Approximately five miles west of Chico, the park is located adjacent to a four mile stretch of the Sacramento River. It consists of an extraordinarily sensitive, ecologically noteworthy remnant of the Sacramento River. Open for day-use, the park offers areas for fishing, picnicking, hiking, boat-launching and river floating. Visitors interested in rafting, kayaking, canoeing, or inner-tubing can float down the river from the Irvine Finch River Access Site, past the tall riparian forest to Big Chico Creek, taking in the peace and beauty of a rich variety of landscapes. The very lucky may observe such elusive creatures as the osprey, the red fox, or perhaps a white sturgeon or migrating steelhead hiding in the coolness of underwater root-tangles. A truly fortunate birdwatcher might even spot the rare yellow-billed cuckoo.
This park preserves a fine example of a disappearing natural resource-the riverine habitat. The river's varous landscapes display great scenic beauty and constant change. The riparian-or water-loving-plants and animal communities here depend strongly on each other. Thickets of willows along the water-course identify the "meander" line of the wandering river, also marking an occasional "oxbow" lake or small island formed by the river's restless journey. Massive oaks and cottonwoods give the dense shade needed for the survival of cool-water creatures. Thick understories of elderberry, wild grape, blackberry, wild rose and numerous perennials provide shelter to a diversified wildlife population. This is a habitat rich in variety, deserving of protection and respect.
By far the major activity to be enjoyed at Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park is bank or boat fishing for salmon, steelhead and shad. The next most popular activity is "cruising down the river." The float trip from the Irvine Finch River Access to Big Chico Creek takes from two and a half to three hours, depending on your method of transportation. The river is suitable for floating in kayaks, canoes, rafts and innertubes which may be launched at Irvine Finch, pine Creek or Scotty's boat landing. Check with the concessionaires for availability and rental of kayaks, rafts, or innertubes. Contact the park for information on natue walks and other events and activities.
The Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park offers you a rare experience in a unique enviornment. The river's riparian habitat, one of California's few remaining such areas, is home to seasonal migrations as well as providing the year-round habitat for several endangered species such as salmon, bank swallows, Swainson's hawks and river otters.
Bring supplies- you might need sunscreen, thirst- quenching drinks and food. The float from Irvine Finch to Big Chico Creek usually takes up to 3 hours, and there are few services along the river.
Clean up after yourself- there are trash cans at Irvine Finch Access and at Big Chico Creek.
Dogs are not allowed on the gravel bar at Big Chico Creek, u