An overview of Bidwell Park. Color satellite data from CASIL. Boundary from The City of Chico. Bidwell Park is the 14th largest municipal park in the United States at 3,670 acres. The park follows Big Chico Creek for 12 miles and is a family haven in both Lower park and Upper park regions. Swimming, picnics, running, biking, hiking, and horseback riding are all perennial favorite ways to spend time closer to nature and, generally, out of city view. The park has an amazing collection of native trees, shrubs, bulbs and corms, and others, throughout. However, many non-natives and some that are terribly invasive, can be found.

Friends of Bidwell Park has an interactive map and the Chico Creek Nature Center provides PDF maps that includes trails for both upper and lower park.


Throughout the 1900s, Bidwell Park was made possible by several donations and forward thinking city planners. The most recent acquisition was 1380 acres on the southern side of Big Chico Creek in 1994. But it all began when Annie Bidwell donated 1,902 acres in 1905. Six years later she followed up with another 301 acres for Upper Bidwell park. Since then, all other additions, with the exception of a walnut orchard, have been through acquisitions from the State of California1.

Many movies have been filmed in Chico, and Bidwell Park has proven to be a popular filming location. Perhaps most famously, the Errol Flynn version of Robin Hood was shot here, and included Chico's iconic Hooker Oak Tree.

For more information about the History of Bidwell Park, please see the Bidwell Park Timeline.

Lower Park

A map of Lower Park at Hooker Oak Park Lower Bidwell Park is just west of Manzanita Avenue.

Upper Park

A map of Upper Park at Hooker Oak Park Upper Bidwell Park has a lot of swimming holes and miles of trails — an ideal place for the active nature lover. Note that Upper Park Road is closed to vehicles Sundays and Mondays.

See also