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Bidwell–Sacramento River State Park entrance sign

Bidwell–Sacramento River State Park entrance sign. Photo: Sharon Hahn Darlin, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nestled along the banks of the Sacramento River lies Bidwell–Sacramento River State Park, a public recreational area located in Chico, California, about 90 miles north of Sacramento. This beautiful area, surrounded by oaks, cottonwoods, and the Sierra Nevada mountains provides guests with opportunities to fish, tube, kayak, swim, hike, bird watch, and picnic.

The park is named after General John Bidwell, California pioneer, politician, and founder of the city of Chico. To learn more about this influential man and his wife Annie check out Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park. This nearby California state park features historic lawns and mansion tours. And nearby Bidwell Park offers more nature trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, plus picnic areas and a disc golf course.


Spend a few peaceful days within a lush riparian habitat. Learn more about the area’s flora, fauna, and history while fishing, hiking, tubing, boating, geocaching, sunbathing, bird watching and more in one of the park’s four day use areas: Indian Fishery, Big Chico Creek, Pine Creek, and Irvine Finch River Access.

Scenic picnic areas, restrooms, and drinking water are available inside the park.

Here are some of the activities that you can do during your visit to Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park:

Boating at Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park

Spend a fun filled day tubing or paddling down the river during your visit to Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park. Boating is the second most popular activity to do at this park, right after fishing for salmon, stripers, steelhead, and shad.

A boat launch and large parking area is available at the Irvine Finch River access point.

Hiking at Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park

Discover the picturesque oak woodlands, ox bow lake, and scenic Sacramento River and riparian habitat within Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park. A scenic nature trail winds through the Indian Fishery day use area of the park providing visitors with more opportunities to see birds, turtles, fish, and other wildlife. This easy 0.7 mile trail flows through the riparian woodlands and out to the fishing area on the lake.

Fishing at Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park

The most popular activity and number one attraction at Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park is fishing. Guests enjoy fishing for salmon, shad, sturgeon, stripers, and steelhead from their boat or along the banks of the Sacramento River.

Oxbow Lake at Indian Fishery provides additional fishing opportunities and a chance to catch bass, bluegill, and crappie. Be sure to pack your angling gear and pick up a California fishing license before heading into the park.

Birding at Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park

Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park’s wetlands, woodlands, and open grasslands provide habitat for a variety of bird life. Some of the native and migratory species that you may see within the park are ducks, eagles, ospreys, owls, egrets, herons, woodpeckers, and bluebirds. And more specifically Yellow Billed Cuckoos, Swainson’s Hawks, Spotted Sandpipers, Lesser Nighthawks, Blue Grosbeaks, Ring-necked Pheasants, California Quail, Canada Geese, Western Meadowlarks, and Northern Flickers.

Nature and Wildlife at Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park

While walking along the river or exploring one of the park’s wooded nature trails you may cross paths with a variety of wildlife. In addition to the many species of birds found within this area you may also see squirrels, deer, raccoons, opossums, foxes, skunks, muskrats, beavers, river otters, snakes, and Western Pond Turtles.

The park’s riparian habitat along the Sacramento River features oak, cottonwood, willow, and white alder trees, wild blackberry bushes, and a colorful variety of wildflowers.


Pets are allowed at Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park. Dogs must be supervised at all times and kept on a 6-foot leash.


Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park offers enroute campsites for visitors with contained motor homes, RVs, and trailers. Contact the park directly for more information about these limited sites.

Nearby Colusa-Sacramento River State Recreation Area features 14 developed campsites, all nestled within the picturesque woodlands overlooking the Sacramento River. All campsites have a picnic table, barbecue grill, and convenient access to restrooms, hot showers, and drinking water.

Park Location

Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park
12105 River Rd
Chico, CA 95973
Phone: 530.342.5185

Park Website



Here is a short YouTube video with some drone footage of Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park: