Butte Creek is a tributary of the Sacramento River that runs through much of Butte County including Chico. Its name, much like that of our county, comes from the nearby Sutter Buttes.

The creek flows by Honey Run Road through the canyon. Tubing is a popular way to float down the creek during the hot summer months. Kayaking on Butte Creek is better in spring when flows are higher. Also off Honey Run Road, is the Covered Bridge, which crosses over the creek. Although these are not official recreation areas, locals do take advantage of the easy access to the cool waters.


Butte Creek used to be dredged for gold. Gold is very dense thus it is heavy enough to deposit at the very bottom of stream channels under gravel. Therefore barges scooped up stream bottoms and separated out the gold and spat out the rest. This industrial operation is fairly destructive to river beds and also left a great deal of tailings (mounds of gravel, cobbles, etc) along the banks. You can see tailings just off 99 and they are marked as such on the USGS topographic maps. If you have dates for the dredging period of Butte Creek, please note them here. These days, people recreationally pan for gold which isn't, on-the-whole, an efficient process. Panning is useful for prospecting. If prospectors find placer deposits, sluice boxes might be in order.

Humboldt Fire

Honey Run Road - photo taken a few days after the Humboldt fire

In June 2008, the Humboldt Fire burned thousands of acres along the Butte Creek Canyon. The fire burned for several days (it began June 11 and was brought into full containment June 17) and in that time scorched more than 20,000 acres along the creek including areas of Centerville and Lower Paradise. When it was all said and done, 74 residences had been destroyed, 20 more damaged, and 8 outbuildings had also been destroyed. Honey Run Road, one of many thank you signs in Butte Creek Canyon for the amazing work done by the fire crews during the Humboldt fire

Thousands of firefighters from various agencies all over the state and region came in to the area to help fight the flames and protect the homes along the canyon. As seen in the photo to the right, citizens were more than grateful for the brave efforts the firefighters put forth during those scary days in June. For more info about the fire itself (including a chronology of the events as they unfolded) please see the Humboldt Fire entry.