, on the way out.
I was expecting something simple, so I was really amazed by the number of artifacts, the museum displays. My two friends I was with, aren't really into museums, or this sort of stuff, and even THEY enjoyed it. I actually wanted to leave, and they wanted to stay longer, which is saying a lot. It really speaks to a larger crowd, because of its diversity. This is even better than the museum in Kelly Ridge. They're trophy collection is much smaller, but they have a larger, and nicer collection of other artifacts.
I would definitely recommend a visit to this museum, if you are fortunate to be there, when it‘s open. It’s a great place to learn about the area’s history. Allow yourself at least 30 minutes, if you want to explore the exhibits thoroughly.
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
Brad B. Freeman Bike Trail
If you love cycling, like I do, the Brad B. Freeman bike trail, is a must. The entire trail is a 40 mile long loop. It starts at the dam, circles the After Bay, than runs through the wildlife area to downtown, along the Diversion Pool, and ends back at the dam.
The trail is divided into two parts, and you can either take a short cut at the Diversion Pool, and do only a quarter of the trail, which is what we did, or continue along the canal to the Forebay and Afterbay, and do the whole trail. You can always turn back wherever you want.
It's hard to explain, so I will post a map of the whole trail.
Me and my friend only biked a section of the trail. We started on the north side of the Diversion Pool, then returned on the South Side. The total loop was about 14 miles. The first part of the trail was downhill, so it didn't take that long to get to town. We even stopped at a waterfall for 30 minutes, and it still took us only about an hour to get to town. The return trip was different though, the last 2 miles required biking up very steep road, probably the steepest part of the trail. To make it worst, I got a flat somewhere on the way back. I tried to ride my bike anyways, but it was impossible to ride it uphill, so I had no choice but to push my bike uphill for 2 miles. It was dark by the time we got back to the dam. I would definitely recommend packing a pump, and extra tires with you.
I don't know anyone personally who has biked the entire loop, so I don't know if it is possible in one day, but if you're up for it, you can camp for free at the parking lot of the wildlife area, during the weekdays, so if you run out of light, and don't wanna pay for a hotel, that would be your best option. 40 miles is a lot, and since I've never tried to bike the entire trail, I don't know if it's possible to do it in one day, but judging by how long it took us to bike to town and back, I don't think it is possible, unless you bike fast and don't stop.
You should know your own abilities, so a fit and experienced cyclist, might be able to do it in one day.
I would only recommend this ride in the cooler months. I have cycled other trails in the summer, and it is exhausting. I would not attempt this trail in the summer.
This trail is definitely a must, and I definitely want to bike the whole thing some day.
This trail will also offer you glimpses of some picturesque scenery.
A little warning, my dad got yelled at by a Water Resources lady on a section of the trail between the train bridge and Diversion Pool dam. She said he's not allowed to be over there, but the trail is clearly marked, so you have nothing to worry about. She was probably new, and didn't know. If the trail is marked, you aren't breaking any laws. I biked the same section with my friends, and a Water Resources agent saw us, and didn't say a word.
I would definitely recommend a helmet, as some of my friends have wrecked on sections of the trail, and one hit his head on a rock, and got knocked out for 15 minutes. Other friends have been scraped up pretty bad. If you see an area that looks unsafe, like a rock or sand pit, get off and walk your bike. Most wrecks have occurred in exactly those types of places.
And watch out for cows.
Kayak The Feather River
Oroville is known as the "Adventure Capital of California", and here, you can have an adventure, inside the city limits. If you're the adventurous type, you can run a kayak down the Feather River. You cannot rent a kayak on the river, accept during the Salmon Festival, when they offer special tours. There is a rental place at the Forebay, but I don't know if they'll let you load it on your car, and take it away, so it's best to bring your own.
I have kayaked the river a few times. We usually launch from under the bridge, below the fish hatchery, and kayak all the way to the bridge on Oro Dam Blvd., before turning back. This is a good place to turn around. If you keep going, the current becomes strong, and you will be pulled all the way to the wildlife area, so unless you have a car that can pick you up, I wouldn't recommend this.
The first time, I had my dad leave the car in Bedrock Park, since that's as far upriver, as you can go.
The second time, we left our car under the bridge, which was a huge mistake. We thought we could paddle against the current, but it was just too strong, We had to get out an drag our kayaks, through the freezing water, and slippery rocks.
So if you're planning to go beyond the Oro Dam Blvd, Bridge, arrange for someone to pick you up.
There is this cool a little ways past Table Mountain Bridge, where you can play around in some rapids.
This is also a good way to view the local wildlife.
Watch out for rapids, shallows, thorn bushes, and salmon. My dad got pulled by the current, straight into some thorn bushes, and I got pulled into a side channel, and had to carry my kayak to the main section of the river.
I would recommend going when the water level is higher, or you will get stuck on rocks and shallows. That happened to me the first time, and it takes all the fun out of going down the rapids.
I would not recommend a rubber kayak for this trip, unless it's strong.
- Adventure Travel
Feather River Fish Hatchery
Every August, September and November hundreds of salmon come to the Feather River to spawn. They can be seen at the Feather River Hatchery. The hatchery has a built in aquarium, which allows visitors to view this salmon underwater. They can also be viewed at the hatchery's holding tanks. You can also view them in their natural habitat, as they try to jump the barrier dam on the Feather River.
Fishing in this area is not allowed in this area in order to protect the spawning salmon. Some years, fishing on the Feather River isn't allowed at all because of low salmon population. Check with the Department of Fish and Game for current fishing regulations.
- Family Travel
Step Back In Time, Visit Historic Downtown
The city of Oroville was founded in the mid-1800s during the California Gold Rush. Infact, Oroville means "City of Gold". Most people who live in Oroville will tell you there is nothing exciting here, but visit the historic downtown and you will soon realise how wrong they are.
Most of the buildings in downtown date back to the California Gold Rush. Most of the historic buildings have been converted to stores and restaurants, but the history still remains. It's almost impossible to take a step through downtown without seeing something historical.
In addition to important historical buildings such as the Chinese Temple, Lott Home, and Ishi Building, you can also see the town's oldest church, and beautiful victorian homes, some more then 100 years old.
You can visit anytime of the year, but the nicest is during the fall, when visitors are treated to an array of Fall colors.
I would deffinately recommend this section of town for someone who likes history. All the main attractions are within walking distance. The best place to park is at the Municipal Auditorium, State Theather, or Cenntenial Plaza. Parking is almost never full, except during festivals.
- Family Travel
- Historical Travel
Mega-Holiday CONCERT Dec.23rd! Free
Dec. 13th - This Saturday - 8pm - Festivus II
@ Cafe Coda - Chico - 265 Humboldt Ave
Dr. Yes playing with a full band (bass,drums,guitar) The Soulgazers.
Free compilation CD of all the bands to first 50 so GET THERE EARLY.
Featuring: The Shimmies (acoustic), Red Giant, Surrogate, Pontiak
Dec. 23rd - 7pm - Hearts of Gold Rock Spectacular! - Food & Toy Drive For the Needy
@ Downtown Oroville - 1359 Huntoon / Miner's Alley (old Grey Nurse building)
Featuring an all local lineup:
Satori (Nick Casper's old band)
Stewart Eastham (from Day of The Outlaw)
The Way West
The Angry Lesbians
Dr. Yes! (and maybe brother Austin on keys)
BRING CANNED FOOD / TOYS FOR ENTRANCE.
This will be at a very cool historic building downtown, soon to be a beautiful brew pub!
- Arts and Culture
Oroville Dam and Lake
Oroville Dam is one of the largest earthen dams in the entire world. It is quite a sight to behold. It stands 770 feet high, with a crest of 6,920 feet.
Lake Oroville, behind it, is a favorite place for boaters.
- Hiking and Walking
- Sailing and Boating
Oroville Chinese Temple
Built in 1863, this temple once served a Chinese-American community of some 10,000 people. Now, they're gone. The temple, on the National Register of Historic Places, is a memorial to them.
- Museum Visits
- Religious Travel
- Historical Travel
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