Forks of Butte Creek Recreation Area
Twenty five miles Northeast of Chico, the beautiful Forks of Butte Creek Recreation Area has trails through steep pine and fir covered canyons. This area offers free low-impact gold panning. Sluicing permits are available by contacting the BLM-Redding Field Office and there are several sluicing sites to reserve along the creek. Trails in the area follow steep canyon walls with a vegetation overstory of mixed Ponderosa Pine, Douglas Fir and Madrone. Discharge of firearms is prohibited in this area, except for shooting legal game during legal hunting seasons.
From Chico, travel northeast on State Highway 32, 20 miles to Forest Ranch, then southeast on Garland Road (graded dirt road), then left on Doe Mill Road. It is about 4.75 miles to Butte Creek trailhead from Highway 32.
From Paradise, take the Skyway north towards Stirling City, past Magalia turning left on Powelton Road (about 5 miles north of Magalia). Follow Powelton Road to Doe Mill Road which takes you to Butte Creek and the Butte Creek Trailhead. To find the Ditch Grade Road from Paradise, follow the same instructions from the Skyway as before but turn right just past the PG&E water ditch (1/2 mile from the Skyway) on to the Ditch Grade Road which will take you to the Forks of Butte Creek and a primitive camping area. Map
Gold Panning and Sluicing
No permit is required for low-impact gold panning in the Forks of Butte Creek Recreation Area. Sluicing in the area requires a permit which may be purchased from BLM. This permit gives you and your group (up to 8 people) exclusive permission to use a sluice box within a specified site along Butte Creek. There are 28 sites available that can be reserved for $5/day for up to 30 days per year. Permits are issued between the months of May and October, depending on road and weather conditions. Please be aware that this is a multiple-use Recreation Area and that other users (such as those fishing, swimming, hiking, or picnicking) may still use the site. To obtain a sluicing permit, please call the BLM-Redding Field Office at (530) 224-2100 or you can download the application and return it to the BLM-Redding Field Office.
Camping can be found at the end of Ditch Grade Road near the Forks of Butte Creek. A 14 day camping limit is enforced in this area. The road to the camping area is subject to closure during winter months due to hazardous conditions. Those that hold a sluicing permit may camp in their reserved site for up to 14 days per year. For more information call the BLM-Redding Field Office.
Trails follow steep canyon walls; vegetation overstory is primarily mixed Ponderosa Pine, Douglas Fir and Madrone. Upper Ridge Nature
Preserve near Magalia (off of Ponderosa Street) offers many hiking and mountain biking trails.
Bureau of Land Management
Redding Field Office
355 Hemsted Drive
Redding, CA 96002
Phone: (530) 224-2100
Fax: (530) 224-2172
Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., M-F
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